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Initial Salary?

Old 26th Jul 2018, 22:44
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Initial Salary?

Since cost is one of the biggest barriers to entry and most if not all aspiring commercial pilots will take out a loan one way or another, I'm a bit surprised that the initial salary of a FO/SO in the usual low-cost carriers are not discussed. I've been looking at pilotjobsnetwork and trying to make sense of things but I am completely stumped. What would a newly-hired pilot be earning for his first 1-3 or 1-5 years in [insert airline here]?

Friends and family would be my first option for help and being able to give some sort of repayment timeline would be a great way to increase my chances of getting help. It would also help me approach them, hat in hand, with more confidence, or if I need to approach a bank, it would help me know what is a realistic repayment amount.

I've read a lot of threads here with numbers either from senior FOs up to senoir Captains looking for another home and discussing pay but not only are these threads sometimes confusing, they're also way, way later in the future for me. Any help in plain layman's terms would be much appreciated! Cheers!
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 06:59
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Originally Posted by Nurse2Pilot View Post
Since cost is one of the biggest barriers to entry and most if not all aspiring commercial pilots will take out a loan one way or another, I'm a bit surprised that the initial salary of a FO/SO in the usual low-cost carriers are not discussed. I've been looking at pilotjobsnetwork and trying to make sense of things but I am completely stumped. What would a newly-hired pilot be earning for his first 1-3 or 1-5 years in [insert airline here]?

Friends and family would be my first option for help and being able to give some sort of repayment timeline would be a great way to increase my chances of getting help. It would also help me approach them, hat in hand, with more confidence, or if I need to approach a bank, it would help me know what is a realistic repayment amount.

I've read a lot of threads here with numbers either from senior FOs up to senoir Captains looking for another home and discussing pay but not only are these threads sometimes confusing, they're also way, way later in the future for me. Any help in plain layman's terms would be much appreciated! Cheers!
Which is exactly why you do not take out a loan and work hard to pay modular all cash... It can be done for 40-50K euro’s. Serious debt of 100k+ with a 2300 Euro a month salary creates a huge, unecessary pressure on your shoulders but is sadly still promoted on this forum to young people. If you would earn 10k a month as a starter then it would be doable but it is sadly not the case.

Might take a bit longer to finish training and find a job this way but at least you have the peace of mind of zero debt. Debt = slavery.

If one needs the hand holding of an integrated airline scheme then the person is not cut out to be a pilot anyway. Unless you get into a free program la Aer Lingus of course...
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 08:20
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Originally Posted by emilio123 View Post
If one needs the hand holding of an integrated airline scheme then the person is not cut out to be a pilot anyway. Unless you get into a free program la Aer Lingus of course...
Im sorry, you cant say that integrated students need the holding hand of the academy. Its inevitabley going to be more straightforward completing all of your licences and training under one organisation as opposed to moving around place to place modular. Aptitude tests and skills are measured to ensure their students have the abilities to be a pilot in the first place which is not present with a modular route. Theres nothing wrong with having a bit of help be it modular or integrated, youre still getting to the flight deck.
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 09:12
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Originally Posted by emilio123 View Post
If one needs the hand holding of an integrated airline scheme then the person is not cut out to be a pilot anyway. Unless you get into a free program la Aer Lingus of course...
A bit harsh but i like it..
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 09:50
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Originally Posted by Nurse2Pilot View Post
Since cost is one of the biggest barriers to entry and most if not all aspiring commercial pilots will take out a loan one way or another, I'm a bit surprised that the initial salary of a FO/SO in the usual low-cost carriers are not discussed. I've been looking at pilotjobsnetwork and trying to make sense of things but I am completely stumped. What would a newly-hired pilot be earning for his first 1-3 or 1-5 years in [insert airline here]?

Friends and family would be my first option for help and being able to give some sort of repayment timeline would be a great way to increase my chances of getting help. It would also help me approach them, hat in hand, with more confidence, or if I need to approach a bank, it would help me know what is a realistic repayment amount.

