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Salary Study 2023


Pilot shortage stimulates salary increases of up to 6%, plus robust benefit packages.

Pro Pilot Staff Report

salaryCorporate aviation is facing a significant pilot shortage. It’s become harder to find well-trained pilots who can stay in Part 91 flight departments for a long career. The main problem is that pilots are needed in all fields, and there are not enough qualified ones with the required skills to perform this job.

The number of people who select careers in aviation has declined drastically. Most pilots started their aviation career in the military, where they were trained and perfected their skills. Nowadays, they don’t come out from schools or the military in the numbers they used to.

This shortage problem deepens even more when major and regional airlines realize that they don’t have enough pilots to keep up with travelers’ demands. Many airline pilots’ careers come to an end when it’s time to retire. Many others decide to turn to jobs where they can get paid more for what they do.

Airline jobs represent careers that demand too much sacrifice from pilots due to the intense schedules they need to follow, so they look for opportunities in other fields. Nonetheless, the airlines need to continue operating, so they look for other ways to fill this gap.

In many cases, they put together great benefit packages, including 401K retirement plans, higher remuneration, salary rises to cover cost of living increases, signing bonuses, and other benefits that are impossible to decline because they represent great opportunities for them and their families.

Business aircraft owners will continue to have the pressure of hiring and retaining professional and skilled pilots. The market has changed, and if they are going to keep their quality pilots, they will have to offer a competitive compensation, including good salaries and benefits, quality of life, and long-term careers.

Compared to last year’s salaries, we’ve found that there has been an increase of 5 to 6%, or more in some cases.

Professional Pilot magazine has conducted this salary study for 51 years. A total of 1093 electronic survey forms, representing an 12% return, came back to our offices in Alexandria VA by the May 17, 2023 cutoff date. A total of 865 forms were used as being properly filled out. Basic annual salaries were used to compile the results of this survey – average, low, and high figures. In this salary study, we tried to provide a median range of salaries within the different areas of responsibility in a flight department. We understand that there are different income areas, flight department policies, and retention programs. Therefore, your particular instance may vary.

Salaries don’t include bonuses, stocks, overtime, car, allowances, fuel, or other benefits that may be part of the pilot’s income. Seniority, cross training, number of aircraft operated, or region where company is headquartered, were not included in these calculations. Professional Pilot magazine compared salaries provided by different flight departments and pilot placement agencies.

We’d like to thank all participants who contributed to this study.

For a full view of the 2023 Salary Study… click here