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How many pilots per plane

Old 25th Apr 2013, 10:25
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Question How many pilots per plane

Im curious how many pilots per plane is an average for a short haul operator which flies about 11 hours per day per plane?

Last edited by Fikke; 25th Apr 2013 at 10:26.
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Old 25th Apr 2013, 15:18
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The average for most airlines is 5 crews per plane.
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Old 28th Apr 2013, 08:44
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Some info

Ok I found this on the internet. So average is about 13,5 pilots/plane.


BA****************** 14,5
Ryan air********** 11
American******** 13.25
Easy jet***********11.2
Continental**** 12.5
USAirways***** 11.75
Southwest****** 10.5
Air tran***********12.5
Singapore airlines 21

Airline comparison charts
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Old 28th Apr 2013, 15:56
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Problem is you need a lot more crews per aircraft in longhaul operation than doing shorthaul. For example for our "pure" shorthaul fleet we calculate with an average of five crews per aircraft but it is possible to get away with four for some time until they are burned out, then it skyrockets to around seven.

For our mixed fleet operation (A320/A330) we calculate with around 7,5 crews per longhaul aircraft, if we operate it as a pure longhaul fleet it would be around 10 to 12 crews per aircraft. If nearly all flights need an augmented crews the numbers will be even higher.

Those numbers are of course without the usual overhead of management and training pilots. So all in all it is a tad higher, depending how many trainers are needed per aircraft.
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Old 20th Jul 2015, 08:00
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Old thread, but fascinating link from Fikke. I think the numbers quoted are for total employees per aircraft rather than pilots, but there are some other fascinating charts on the website:

AIRLINE ANNUAL CHARTS : Airline Financials

One interesting one shows Southwest as way above the crowd in pilot salary as a proportion of operating revenue

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Old 24th Jul 2015, 12:15
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I have calculated the average number of passengers per aircraft and hours per pilot for 2014 from CAA data. (Tables 1_11_2 & 1_14). There are probably no real surprises with long haul & charter carriers requiring more passengers per aircraft. I have taken total hours flown, average fleet size and average number of pilots & other cockpit staff (which will include a number who are not line pilots). The usual health warnings about use of statistics apply.

Average pilots per aircraft

BA Cityflyer 9.2
British Airways 13.6
Easyjet 10.8
Flybe 8.2
Jet2 9.6
Monarch 12.9
Thomas Cook 18.5
Thomson 14.4
Virgin Atlantic 21.8
Other 3.6
Total 10.6

Total hours flown / average no. of pilots (a/c hours per pilot)

BA Cityflyer 276
British Airways 287
Easyjet 340
Flybe 289
Jet2 269
Monarch 257
Thomas Cook 227
Thomson 274
Virgin Atlantic 226
Other 237
Total 283

Apologies - I can never manage to cut & paste a table into PPRuNe & keep the formatting - please let me know if there is a way. I can let anyone have my workings if they wish.

Last edited by Peter47; 24th Jul 2015 at 12:31.
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Old 28th Jul 2015, 20:34
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How many pilots per plane

The average easy jet pilot flys up towards 900 hours a year. Your figures or assumptions are completely out sorry
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Old 28th Jul 2015, 21:13
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I thought that the total for easyJet seem a bit low. However it includes management pilots. Some may be part time (the totals are NOT full time equivalent). Others will be sick, on stand by duties, etc. Not all will reach 900 hours. The figures for BA & VS seem reasonable.

As I said stats like these always carry a health warning.

As an aside I find it interesting looking at flying hours in the last 7 / 90 days, etc. in Air accident reports and they often appear low. I presume (please correct me if I am wrong) that they would be flying not block hours which will be significant in short haul.
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Old 28th Jul 2015, 22:18
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Way off the mark for all those airlines, I'm afraid!
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Old 29th Jul 2015, 08:53
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peter47:Your methodology needs to recognise that aircraft are flown by CREWS
That means min of 2 pilots /airframe and sometimes up to 4 pilots/ airframe. No flight can be made with only one pilot! Thus your figures are out by an order of 100 percent minimum.
A more realistic yardstick is hours flown per crew. The captain flies the same hour by hour as his F/O.
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Old 29th Jul 2015, 18:27
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How many pilots per plane

I'd say even with that your two to three times out, anything from 600 is the norm. If guys were hitting your figures we'd all be on the rock n roll
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Old 31st Jul 2015, 12:34
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I did a quick back of the envelope calculation before posting.

Average hours per pilot 287
Average complement 2.5(?)
Line hours per pilot 718
"Overheads" (management pilots, sickness, training) say 10%
Total 800 hours.

BA pilots fly up to 900 p.a but not in all fleets and some are on 0.5 or 0.75 contracts so the total appears reasonable.

Average hours / pilot: 226
Average complement 2.75(?)
Average line hours / pilot 621.5
"Overheads" say 10%
Total 685 hours.

Virgin pilots fly up to 750 hours per year but again some will work part time.

I really need to know the following:
- Average complement (4 man crews to SIN, EZE, 2 man SH, etc)
- How much management time is spent in the office, simulator, performing line checks, recruiting & other such areas
- How many crews are long term sick, undergoing conversion training, etc
- How many are on part time contracts
- How many are cover for short term sickness, etc

However, I am not a pilot or been involved in crew planning, my area is commercial & statistics. My initial post was a quick doodle and would be happy to hand over to someone with experience in the area. That said I think that my data passes the "reasonableness test".

Last edited by Peter47; 21st Aug 2015 at 21:13.
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