How Much do Airline Pilots Get Paid?

How Much do Airline Pilots get Paid a Year?

Captains and First Officers Salary

How Much Do Airline Pilots Get Paid?

First Officers (or co-pilots) can earn from £25,000 – £150,000 a year whilst the yearly salary for Captains (pilots) can range from £100,000 to about £300,000. Pilot pay varies significantly between airlines and countries with factors such as the type of operation, aircraft flown and experience level all affecting pilot pay. Generally speaking, the bigger the aircraft, the further the aircraft is flown and the longer a pilot has been with that airline, the more the airline pilot gets paid. Many airlines have a yearly increase in salary that reflects the pilot’s length of service or seniority.

The Guardian (a UK newspaper) stated that in 2016, airline pilots were the 4th highest paid profession in the United Kingdom earning an average of £86,915 ($120,000 / €95,000), before tax a year.

The Roles of Pilots

Airline pilots are split into two roles; the Captain and First Officer. The Captain is in charge of the aircraft and ultimately responsible for the safety of the passengers, crew and aircraft. The First Officer assists the Captain in the safe operation of the flight with (on most days), the flying duties being split evenly, taking it in turns to fly the aircraft. The First Officers roles can be further split into a junior First Officer, Second Officer or Senior First Officer. Training Captains and First Officers (pilots who train other pilots) would expect to earn an extra increment on top of those stated below.

Pay Scales

The figures below are meant to be used as a general guide and there will always be exceptions above or below the figures. Each airline has its own pilot pay scales which will vary with the type of operation and aircraft type. The taxation applicable to each country will significantly alter the take home pay (net) for a given gross salary. Please note the Dollars and Euros figures given are based on a UK pound sterling conversion. Salaries are updated to reflect conditions in 2021.

Long Haul Pilot Pay

Long Haul Captain (Maximum)
Long Haul Captain (Minimum)
Long Haul First Officer (Maximum)
Long Haul First Officer (Minimum)

£250,000 ($350,000 / €280,000)
£80,000 ($124,000 / €113,000)
£120,000 ($187,000 / €170,000)
£50,000 ($80,000 / €65,000)

Long-haul aircraft types would include Boeing 747, 767, 777, 787, Airbus 330, 340, 350 380. Airline examples might include, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, American Airlines, Delta, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, Air France Turkish Airline’s, Iberia.

Short Haul Pilot Pay

Short Haul Captain (Maximum)
Short Haul Captain (Minimum)
Short Haul First Officer (Maximum)
Short Haul First Officer (Minimum)

£130,000 ($205,000 / €185,000)
£70,000 ($109,000 / €100,000)
£70,000 ($109,000 / €100,000)
£35,000 ($55,000 / €50,000)

Short to medium haul aircraft types would include Boeing 737, 757, Airbus 319 / 320 / 321, Embraer 190/195.

Regional Pilot Pay

Regional Captain (Maximum)
Regional Captain (Minimum)
Regional First Officer (Maximum)
Regional First Officer (Minimum)

£80,000 ($120,000 / €100,000)
£40,000 ($63,000 / €57,000)
£40,000 ($63,000 / €57,000)
£20,000 ($32,000 / €29,000)

Regional aircraft types would include Jetstream 41, Saab 2000, Dash 8, ATR42/72, Fokker 50, Embraer 145. Example airlines might include Eastern Airways, Aer Arran, Flybe, Darwin Airways or Logan Air.

Charter Airline Pilot Pay

Charter airlines operate both long and short haul. As such pay will vary between the short and long haul salary brackets.