Skip to comments.What Can New Pilots Make? Near Minimum Wage
Posted on 02/12/2014 6:54:34 AM PST by Red in Blue PA
A widening shortage of U.S. airline pilots is spotlighting the structure of an industry built on starting salaries for regional-airline pilots that are roughly equivalent to fast-food wages.
The shortage's toll rose Tuesday, as Republic Airways Holdings Inc., one of the nation's largest regional carriers, said it would remove 27 of its 243 aircraft from operation because it couldn't find enough qualified pilots. The news, which followed service disruptions at other airlines, sent Republic's shares down 4.1% to finish at $9.45.
Starting pilot salaries at 14 U.S. regional carriers average $22,400 a year, according to the largest U.S. pilots union. Some smaller carriers pay as little as $15,000 a year. The latter is about what a full-time worker would earn annually at the $7.25-an-hour federal minimum wage.
Regional carriers are a key link in the U.S. air-travel system. Big airlines, whose pilot salaries are much higher, outsource about half of their domestic flights to these smaller partners to save money.
(Excerpt) Read more at finance.yahoo.com ...
That's crazy!! School bus drivers make more than that!
I don’t believe this ....the source is their union.
As the US standard of living declines, the number of air miles for leisure likely will also. Doesn’t bode well for the industry.
The WSJ usually researches things like this before they go to print. I trust the WSJ.
Aside from the TSA issues I have one reason I stopped flying was the Vietnam era pilots all retired. The new guys aren’t really good at flying the plane as much as they are programming the autopilot.
The smaller, regional planes do not have that autopilot unless I am mistaken.
Yep won't it just give you a nice warm fuzzy when you walk onto a plane and see these guys are your pilots?
PEOPLE AREN’T FLYING! You can thank the TSA. I used to fly 3-4 times a year. Cross country flights were $99. Gasoline costs twice as much under the Great One. Business? Try videoconferencing. That one I’m ok with. Gov’ment is the turd in the punch bowl.
The truth of the argument on wages is not being taught to the American worker.
There are two points on the wage line that everyone must consider. Those two points are simply this:
- you will never be paid less than what you are willing to work for.
- you will never be paid more than what it costs to replace you.
$22,000 average salary for an average of 10 hours of flying a week as co-pilot with an instructor pilot. It is literally on the job training, which all things considered, is a pretty good salary for that type of position. The regular pilots for regionals average far closer to $60,000. Which is the other group the unions really want to bleed for the money, as these are also the same qualified pilots who step up to the bat when the pilots union goes on strike.
Always the same song and dance - pick someone who might gain some sympathy from the public, imply that they are something more than what they are, with the end goal of giving more money and power to the union.
That has always been the case. Most pilots work 10-15 years before they make a decent living.
After decades of being too many pilots, there is a huge international demand for them.
All these kids go into debt learning to fly in Florida. Then they get beginner jobs. It was always their dream to fly.
Yes they do. The DeHavilland Dash-8 (37-seat twin turboprop) even has autoland.
That's true for European and Asian pilots. There are still better standards here in America.
Nothing as low as mentioned in the article but some pretty low numbers for some of the regionals.
A lot of regional planes these days are jets and they have modern avionics including autopilot. Weekend pilots can get a portable inertial navigation unit with a virtual display for a couple of thousand dollars used. So even a Cessna 152 can have the capability that only the most expensive jets had a decade ago.
The starting wage is low, but good pilots can move up very quickly these days and the pay is very good.
No, that's economics. When you're flying a 14 seat regional commuter turboprop, any single flight has a typical revenue generating capacity of 14x$99, or $1,400. A typical commuter aircraft may make eight trips a day (four each way) from a small regional airport to a major airport hub. So that makes the daily revenue potential (if flying full, both ways, every trip) at $11,200 per day.
You have fuel, aircraft maintenance, gate fees, and capital equipment costs that eat up most of that. And the planes don't fly full both ways every trip, and many trips are lower than $99 per ticket, so the actual revenue is lower than the $11,200 figure. How much is left for pilot salaries?
