Top 10 Highest Paid Airline Pilots in the World

Top 10 Highest Paid Airline Pilots in the World

You would be intrigued by the awesomeness of piloting. Hence, the saying “If you could fly, your earnings fly higher” Giorgio. The aviation industry avails the most lucrative career opportunities. The allowances enjoyed by pilots include luxurious tours, all-expense-paid hotels, free medical insurance, flexible schedules, and obviously, amazing salaries. In this Top 10 Highest Paid Airline Pilots in the World article, you will discover the top paying airlines.

The highest-paying airlines for pilots are the best working environments worldwide. Since every aviation enthusiast would love to be part of their staff, they receive millions of applications from job seekers but only hire the best.

The best paying airlines for pilots have a high demand from customers because they hire the most brilliant and dedicated staff who maintain incredible levels of professionalism. These airlines also frequently train employees to equip them with skills that match the ever-advancing aviation technologies.


To become a pilot, take a key interest in studying mathematics, languages, geography, physics, communications, and chemistry. Good mathematical knowledge enables you to make basic calculations which is a basic requirement for all Pilots.

In addition, these and others are the requirements to work as a pilot in order to work and earn with one of the highest paying airlines.

Languages are important, especially English, the official language of the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO. The ICAO requires a minimum English Language proficiency in level four, or level 6.0 score in the Test of English as a Foreign Language, TOEFL, or by the International English Language Testing Service, IELTS.

Comprehensive knowledge of geography is essential as well since countries are positioned differently across the globe. Hence, knowledge of countries’ longitudes, latitudes, and distances from the equator is crucial. It is pertinent to learn how to use a map reader correctly. Know your wind speed, climates, and seasons of countries. Knowledge of the characteristics of Seas, Oceans, and lakes is necessary.

Physics is one of the most important topics for piloting. A good pilot understands aerodynamics. A cognizant aerodynamic topic like forces, power, weight, lift, drag, and thrust makes piloting interesting.

Communication and teamwork are also required, especially for commercial pilots. In fact, to fly with a single or multi-engine aircraft, you must communicate efficiently with your flight instructor, crew and many others.

Chemistry is one of the least important classes to become a pilot. Apart from understanding weather reactions, knowing chemicals would help a pilot determine the kind of smell he perceives on board. 

Below we will list the highest Paid Airline Pilots in the world.


Licenses or Aviation certificates are required before piloting. Hence, one who already has a Private Piloting License, PPL, needs to have a Commercial Pilot License, CPL, before flying passengers.

You need to study the Instrument meteorological conditions, IMC conditions for single and multi-Engine aircraft. Before achieving the CPL certification, you should be 18 years or older. Also, you will need to have a medical 1.

In addition, you should have a theoretical knowledge of flight fundamentals. Undergo a Night rating of 50 hours total flight time and another 50 hours pilot in command sections. Once those steps are completed, you’ll be licensed to fly commercial airlines. Should you wish to fly with co-pilots, you’ll need to have a multi-crew pilot License.

With this, you’ll realize that it takes a whole lot to become one of the highest Paid Airline Pilots.

How Much is an Airline Pilot Salary?

Airline pilot salary is dependent on a number of factors like age, certifications, employer, and a host of others. According to epic flight academy, United Airlines pilots earn an average of $205, 000. While Delta Airlines pilot earns $192, 000 with top earners in the industry earning $526, 000.

In the US, the average charter pilot salary is approximately $75,000. On the other hand, commercial pilots’ salary is estimated to be $93, 000 annually.

It is important to note that airline pilot salary figures are estimates. They could be more or less depending on one or more of the factors listed above.

How Much Do Pilots Make?

You can make a lot as a pilot. Forbes opines that an airline pilot earns an average of $174, 870. This pilot earning is more than triple the average wage for all occupations. According to thrust flight, airline pilots’ salary is higher than most time building jobs in the US. Other factors may influence how much you make as a pilot.

What Airline Pays the Most for Pilots?

Although United airline is the best airline to work for as a pilot, Southwest airline pays the most for pilots. Pilots who work for United Airline also earn a substantial amount. In fact, the pay for new pilots is highest with United Airlines.

Pilots at United Airline also enjoy excellent medical insurance, free flights, adoption assistance services, and many others.

What are the Salaries of International Commercial Pilots?

Currencies and exchange rates play vital roles when making arguments like this: do pilots make millions as salaries?

