Sunday, June 28, 2009

How much is too much for regional pilot pay?

I don't know how this guy can take his stance with a straight face. How can he state a regional airline pilot who earns just $32K a year is compensated properly when bus drivers, janitors and truck drivers all earn more, but have potentially less demanding jobs? To be qualified to fly a commercial plane requires a significant financial and personal investment. This investment takes quite some time and skill. Just about anyone can learn to drive a bus, truck or be a janitor in less than a month and considerably less money. I know first hand about being a bus driver, I drove a school bus for 3 years during college.  How much is the right amount? Well I think enough to support a family of 3 would be fair. Say starting wage of $38K a year? Pilot pay is a fairly small expense in a given flight. In addition to pilot pay, the airlines pay for gate space, landing fees, fuel, advertising, gate agents, ramp workers, maintenance, cleaning crews and flight attendants. Ok...going to step off my soap is the article from Aviation Today.

RAA Defends Pilot Pay

Aviation Today

U.S. regional airline pilot pay is "fair and reasonable", according to the Regional Airline Association RAA), in defending salaries under scrutiny in the wake of the Feb. 12, 2009 Continental Express fatal crash near Buffalo, NY.

RAA President Roger Cohen testified before the Senate aviation subcommittee that "the entire airline industry - regional, majors, and low-cost airlines - has a highly unionized work force that is paid a fair and reasonable wage.

The average salary for a regional pilot with the rank of Captain at an RAA member airline is $76,000 a year. This salary is comparable to other professions that utilize similar skills.

"A First Officer has less seniority and responsibility than a Captain. The average salary for a First Officer, working at an RAA member airline, is $32,000 a year."

"Again, this salary is in line with comparable professions".

"Pilots earn a fair and reasonable wage and also receive valuable benefits such as free airline travel, paid leave, and comprehensive benefits."

"Also, pilots, while on duty, receive collectively- bargained per diem expenses," he added.


  1. "this salary is in line with comparable professions" -- I'm sorry, what other professions out there put the lives of over 50 people in yours hands for 8 hours a day? Doctors? My first-year resident friend is going to be making 6-figures this year.

    "...pilots, while on duty, receive collectively-bargained per diem expenses." -- Yes, which average around $1.50/hr. So when I'm stuck on the ground due to maintenance for 4 hours, I just made $6 for my time, while dealing with maintenance personnel, cranky flight attendants and outraged passengers? Just because the airplane isn't moving doesn't mean we're not working.

  2. RAA is living in a fantasy. It is absurd to think that $32K is an acceptable comp level for first officer, even one on their first flight. Unfortunately, as people are still lining up to fly at those wages, Its isn't going to get any better. Especially when people are willing to pay tp fly as FO.
    Good luck.

  3. Remember, that's just the "average". You are lucky to make the average after 5 years at some airlines! I don't know how starting pilots make it if they make so much less than average. They really are making it seem better than it is by saying "average". Did any of those senate committee members even ask what the starting pay is? I bet/hope they would be completely shocked! The starting salary at certain airlines is living in poverty if you have a family to support. That's disgusting in my opinion!

  4. Something that i have said about the pilot pay is the. "If a brain surgen screws up, one life is lost. If a pilot screws up 40-200 lives are lost" I don't understand how these people live with themselves. They are telling the senate that pilots make decent pay??? Well let me ask you this Mr. Cohen. Is the pay working at McDonalds reasonable? After you have gone to college and spent 40-100 Thousand dollars getting the training to do that job? NO i don't think so. Is living in poverty reasonable? NO. I cannot believe that the senate baught into that crap. It is rediculious!


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