How much does a pilot earn? UK salary explained | The Sun

A pilot career is attractive for many reasons, from travelling the world, to make life-long friends.

Have you ever thought about becoming a pilot? Here's what you need to know about soaring to new career highs – and the salary that comes with it.

How much do pilots earn in the UK?

There are many career opportunities as a pilot, each requiring varying levels of experience:

  • Junior First Officer
  • First Officer
  • Captain

Starting salaries for a newly qualified commercial pilot can start at around £22,000 a year.

A short-haul pilot can earn anything from a starting point of £35,000, up to £60,000 – and a captain can earn up to £100,000.

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But long-haul pilots can earn as much as £170,000 a year.

A long-haul first officer can receive anything from £45,000 to £120,000.

And a long-haul captain's salary is estimated at between £80,000 and £170,000.

What is the average salary of a commercial pilot?

The average salary for a commercial pilot in the UK is £41,642 a year.

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A commercial pilot is the starting point for any pilot who is just beginning their career.

This means they can fly aircraft for rescue operations, charter flights and aerial photography.

Commercial pilots help to plan flights, check systems on the plane, and discuss with traffic controllers to confirm flight routes and expected weather conditions.

They will also make sure that any bags or cargo have been safely and correctly loaded on board.

How do I become a pilot?

Any aspiring pilot will first have to apply for an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL).

This can be gained from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and allows you to fly an aircraft with nine or more passengers.

To qualify for this licence, you will have to attend pilot training schools, or flying schools, which offer different courses.

It takes 18 months for a trainee pilot with no previous experience to gain their licence by taking an integrated course.

But this type of course is intense and will have to be completed in one go. It involves theoretical studying and practical flying experience.

A trainee pilot can also choose to take an alternative course, known as a modular course.

This method takes longer to complete but will allow the trainee to complete the course in segments, whilst working alongside to help pay for course fees.

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Some airlines, like RyanAir, Aer Lingus, and Virgin Atlantic, offer their own alternative, structured programmes.

This route is entirely self-funded but does increase your chances of securing a job with that organisation upon completion. 

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