The View from Here

Industry Responds to Pilot Shortage with Higher Salaries

Commercial pilot salaries are taking off

For those pursuing a career as a commercial pilot, the expenses can be daunting. Unlike many other professional programs or degrees, earning a pilot’s license requires some very expensive and unique tools of the trade, namely, the use of a modern, well-maintained aircraft. That’s just the start, though. There’s also the need to access to an airfield (I think only aviation can claim that curriculum requirement), jet fuel to power the aircraft (do I need to mention that gas is pretty pricey these days?) and a significant amount of one-on-one training time with an in-demand flight instructor. It all adds up.

There’s good news, too, though, and that’s the trend of increasing salaries for commercial pilots – impressively so in some cases. Driven by the pilot shortage – which began long before the pandemic amid the surge of retirements over the past decade by baby boomer pilots and insufficient investment in training new pilots – there is a renewed realization that well-trained, quality personnel present the greatest opportunity for a commercial or cargo airlines to thrive. I say renewed, because commercial aviation was once a very well compensated field – and I welcome the move back in that direction.

Case in point? I recently heard of a regional airline – where most pilots begin their professional careers – raising its starting salaries to $80,000, an approximate 30% to 40% increase over its previous starting salaries. We were also recently approached by another regional airline to host a recruiting event here. Because pilots are in demand, the investment you make in your career now will have an almost immediate financial payback when you complete your training.

Still need a nudge to pursue your dream career as a commercial pilot? Remember that Paragon Flight offers some of the best student loan program options in the flight training industry. You can learn more about that here. And if you have any question about the joy and camaraderie, you’ll find pursuing your pilot’s license at Paragon Flight, check out our Instagram page. A picture tells a thousand words (Compared to the 355 words I’ve used here).