I've read a lot of threads here with numbers either from senior FOs up to senoir Captains looking for another home and discussing pay but not only are these threads sometimes confusing, they're also way, way later in the future for me. Any help in plain layman's terms would be much appreciated! Cheers!
The ppjn numbers for ezy uk contract are accurate. You can tap it into an online salary calculator to get your take home, dependant on your circumstances.
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 11:07
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Originally Posted by emilio123 View Post
If one needs the hand holding of an integrated airline scheme then the person is not cut out to be a pilot anyway. Unless you get into a free program la Aer Lingus of course...
Haha, the truth hurts. I digress no further.

At Ryanair, there is a training contract until completion of Line Training, I think it pays you in the region of 2k/mth. After Line Training, you will be offered a contract that will differ depending on the country you live in; the permanent FO contract is circa 64,000/year gross including the 'bonus' payment if based in the UK from from what I can recall.
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 17:31
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If one needs the hand holding of an integrated airline scheme then the person is not cut out to be a pilot anyway. Unless you get into a free program la Aer Lingus of course...
Wow what a childish thing to say. If that's true then easyJet, Flybe, BA, Virgin and every other Arline that has ever run an integrated scheme must have gone out of their way to find people who really shouldn't be entrusted to fly a $72m jet carrying 180 people. Their selection criteria must weed out those who are suited to this level of responsibility, and who could not possibly pass their EASA's or CPL/ME/IR for that matter.

There is a rotten attitude on this part of PPRuNe towards the intergrated students that is incredibly myopic. It only serves to discredit every junior pilot stepping out of flight school by portraying them as over-privileged and naive. The truth of the matter is that the vast majority have worked hard to get in, work damed hard while at school and aim to come out as well-rounded and as well prepared for their future career as possible. Oh and believe me, they know full well the implications of having to barrow/ save the amount of money an integrated course costs.

Saying that Modular people are any better or any worse than Intergrated is as bigoted as saying the Captain you fly with who went to a Private school is more deserving of their position than the Captain who went to a Comprehensive. No, each is equally deserving, no matter what route they took to get there. The same applies to flight training.
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Old 27th Jul 2018, 21:24
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Baron, there is a point behind the statement, though I acknowledge your point - we gave up full time training because we felt that it attracted the wrong type of student (for our market at least). Someone else in another thread mentioned those who sat at the back of the class tapping on their ipads. That's pretty much what we found. Motivation is not the right word - let's say modular students tend to be hungrier.....
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Old 28th Jul 2018, 10:27
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Im in no position to say any one integrated student is any better or worse than any one modular student in regards to their ability to fly a shiny jet.

But I think the negativity towards integrated students comes from the fact that a percentage of them have had the privilege of Bank of Mummy & Daddy to oversee the financial burden.

In my opinion L3/FTE/Oxford are elitist clubs for which non-wealthy human beings are required to risk everything theyve got to gain entry.
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Old 28th Jul 2018, 11:20
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First couple of years of employment as a co pilot will be a struggle no matter what airline

Unless you have a healthy bank account that is

The real problem starts if you have taken a loan for the training and do not get employment soon after the training

Keep in mind you may be simply unemployable to an airline in their eyes and do not tick the boxes they are looking for

Pilot training is a huge risk and should not be done unless you have a realistic and solid plan B in case things go belly up
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Old 28th Jul 2018, 14:14
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I don't know what nurses make these days, or what overtime opportunities would be available to supplement basic income. Would it be possible for the OP to complete training without any debt so that the take home was a bit less of a worry?

I can't say anything directly about the salary on offer since I do not fly commercially. I, like the OP, am someone who is looking at the career with interest and weighing up the practicalities.

Many of these practicalities which, whilst not being directly financial in themselves, will have a bearing on a trainee's bank balance. Will an employer allow 5-6 weeks of unpaid leave in order to complete an APS MCC-JOC course with an organisation that has good airline connections? What is the notice period on the NHS (some companies might want an immediate start)? After all, if it's not possible to maintain continuous employment throughout the training process, the living costs may start to add up very quickly. If the decision is made to quit one's job or industry, is it possible to return to it easily?