This is the fact, pilots on international flights are the highest-paid earning an average salary of $115,950.

Factors That Affect Pilot’s Pay

The wide range of airline pilot salaries is determined by many factors. Here are some of the factors that have the largest impact on how much an airline pilot earns:

  • Experience & Seniority: The amount of time you’ve been a pilot is one of the key factors that determines how much you will earn. Experience is very important as a pilot so you an expect your earnings to increase significantly over time.
  • Regional vs National Airline: Smaller regional airlines typically pay less than the large national carriers like Southwest and United.
  • Endorsements: Like most professions, having additional training and education will help you earn more money. This is no different when it comes to airline pilots.
  • Types of Aircraft Flown: Having the training and experience to fly aircraft that are larger and have a need in the market will also increase your earnings potential while being limited to specific aircraft might make you less marketable to airlines.

As you can see, there is a wide range of factors that affect pilot pay. In the next section we’ll look at the specifics of how much each airline pays.

Read: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on Scholarship Application


1. Alaska Airline

As one of the oldest airlines in the United States, Alaska Airlines maintains an impeccable reputation with its employees. This 77-year-old aviation company came to light in 1944.

The salaries of pilots across this industry range from $93,000 to 190,000 for a first officer who had worked in the company for a year to 12 years, respectively. For captains who just resumed, the airline pilot salary is $226,000, and earn up to $266,000 in 12 years of service. Alaska Airlines has one of the highest-paid airline pilots in the world.

2. Delta Airline

This airline has been operating for about 92 years which is 1929. Its subsidiary airlines include Virginia Atlanta, Endeavor air, etc.

In the first year of practice, a first officer earns approximately $92,000. By her 12th year of practice, he earns $232,000. Whereas a captain earns between $325,000 to $354,000. This airline also has one of the highest paid pilots.

3. United airlines

It was founded in the year 1926 and has Its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. The annual salaries for pilots who work in the United range from $91,000 to $240,000 for first officers. This makes it one of the airlines with the highest paid pilots in the world.

For Captains, the annual salary is approximately $323,000 to $352,000 depending on the years of experience in practice.

4. American Airways

This Airline has its headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. It was founded on April 15, 1926. As a long-lasting aviation company, it has one of the highest-paid airline pilots with salaries ranging from $90,000 to $245,000. For seniors, an annual salary ranges from 314,000 to 342,000.

5. Jet blue Airways

Jetblue was founded in the year 1998. This 22-year-old aviation company has its headquarters in Long Island City, New York. It pays its first officer pilots about $89,000 within the first years of service. Within 12 years of the pilot’s work, he earns $180,000. The captains are the highest paid airline pilots and they earn from $234,000 to $269,000.

6. Southwest Airline

As a company founded in March 15, 1967, the fee for her pilots is rated number six in the United States, 2022. Her headquarters is situated in Dallas, Texas.

A first-time officer earns $84,000 to $191,000 annually. The salaries for Captains range from $241,000 to $274,000.

7. Spirit Airlines

As a prominent company founded 39 years ago in the year 1983, Southwest Airline is one of the oldest operating Airlines in Miramar, Florida.

Captains are the highest paid airline pilots in Spirit. The average pilot salary at Spirit Airlines is $114,494 per year. However, this airline’s pilots’ salaries usually range from $64,326 – $237,378 per year. Frontier Airlines purchased Spirit Airlines on 7th February 2022 for $2.9 billion.

8. Frontier Airlines

The Frontier Airlines salaries for pilots is $61,307 – $343,113, while the average wage is $116,692. The company was formed on 8th February 1994 and flies to over 100 destinations throughout the USA and 31 international destinations. Its headquarters are in Denver, Colorado, and employs more than 3,000 staff.

9. Sun Country Airline

The headquarters of this company is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was founded in the year 1982. It pays pilots from $52,000 to $122,000. For captains, the salary ranges from $116,000 to $189,000.

10. Hawaiin Airline

The Headquarters is located in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was founded in the year 1929. This airline is the last in the top 10 highest paying aviation companies/airlines for pilots.

First-time officers earn approximately 201,000 to 288,000. For captains, the salary ranges from $300,000 to $327,000.


Being an airline pilot is a rewarding career for many reasons. In addition to being a skilled professional that everyone looks up to and getting great benefits, you also earn a fantastic salary. If you are interested in learning to fly, or already work for an airline but want to compare your income to what a competitor might pay, then we hope you found this information useful.

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