November 2019

Pilot salary – How much do pilots make


In many countries, the profession of pilot is still regarded as one of the best paid jobs. You can also watch pilots' lifestyles on social media. But what do pilots earn? What is the pilot's salary?

How much money do pilots make?

The following links will give you a lot of information about pilot salaries worldwide and for almost every airline. But what helps you to know what a pilot in a country earns with a particular airline? So please read on and learn how to interpret the salary. Because the salary is just a number. So you have to understand what this number is worth.

Why you can't compare salaries on your own

If you have read the book "Direct to Pilot" carefully, then you have a clear picture of the profession of an airline pilot. Many people only compare salaries. But they don't see what hurdles you have to overcome to move from one country to another to work for another airline. Or how rosters, route networks and culture affect your working environment. In addition to the working conditions at an airline, there are other country-specific differences.

Purchasing power and cost of living worldwide

For example, the purchasing power of 1€ or 1$ is different in each country. While people in one country can live off it for a day, in another you can't even get a coffee for it.

Purchasing power therefore also determines your cost of living. So how much money you need per month to live. The cost of living varies from country to country.

Is the pilot's salary average?

The cost of living and purchasing power give you an idea of what a certain salary in a country is worth. But if everyone in a country earns a lot, then the pilot's salary may only be an average salary. So also look at the average income in a country. 

This is how high the taxes are in the different countries of the world

In addition, you pay different taxes in each country. So it doesn't help you to know how much you could earn in one country and how much you could earn as a pilot in another country. Therefore, many people compare apples with pears.

Why many people compare apples to pears

If you now only compare the content of one airline with the content of another airline, without considering all the above aspects, you will only compare apples with pears.

Without a proper comparison of the salary in terms of taxes, cost of living and average income in a country, the salaries are not comparable.

And even then, there are other aspects you need to consider. Because there are big differences in labour and collective agreements. So how much do you have to work to get this salary?

Some airlines offer you special benefits in addition to the pilot's salary. Therefore, it may even be that these additional benefits are more important to you than your salary.

Imagine an airline offering you a special influence on your roster with family and child. So you have almost every weekend off. Then a slightly higher salary might be totally irrelevant to you.

Maybe you would have to move to a foreign country and have no contact to your friends and family. So how much is it worth to have more salary in your account?

The pilot's salary always depends on your personal ideas and wishes.

How can you compare salaries now?

On the one hand, you can only compare salaries for yourself personally. You need to know what you want and have a plan for your life, what you want to achieve and where. On the other hand, you have to consider taxes, living costs, and the average income in a country.

To make a pilot's salary comparable for you, you need to compare purchasing power based on the income of two countries. Purchasing power is a measure of how many goods you can afford in a country based on your income.

If the purchasing power is higher, people can afford more in relation to their income on the basis of the cost of living. If it is lower, the population as a whole is less rich and can therefore afford less.

Sample calculation with the average income of a country

Here is an example of the average income in two countries. Here we compare Luxembourg and the USA. You can find all the values you need here.

With a cost of living index of 114, all goods in Luxembourg are on average around 14 percent more expensive than in the USA. However, the average income in Luxembourg is also 20% higher at USD 5899. This means that people in Luxembourg can afford more goods.

If you compare the 14 percent higher costs with the 20 percent higher income, a Luxembourger can afford about 5% more goods than a US-American.

Of course, this applies to the average gross income. From the gross income you still have to deduct the social security contributions and taxes, which again vary from country to country.

If you swap the average salary in the sample calculation for the pilot salary of two airlines from different countries, you can compare the purchasing power index with each other. This gives you a feeling of what the income is really worth in a country.

In addition, there are taxes and social security contributions, which you also have to take into account.

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