Pilot Average Salary In The UK: Overview, Scope & Benefits

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  • This blog primarily covers the Salary breakup of Pilots in the UK
  • It also talks about the working hours of a Pilot in the UK and how to become one
  • In addition, it puts emphasis on the Qualifications and Skills required to become a Pilot in the UK

Jobs related to aircraft are among the most desired employment types in the UK. However, among numerous positions related to it, a Pilot’s job stands out due to its role, responsibility, prestige, and lucrative salary. Although it depends on factors such as experience, airline, job role and others, on an average the Salary of Pilot in UK is around GBP 41,642 per year. While the highest Salary may exceed to GBP 123,000 annually. 

Salary Breakup of Pilots in the UK

The starting Salary of newly graduated Pilots within a small operation might range around GBP 24,000 per year and GBP 25,000 annually. However, the starting salary for more extensive operations might reach around GBP 28,000 per year. 

For First Officer roles, the salary might range from around GBP 36,000 to GBP 48,000 yearly. With experience, individuals can reach for a Captain’s role, and their compensation will range from GBP 54,000 to GBP 75,000 for a medium-sized company. But, if individuals are employed with significant operations, their salaries might reach up to GBP 140,000 to GBP 97,000 per year. 

Salary of Pilot in UK Based on Experience

The details of the Salary of Pilot in UK based on experience are comprehensively described in the table below. 

Experience (in Years) Average Salary (in GBP Per Year) Percentage Increase in Salary
Less than 2 years 71,400 N/A
2 – 5 91,800 29%
5 – 10 127,000 38%
10 – 15 157,000 24%
15 – 20 168,000 7%
20 + 179,000 7%

Salary Based on Educational Qualifications

The pay for Pilots also depends on their educational qualifications. Details concerning it are provided below – 

Educational Qualification Average Salary (in GBP Per Year) Percentage Increase in Salary
Diploma or Certificate 91,800 N/A
Bachelor’s Degree 123,000 34%
Master’s Degree 189,000 53%

The starting salary of a Pilot doubles in approximately 10 years on average.

Salary Based on Job Roles

As there are multiple Pilot roles, the salary also varies with it. The relation between Pilot role and salaries is provided in the table below – 

Pilot Role Average Current Rate of Basic Starting Pay (in GBP)
Flying Instructor 1,100 per month
Turboprop 16,000 – 35,000 per year
Small Business Jet 17,000 – 35,000 per year
Short Haul (Cadet First Officer) 16,000 – 30,000 per year
Short Haul (First Officer) 30,000 – 60,000 per year
Short Haul (Captain) 60,000 + per year
Long–Haul (First Officer) 55,000 + per year
Long–Haul (Captain) 120,000 per year

Salary Based on Location

The salaries of a Pilot might also depend on cities in the UK. Students can consider the underlying table to get a comprehensive understanding of the alteration of compensation with the city – 

City Average Salary (in GBP Per Year)
Bristol 104,914
Cambridge 62,427
Aberdeen 45,840
Exeter 44,254
Birmingham 42,042
London 40,132
Bradford 28,324
Glasgow 26,300

Working Hours of a Pilot in the UK 

Pilots need to work approximately 39 to 41 hours a week, and working days might include weekends, holidays, etc. This job is not particularly a 9 to 5 job, and the working days will vary as per the route and the company. These operating hours might range from 3 to 12 hours. Starting time of these jobs will also depend on a course or an airline, and sometimes this job demands early morning and late nights.

Become a Pilot in the UK

To be a Pilot in the UK, aspirants need to be a minimum of 18 years of age, but they will not receive an ATPL certificate until they are 21. They must note that it can take 16 to 18 months to qualify as a Pilot without prior flying experience. 

Trainee Pilots need to hold GCSE passes in mathematics, science and English. Although a prior degree is not mandatory, A – levels are highly favourable. Students must also learn that having a second language is also preferred. 

For flying an aircraft with more than 9 passengers, individuals will need an Airline Transport Pilot Licence or ATPL from the CAA. But, to get an ATPL certificate, individuals will need a Class I Medical Certificate, which is valid for 1 year until 40 years of age. 

To get a ‘frozen ATPL’, individuals need to obtain Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) and an Instrumental Rating (IR) from a flying school. With this, they can apply to positions such as Co-Pilot. To ‘unfreeze’ it, individuals need to complete 1500 hours of flying experience. After that, they can apply for jobs as Captains. Lastly, individuals need to have practical skills such as air law, radio navigation and operation procedures. 

Qualification Required to be a Pilot 

For Pilot training, individuals need a minimum of 5 GCSEs and two A-levels. This training also requires a comprehensive understanding of mathematics and physics. Hence, any qualification that can demonstrate proficiency in this subject is an advantage. However, a postgraduate or Master’s degree is not mandatory but might help prove proficiency. 

There are also Pilot-related degrees such as Aviation Management, Aviation Technology, Aircraft Engineering, etc. As mentioned above, getting an ATPL is essential to becoming a Pilot. There are two primary ways to achieve it: 

Integrated Course 

These integrated courses are intensive full-time courses and take approximately 18 months to complete. Integrated courses are a mixture of practical and classroom work and include theoretical and practical flying courses.  

Modular Training 

Modular training is less expensive than integrated courses and includes all topics taught in the integrated course. But, in modular training, classes are taught in chunks and are a great option if individuals can’t afford an integrated course. 

Skills Required to be a Pilot in the UK

The skills required to be a Pilot are – 

  • Comprehensive understanding of Physics and Mathematics 
  • Spatial awareness and communication
  • Ability to understand and process Technical information of Pilots 
  • Teamwork skills
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Self-discipline, self-confidence, and commitment 
  • Ability to keep composure under stressful conditions
  • Decision-making skills 
  • Attention to detail 

Hence, it is evident that the Salary of Pilot in UK depends on multiple factors such as experience, education qualification, Pilot role and city of residence. But, to be a Pilot is a challenging task as it needs substantial dedication and financial backup for training. However, aspirants can opt for courses that are comparatively more affordable to achieve their goal of becoming a Pilot. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the median salary of a commercial Pilot in the UK?

Ans. The median salary of a commercial Pilot in the UK is GBP 60,796 annually. Apart from that the annual salary of a commercial Pilot ranges from GBP 24,400 and can go all the way up to GBP 150,000.

2. What are some of the similar professions in the UK other than the Pilot?

Ans. A few similar professions are First Officer, Captain, Commander, Flight Instructor, and Drone Pilot. Apart from the individuals can also work as aerial firefighters, for sightseeing and tours, ambulance & rescue, business Pilot, freight Pilot, or in science and research.

3. How to get a job as a Pilot in the UK?

Ans. In the UK, aspirants get a job as a Pilot through multiple ways such as a university course, direct application, trainee scheme, and special courses offered by private training schools. 

4. What is the approximate cost of Pilot training?

Ans. Pilot training can cost between GBP 70,000 to GBP 120,000 per year. Furthermore, the cost of Pilot training in the UK depends on the type of course and duration of the course program. So, it is recommended to check the fees structure of the flying schools that one aspires to take training from.

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An International Higher Ed professional with 7+ years of experience studying, working, and living across three geographies, currently on a mission to share his journey as an International Student.