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How Much Does an Airplane Pilot Make Per Year?

Job growth for airline pilots and flight engineers is expected to continue through 2018. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of new jobs in this field is expected to increase by 12 per cent.

Two major pilot classifications are recognised by the bureau: airline pilots and commercial pilots. The salaries of each vary based on factors such as employer and location.

Average Salary

According to the BLS, 68,580 people were employed as airline pilots, flight engineers and co-pilots as of May 2010. The bureau also indicates that 29,900 individuals were employed as commercial pilots.

The average salary of airline pilots reported by the bureau was £74,945 in 2010. By contrast, commercial airline pilots made an average salary of £47,768.

Pay Scale

According to the BLS, commercial pilots made a median salary of £43,875 in 2010.

The majority of commercial pilots made between £31,453 and £58,480, with the highest pay in the industry exceeding £77,772 per year. On the other hand, airline pilots, co-pilots and flight engineers made between £52,084 and £90,564, with a median salary of £67,086 per year. The highest paid airline pilots made more than £108,160 per year.


Location also provides an indicator of the salary that airline and commercial pilots can expect. The BLS indicates that the highest paying state for airline pilots in 2010 was New York, with an average annual salary of £92,553 per year. Pilots in Kentucky and Hawaii earned £90,135 and £79,820 per year, respectively.

Commercial pilots in New Hampshire made the highest annual salary in 2010 at £73,463, according to the bureau. The next highest paying states were Connecticut at £68,984, New York at £61,906 and Pennsylvania at £60,040.


Which industry or employer a pilot has also determines the average salary they obtain. For instance, the 58,540 pilots working in scheduled air transportation (airline pilots) made an average of £76,004 per year in 2010, according to the BLS. Those working for the federal government, on the other hand, made an average salary of £64,766 per year.

By contrast, commercial pilots making the highest average salary were those in non-scheduled air transport, who made £49,049 per year. Those working sightseeing and scenic transportation made £48,646 per year and those working as instructors for technical and trade schools made a salary of £40,482 per year.