I would say not to only look at take home pay once qualified but to also consider how to make the training path itself work out financially.

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Old 28th Jul 2018, 17:40
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The problem I have is that I once was one of those non-particularly-motivated integrated students, or at least the equivalent. Joined the RAF in the late 70s on a whim aged 20 after an unsuccessful career in furniture sales, no real interest in flying, Then seemed to scrape along until suddenly I find I'm doing something I really enjoy. I can't criticise.
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Old 28th Jul 2018, 21:50
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While being able to do the training modular and debt free might be ideal, it would also mean a rather lengthy training time. I would personally prefer a shorter training time and be on the market looking for jobs sooner rather than later.

I think I should've been a bit more specific in what I'm planning to do and what I'm looking for. Firstly, I am planning to do the training via the modular route. I work as a RGN for the NHS and while pay may not be that great, it's better than no job at all so I plan to hold on to this job until a LHS RHS offer comes along. This also means that in a worst-case scenario (fATPL with no offers), I can still repay the debt albeit slowly.

I'm looking for figures for starting pilots (FO or SO) assuming they got the job now (or recently) and what the pay progression would be like in the next 3-5 years. I'm hoping that under this timeframe, I'd have paid back all my loans or be a damn good way into it. I am aware that it's different depending on aircraft or airline or contract, however, concrete examples (Airline XX will pay you YYYY per month under ZZZ contract) would be much better than no example at all!

Thanks to the guys that have given direct answers, much appreciated!


Originally Posted by Thegreenmachine View Post
The ppjn numbers for ezy uk contract are accurate. You can tap it into an online salary calculator to get your take home, dependant on your circumstances.
Are you referring to the 43K SO salary? Thanks for that info! So two years on that then promotion to FO.


Originally Posted by MaverickPrime View Post
At Ryanair, there is a training contract until completion of Line Training, I think it pays you in the region of 2k/mth. After Line Training, you will be offered a contract that will differ depending on the country you live in; the permanent FO contract is circa 64,000/year gross including the 'bonus' payment if based in the UK from from what I can recall.
Ryanair page is a bit confusing; it states 43.5EUR up to 63.5EUR per block (hour?) but doesn't say how many block hours per month or year of if these hours are guaranteed. Also no info on how/when to upgrade from SO to FO. More info would be great!


Originally Posted by Negan View Post
First couple of years of employment as a co pilot will be a struggle no matter what airline

Pilot training is a huge risk and should not be done unless you have a realistic and solid plan B in case things go belly up
And I assume that being able to keep my current job is a good plan B?


Originally Posted by Chris the Robot View Post
I don't know what nurses make these days, or what overtime opportunities would be available to supplement basic income. Would it be possible for the OP to complete training without any debt so that the take home was a bit less of a worry?
Suffice to say, it's a pittance. I can still do the training debt free but I suspect it'll take me double or triple the amount of time required. I can take annual leave plus unpaid leave or sabbatical for the required training and spend most of the studying time while I am also working and the goal is to keep my job until the point when I am offered a left-hand right-hand seat. As a brand-new entry into commercial flying, I'm sure I'd require some more training (type rating at least!) so an immediate start is probably out of the question.

The take home pay is to help calculate debt repayment; the training path day-to-day would be covered by current employment salary.

Last edited by Nurse2Pilot; 29th Jul 2018 at 12:54. Reason: I meant the OTHER left!!
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Old 29th Jul 2018, 05:53
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Might I suggest to keep hopes realistic that you might wish to target starting in the RIGHT hand seat job first?

Ryanair I don't know the current rates of pay, but you would almost certainly start as a contractor, so no salary, just the payment per block hour. Assuming the rates on PPJN are correct:

Above 1500hrs in RYR = €83,5 per block
Above 500hrs in RYR = €78,5 per block
After line check = €63,5 per block
SO base after safety pilot released €43,5
Safety pilot release is after a min of 12 sectors, line training roughly 80 sectors. Hard to put a time on that because its dependent on a number of factors. Expect to do probably 750 hours a year or so (could be more or less at the minute, it fluctuates).

