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How much do pilots earn in the UK?

  • Article by L3Harris Airline Academy
  • Published
  • Duration 5 minute read

Have you ever wondered how much pilots earn in the UK?

A pilot career is attractive for many reasons from having an office above the clouds, to making life-long friends, to earning an attractive salary as a commercial pilot.

How much a pilot earns is dependent on a number of factors, including:

  • The airline
  • Level of experience
  • Type of aircraft

According to Indeed, a senior or experienced pilot’s salary is 31% higher than the UK’s national average salary based on pilot’s in London earning approximately £48,121 per year.

Read on to discover how much a pilot could earn at different stages of their career. The income figures of a commercial airline pilot below are intended to be a guide only.

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Pilot starting salary

You’ll begin your flying career as a Junior First Officer.

A Junior First Officer who is either still in training or has not completed their full flying hours will have two stripes on their pilot uniform.

A pilot’s starting salary will range between £24,000 (for a small operation) and £28,000 (for larger Airlines). Although becoming a pilot is a considerable investment, you can expect to enjoy an attractive salary, one that is typically higher than the average university graduate salary - currently £23,000.

First Officer pilot salary

With more flying hours under your belt, you’ll progress onto the role of Senior First Officer. A Senior First Officer is second in command to the Captain. A pilot’s uniform is a good indicator of their rank, for example, a Senior First Officer may have three stripes.

According to PayScale, on average, the salary for an experienced First Officer in the UK is £48,605.

For Senior First Officers at British Airways, the average salary in the United Kingdom is £58,204.

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Captain pilot salary

After securing more experience as a Senior First Officer you can begin applying for the role of Captain. Captain’s will have four stripes on their uniform and are responsible for the flight and are first in command.

According to PayScale, on average, an airline Captain salary in the United Kingdom is £103,525.

For larger airline companies, an airline Captain salary in the United Kingdom can be £150,000.

Why you should become a pilot

Becoming a pilot enables you to escape the mundane and enjoy a highly rewarding and exciting career above the clouds. So, why should you start a training programme become a pilot?

1. Every day is different

You’ll be flying to different countries around the globe from day-to-day and week-to-week. You’ll also be working with different flight crews, meeting passengers and city residents meaning you can build connections with people from different cultures around the world.

2. Career progression

As a pilot there’s much room for progression and you’ll constantly be learning on the go. As we’ve already highlighted in the article you’ll begin your career as a Junior First Officer progressing on to Senior First Captain and then to Captain.

3. Perks & bonuses

As well as an attractive salary, pilots can enjoy an abundance of perks such as travel discounts for family & friends, health benefits, retirement plans and much more.

4. Work life balance

Typically, pilots work an average of 2-3 weeks a month meaning you can enjoy the rest of your time doing what you love the most, whether this be connecting with family & friends, relaxing or enjoying a hobby.

5. Office with a view

Not many people in the world can say they have an office above the clouds with unparalleled views with every working day. It’s easy to see why pilots want to escape the monotonous routine of a 9-5 office job.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to read our FAQs or submit an enquiry.

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What's next?

If you are feeling inspired by this article then we have several others that could be of interest to you. Excited for the next step? Feel free to look at our guides on ‘How to become a pilot’ as well as our FAQs.

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