And the school bus drivers are paid by the taxpayers, not by paying customers, so what they make is not relevant to the discussion.
I do not want to fly with a pilot who makes $22,000 a year.
Pilots Often Head to Wrong Airports, Reports Show
Sure they do. My buddy’s Cessna 172 (4 seater) has auto pilot.
That would be because so many people want to be pilots, and have the qualifications and certifications. You can do most of it on simulators these days.
I think the challenge today is the cost of accumulating enough hours to qualify for commercial.
Its called SUPPLY AND DEMAND
There are MANY people who would love an opportunity to be a pilot.
If there were only a few who wanted the job, the pay would be higher.
I would work for free if they would let me fly planes
I thought you had to have 1500 hours multi-engine now to qualify?
“School bus drivers make more than that!”
School bus drivers are paid by the govt. and their budget for their wages is co-mingled with the “for the children” edumacation budget.
As I am a aviation consultant, believe it. The qualified part is you need a
minimum 1500 hours of flying timer to fly an a scheduled commercial airliner as of Jan. 1. Before you could fly the right seat for as little as 250 hours and build your time from there.
This was a governmental knee jerk reaction to the Continental crash in 2009 at Buffalo.
Does auto pilot imply auto land now? It did not used to.
A truly hilarious story.
Airlines can’t find enough qualified pilots because they pay such low salaries.
Somewhere out there in financial principles land there is an answer to this dilemma.
Wait, wait, don’t push me, it will come to me...
“Most pilots work 10-15 years before they make a decent living.”
Same for many physicians, attorneys, politicians, small business owners, and I hate to say it but TEACHERS (who get paid by years of experience due to union rules).
It is true. Starting salaries are abysmal.
I do not want to fly with a pilot who makes $22,000 a year.
It’s possible that these “low” starting salaries are actually far too high.
Part of the cost of a pilot is the risk that he will incur liability for his employer (such as by crashing the plane, or a PR disaster landing at the wrong airport, etc.).
These pilots are paid presumably so they can have a subsistence living until they are actually economically profitable enough to overcome all the costs of entrusting them with the aircraft and passengers. That, because the airline needs the trained pilot down the road.
If pay was based on who is truly receiving net benefits, the young pilots would probably be paying the airline for a few years.
I can’t think of many things I enjoy less than going to an airport and getting on an airplane....unless it’s having to transfer to another airplane!!! Use to be a very pleasurable experience!!!
Why? This is old news.
Don't you remember the Continental Connection plane crash in Buffalo?
The media has covered the problem since then. Go watch the PBS Frontline show, "Flying Cheap"
I had no idea.
I dunno. What does a “starting pilot” do? Watch the actual pilot, and do gopher tasks? OJT?
Next question is, what do the pilots get paid when they become actually responsible for the flight?
Some of the regional airports are very tiny, seeing only 4 flights per day (commuter shuttles) in addition to hobby traffic. And that IS all they pay.
Nope, it’s not an ‘oh poor me’ union piece.
I had a family member...and I was shocked.
Standby CEOs for small companies often get paid little.
You're right. There should be a law that CEOs cannot make more than 10 times the lowest paid employee, with a 20 year mandatory minimum sentence for any violations.
Economics tells us that if there is a pilot shortage, and it is the low salaries that are to blame, then pilot salaries will rise to attract new candidates.
if demand for pilots exist... and demand for flights exist... then salaries for pilots would be up.
if salaries are down, yet supply is short, then profitability must be very low.
of course, the individual pilot can only impact the profit generated by the single plane he/she is on at the time. payment for all members of the crew along with maintenance and overhead, would have to come out of the passengers on that one plane.
Passenger miles in billions by year.
2002: 469 Both 01 and 02 were pretty obviously impacted by 9/11.
2013: 484 (thru October only) Probably around 575 or 580 for the year.
It seems pretty clear that the primary factor affecting air travel miles is the general economy.
Gasoline costs twice as much under the Great One.
Over the eight years of the Bush administration, gas averaged $2.43. During the five years so far of the Obama administration, it's averaged $3.18. That's an increase of 31%, not 100%.