How To Become A Commercial Airline Pilot, Salary, Training, CPL, ATPL

How To Become A Commercial Airline Pilot, Salary, Training, CPL, ATPL

In this video I summarise the requirements for becoming a commercial airline pilot.

I covered this subject in a previous video made in August 2017. That video continues to receive a lot of views but it has become clear from the enquiries I received since that there are still some unanswered questions.

As well as how to become airline pilot I touch on what might be a commercial airline pilot salary in each stage of your career. So if you’ve ever asked the question what do airline pilots earn? then watch the video.

The much publicised 2016 forecast by Boeing for a huge global demand for pilots in the next two decades persists.

Even taking into account the regional variations in the figures it is likely that Europe alone will require 80-90,000 new commercial pilots in the next 20 years.

What do airline pilots earn? What salaries can you expect?

As you can probably imagine, salaries vary according to the size of the airline, the aircraft type, and the pilot’s experience.

A recently qualified First Officer for a small, regional airline can expect a starting salary of around £25,000 pa.

Larger airlines may offer more and the salaries will eventually increase in proportion to the experience.

For example, more experienced First Officers can look forward to £36,000 to £48,000 pa.

Once you’ve been promoted to Captain you can expect a salary of £57,000 to £78,000 for a medium sized airline.

If your employer is one of the major operators then salaries of between £97,000 and £140,000 or more are the industry norm.

Next, a reality check.

If you want to end up in the cockpit of a major airline then there is a long road ahead. There is a great deal of study to be done and a lot of money to be spent. Once qualified you will still need to compete with other eager young pilots for positions within airlines.

If you’re still at school or college then make sure you get five GCSEs and two A-levels, ideally in Maths, English, and Science.

And at the risk of stating the obvious, you need to be fluent in English too.

The distance and the requirements may seem overwhelming at first but like all long, hard journeys it’s persistent effort, patience, and sacrifice that leads to eventual success.

One step at a time seems like a cliché but it’s true. Focus on what is in front of you on any given day. Develop the self-discipline to take steps toward your goal each week.

As the months roll by you will be able to look back at sure and certain progress.

Chocks away then, where do you start?

For reasons that should be obvious, anyone wishing to fly aircraft commercially needs to be fit and healthy. You’ll need to pass a Class 1 Medical examination and maintain that standard throughout your career.

If you have any questions or concerns about the medical certificate then please check the CAA website at

Continued in the video…


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