The commercial pilot salary in the US is about $68,522 per year, while in the UK that can reach £58,942 ($84,035) each year. In Switzerland and Norway, the median wage for the same job is even higher, atCHF142,217 ($152,196), respectively NOK1,044,451 ($135,851) per year.
While in Australia the same professionals make AU$61,481 ($49,714) yearly, and in Canada around C$60,335 ($48,966) per year. The aim of our guide for the average commercial pilot salary is to speak about the factors that can influence their pay, so read everything you need to know about the industry, experience, and job outlook below.
Commercial Pilot Salary Influencers
A definitive aspect of the commercial airline pilot salary is the airline they work for. The starting salary for a commercial pilot varies from airline to airline. Moreover, the salary commercial pilots professionals receive is based on their flying hours. Consequently, the more flights a pilot has in a month or year, the higher the salary will be. Glassdoor points out a big difference from this point of view. To be precise, here are the commercial airline pilots salaries estimates for a few airlines from the United States:
- ExpressJet Airlines – $34,566
- American Airlines – $141,604
- Delta Air Lines – $135,646
- United Airlines – $176,981
2. Geographical Area
|Commercial Pilot Salary||US||Canada||UK||Australia||Switzerland||Norway|
|Hourly Wage||$40.55||C$42.50 ($34.49)||£28.33* ($40.39)||AU$26.19 ($21.18)||CHF68 ($62.07)||NOK502 ($65.30)|
|Annual Wage||$68,522||C$60,335 ($48,966)||£58,942 ($84,035)||AU$61,481 ($49,714)||CHF142,217 ($152,196)||NOK1,044,451 ($135,851)|
A (*) means that the hourly salary was extrapolated from the annual salary
Commercial Pilot Salary in the US
Airlines aren’t the only essential factor that can influence the average salary for a commercial pilot. In addition to employers, the commercial pilot salary, commercial helicopter pilot salary or commercial jet pilot salary can be greatly influenced by location. In other words, you can have a really low starting salary if you aren’t in a favorable state. On the other hand, a few states easily offer the highest salary ranges for this job. At a glance, these are the states with the highest salary for commercial pilots in the United States:
- Connecticut – $116,960
- Delaware – $103,020
- Illinois – $102,760
- California – $100,230
- Pennsylvania – $100,150
While these states pose quite an attractive average commercial pilot salary, there are some that barely offer half these amounts. If you don’t want a low air pilot salary, you should avoid these locations:
- Utah – $50,550
- Vermont – $53,690
- Puerto Rico – $56,240
- Kentucky – $58,800
- North Dakota – $59,720
Nevertheless, the high salary isn’t the only aspect you should think of when analyzing potential locations as workplaces. You should also aim for states that have reasonable employment rates. Regardless of how high the commercial pilot salary may be in one state, you might have almost no chance of getting hired if their employment rate is low. Here are the states with the top employment rates in America: Florida, California, Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania; and the lowest: Wyoming, Maine, Delaware, West Virginia, and Rhode Island.
Commercial Pilot Salary by State
|State||Annual mean wage ($)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Commercial Pilot Salary in Canada
A commercial pilot living in Canada makes C$42.50 per hour, while the annual pay is at C$60,335. The pay gets increased by bonuses, overtime, and profit sharing of up to C$5,000 per year. Therefore, the total pay can be between C$31,918 and C$160,398 per year.
Commercial Pilot Salary in the UK
Same professionals living in the United Kingdom win about £58,942 per year. They also receive bonuses and profit sharing of up to £6,000, making the total annual pay range between £28,903 and £156,257.
Commercial Pilot Salary in Australia
An Australian commercial pilot gets paid AU$26.19 per hour, meaning a total of AU$61,481 per year. With profit sharing of AU$15,000 and bonuses between AU$498 and AU$40,134 he can win between AU$40,844 and AU$192,785 each year.
Commercial Pilot Salary in Switzerland
The median salary for commercial pilots living in Switzerland is CHF142,217 per year, according to SalaryExpert. While the hourly pay stays at CHF68, and bonuses can reach CHF5,333 each year.
Commercial Pilot Salary in Norway
In Norway, the same job can pay up to NOK1,044,451 each year, which means NOK502 per hour. These professionals also win yearly bonuses of up to NOK39,167.
Salaries generally increase by the year, this increase being pretty steady in the US, so from an entry-level salary of $52,000 per year, after 5-10 years that can reach $72,000. Then it keeps growing until $83,000 after 10-20 years of experience, after that seeing an even higher increase of up to $125,000 per year after more than 20 years on the job.
A beginner’s salary in Switzerland, with less than 3 years of experience cashes about CHF98,542 per year. While those with more experience, of 8 years and more can take home up to CHF176,452 each year. Same professionals from Norway win at an entry-level experience around NOK725,716 per annum, while those at the senior level can win up to NOK1,299,489 per year.
Obviously, the main work environment for pilots is in flight or in airports. Pilots are required by federal law to get plenty of rest in between flights, so they usually fly around 75 hours every month. During the rest of the time (about 150 hours monthly), they carry out other work-related tasks. As expected, pilots spend a lot of time away from their families traveling abroad. This is an essential aspect that candidates must keep in mind.
Bonuses & Benefit Packages
One of the main reasons why commercial pilot jobs are so desired is the myriad of benefits that come attached to the job description. In addition to the fact that pilots have a great schedule, they have countless travel benefits that are sometimes extended to their close family members. Moreover, they usually can enroll free of charge in a 401k plan, and they also get medical insurance.
They also get bonuses, those working in the US can get bonuses of $306 to $29,087 per year, while those from Canada get bonuses between C$19.10 and C$10,241. Also, same professionals living in the UK get bonuses of up to £24,468 per annum.
When it comes to determining the commercial pilot salary in the USA, data from respected sources points out some pretty different numbers. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics points out that the median salary for airline and commercial pilots is $105,720 per year. There seems to be quite the difference, especially since other sources mention that the airline pilot starting salary is around $20,000-$40,000 per year.
The job outlook for airline and commercial pilots is expected to grow 4% until 2026. This is just a bit lower than the national average for all occupations of 7%. Also, from the number of jobs of 124,800 in 2016, the employment change will be 4,400 until 2026. Not only will they be requested by airlines, but also for services like ambulance travel or support activities.
To wrap everything up, the commercial pilot salary might not be all that big at first, but it delightfully increases as the years go by. Not only do they get numerous benefits, but they also have the chance to travel the world while receiving an admirable paycheck as an experienced pilot. For more info on the salaries from the same field, you can also check out the flight attendant and the air traffic controller salary.