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Airline Pilot Pay Has Reached Record Highs

Aspiring pilots will be pleased to know that airlines have increased pilot pay dramatically. Those looking into becoming career airline pilots now have better income and lifestyle options than ever. As the current pilot shortage continues to grow, the worth of pilots is more apparent now than at any other time in history.

Golden Age of Aviation

The post-World War II era has been commonly regarded as the golden age of aviation. Military and civilian aircraft technology saw enormous improvement allowing the industry to skyrocket. The job of an airline pilot became highly lucrative as air transit was at an all-time high.

While this was an incredible time for the industry, it pales in comparison to the aviation industry in 2022. Since the Cold War, aviation has seen continued improvement, albeit at a slower scale than it did during the "Golden Age." What has improved is safety, pay, lifestyle, and job opportunities.

Pilot Shortage

Pilots at every level are making more money than they ever have. The ongoing pilot shortage has driven up demand for qualified pilots. Major Airlines such as Delta, American, United, etc., have begun lowering their hour requirements for new first officers (FO). Since most pilots going to the majors are selected from the regional airlines, the regionals are losing pilots faster than they can acquire them.

These majors are all competing for new pilots, leading them to offer more pay than ever to starting FOs. The pay rise has led to an increase in income for all pilots at the majors meaning that more seasoned pilots are capping out at a pay rate that far exceeds that of the generation that came before them.

Increased Compensation

The higher pay continues to lure pilots from the regionals to the majors. In response, the regionals have upped pay little by little over the past few years to compete with other regionals for the highly valued talent of new pilots. Fortunately for pilots, these efforts have not been enough for regionals to gain and retain the necessary number of pilots.

The shortage has shown no signs of improving anytime soon. The airlines know this and recently raised rates astronomically in hopes of securing the few available pilots that exist. Axiom Aviation's close partner SkyWest Airlines has increased starting pay to $90 per flight hour. This nearly doubles the old rate of $47 per flight hour.

Several other airlines have raised pay to a similar level, including Horizon Airlines, which also raised wages to $90 per hour. The doubled income extends far beyond starting rates. Captains at Skywest used to cap out at around $120 per flight hour after years with the company. Now they cap out at $216 in the same time.

For several reasons, many pilots stick with a regional airline such as SkyWest, even once they have enough experience to go to a major airline. They gain seniority much quicker as most pilots do not stay with the regionals for more than a few years. This gives them more say over their lifestyle. With the recent pay raise, Skywest will pay pilots nearly the same as what many national carriers such as Frontier and Allegiant pay theirs.

Now is the best time in history to become a pilot. Whether your goals lie at an airline, flying private jets, or instructing students, Axiom Aviation can provide you with the tools you need to fulfill your dreams.

Give us a call at 262-AX-Pilot, or email us at

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