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Airline Pilot Hiring OutlookCareer & Pilot Salary Information for 2019-2020

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For many pilots, getting paid to fly is a dream come true and becoming a pilot is not as difficult as you might think — and, right now, is a great time to get started on your pilot career.

According to the 2019 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook, projections show that “804,000 new civil aviation pilots, 769,000 new maintenance technicians, and 914,000 new cabin crew will be needed to fly and maintain the world fleet over the next 20 years”. The major contributing factors fueling the global pilot shortage include:

  • Global economic growth
  • Increasing demand for air travel with record numbers of passengers
  • Airline pilot retirements versus pilots training to replace them
Yearly Retirements at Major Airlines
Yearly Retirements at Major Airlines

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Growing Demand for Professional Pilots

In its 2019 Aerospace Forecast, the FAA cites the airline pilot shortage as an ongoing issue for regional airlines. One major contributing factor is the record number of passengers flying worldwide. Boeing, Airbus, and Embraer, all leading aircraft manufactures, project increasing (even doubling) their commercial jet fleets to account for these demands for air travel by consumers.

Boeing Forecast

Trusted by more than 100 aviation regulatory agencies worldwide, the current Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook concludes that the aviation industry will need to supply more than 645,000 commercial airline pilots worldwide over the next 20 years. Boeing's Current Market Outlook reports that the global commercial jet fleet is projected to double in size by 2038. To meet demand, Boeing forecasts deliveries of over 44,000 new commercial aircraft in the coming years.

Airbus Forecast

Airbus, international manufacturer of passenger aircraft ranging in size from 100-seat jetliners to the 850 passenger double-deck A380, states in their Global Market Forecast that airline traffic is forecast to double in size in the next 15 years. Airbus believes the small commercial aircraft segment, like the new A220, will represent 76% of the deliveries. Airbus notes that commercial aviation has been resilient to external shocks with traffic more than doubling in size since 2000.

Embraer Forecast

Embraer is one of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers. It has produced more than 5,000 aircraft and is the market leader for commercial jets with up to 150 seats. Embraer’s Market Outlook projects 10,550 new jet deliveries, with up to 150 seats, over the next 20 years. Embraer foresees worldwide demand for air transport increasing an average of 4.4% annually through 2038.

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You Can Become a Pilot — Here's Your Next Step

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Commercial Pilot License What Does a Commercial Pilot Do?

A licensed commercial pilot may act as pilot-in-command of an aircraft for compensation or hire, as well as carry persons or property for compensation or hire. To put another way, holding a commercial pilot license means you are legally allowed to get paid as a pilot.

Regional Airline Pilot Salary What Can Airline Pilots Plan to Actually Earn?

Airlines have been raising wages and improving workplace rules that allow for a much-improved quality of life for pilots. Commerical pilot earnings potential can vary considerably depending on seniority, aircraft and airline, but generally speaking, the bigger the aircraft and the further you go, the greater the pay.

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Commercial Airline Pilot Career Seniority & What it Means to You

Seniority rules when you are an airline pilot. Seniority decides which monthly schedule you will fly, when you will take vacation, which aircraft you will fly, which crew base you will be working in and how soon it will take you to upgrade from first officer to captain. How soon you upgrade from first officer to captain will affect how much you will earn and even, when you can move up to a major airline.

Related FAQs Airline Career Pilot Program

What are the eligibility requirements for becoming an airline pilot?
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Do I need a college degree to be a pilot?
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What are the effects of COVID-19 on the airline industry?
What are the eligibility requirements for becoming an airline pilot?

Summary of educational, medical, legal, certification and qualification requirements to become a commercial pilot and fly for major and regional airlines.

What are the eligibility requirements for becoming an airline pilot? »
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How do I become a pilot for United Airlines®?

ATP Flight School is the nation’s leader in airline-oriented flight training and has partnered with United to provide ATP students the fastest path to a successful pilot career with United. Learn more about United AviateSM.

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Accelerated pilot cadet program, offering a proven path to a pilot career at American Airlines.

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How long does it take to become a pilot?

It takes 3 months to become a private pilot. In about 2 years, you can become a commercial airline pilot. Learn how you can become a pilot with ATP Flight School.

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How much does it cost to become a commercial pilot?

ATP provides up-front, fixed-cost pricing in a way that differentiates us from most other flight schools and academies. With over 30 years of experience, ATP designs our flight training programs with enough flight time for the vast majority of students to be successful.

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What pilot training programs are available?

Complete list of aviation courses, flight training, and career pilot programs offered by ATP Flight School.

What pilot training programs are available? »
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The student pilot certificate is a requirement in order to fly a powered aircraft by yourself, known as “soloing” in aviation.

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Learn all about a commercial pilot license, including privileges, requirements, eligibilty, and how to earn this pilot license.

What is a commercial pilot license? »
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Learn all about earning your flight instructor certification, including privileges, requirements, eligibilty, and salary information.

How to become a certified flight instructor? »

Learn all about earning your flight instructor certification, including privileges, requirements, eligibilty, and salary information.

How to become a certified flight instructor? »
How to earn your ATP certificate?

An ATP certification will also open a wide array of pilot job opportunities with various corporate and private air carriers. Learn more about the Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certification, such as, eligibility requirements and flight experience requirements.

How to Earn Your ATP Certificate? »
How much do airline pilots make?

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What is the current airline pilot hiring outlook?

Commercial airline pilot job career information; airline pilot hiring, pilot salary, retirement numbers, military pilot population reduction and the overall upcoming pilot shortage discussion.

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What are the effects of COVID-19 on the airline industry? »