Easyjet as per PPJN according to Thegreenmachine.

Jet2 as per PPJN I belieive, as far as I know upgrade from SO to FO is at 1000 hours, then from FO to SFO at 2000 hours. Expect probably 500-700 hours a year.


Modular vs Integrated is the eternal debate. There are pros and cons to both as with everything else. I personally am a fan of modular, and having done it that way in a predominately integrated school (not any of the big ones), I can entirely agree with the opinion that modular students try harder / are more hungry. I was gobsmacked by the lack of interest and care most of the integrated students showed, albeit there were some very very good ones as well. Do also note that with planning, you can complete everything via a modular route in the same time as an integrated course, and potentially quicker if you really put your mind to it and get a bit lucky.
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Old 29th Jul 2018, 09:38
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integrated is more of a gamble I guess. It is what I did and everything worked out fantastic. However, not for everyone. You have to do consistently well throughout the course in order t get through to the airlines quickly. Keep in mind that when everything goes well in integrated and you end up with a reputable airline very quickly, you will earn back the additional expanses for integrated training rather quickly. Loss of income due to modular training is not often considered.

As a reference. I'll start around 4000 EUR monthly as a FO. Pre-tax. NET will be around 3000 EUR/month. Type rating paid by company. In my case I would not have been hired by this airline if I did any other flight school or modular because of airline requirements.

lots of pros and cons for both. I have considered all options and this integrated course was the best option at that moment. Not looking back with regrets.
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Old 29th Jul 2018, 13:00
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Originally Posted by OhNoCB View Post
Might I suggest to keep hopes realistic that you might wish to target starting in the RIGHT hand seat job first?
Might as well dream big, right? Haha! Good catch though, post edited!

Why do people sometimes refer to Ryanair as RYR and sometimes as FR? Can you clarify for me what a sector is? Are you guaranteed at least some amount of sectors or block hours per month?

For the modular v. integrated debate, I see both sides of the coin but I cannot afford the integrated route even if I could find 100K. I cannot afford the risk of finishing training and then hanging about 6 months or more without a job. Modular is the way for me.

Thanks for your response!


Originally Posted by aerodestination View Post
In my case I would not have been hired by this airline if I did any other flight school or modular because of airline requirements.
Which airline is that?
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Old 29th Jul 2018, 14:36
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RYR is the ICAO code and FR is the IATA code.

I believe some Ryanair contracts guarantee a minimum amount of block hours per month.

Ryanair pilot Ts&Cs are so varied and convoluted, every Ryanair pilot will invariably give you different figures. At Ryanair you will either be a contractor(on the decrease now because of unionisation) or a permanent employee of Ryanair. If based in the UK and on a permanent contract you are paid in Pounds. If you are on any of the other contracts you are paid in Euros, even if based in the UK. If you are a contractor you will get the same hourly rate as per ppjn, regardless of the country you are based in. If you are on a permanent contract you will be paid at the rate set for the country of your home base. On a permanent contract, FO or Captain, you will be paid; a basic salary, allowance, bonus(depends on your attendance), flight pay(depends on hours flown). If you Join Ryanair as a cadet you will go on to a training contract at completion of TR and stay on that until end of Line Training, afterwards you will either become a contractor or get a permanent contract paying the rate for the country you are based in. I'm sure this is all crystal clear haha! To sum it up and being conservative, you are probably looking at 3500/€4000 net as a FO and 6000/€7000 net as a Captain.

Right, Modular vs Integrated..... I've been flying since I was 14, now 27 and in the middle of my commercial training via the modular route. I've flown with some very experienced pilots over the years; all have told me beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have the aptitude to be a commercial pilot. I've been at various cadet scheme assessments over the years, done all sorts of aptitude tests, group exercises and interviews; failed everyone of them - the reasons they gave me varied from not motivated, failed the computer aptitude tests, haven't enough confidence/personality...... are the pilots that have flown with me for years or the airline assessors correct about my ability to be an airline pilot??? So when some complete monkey(not my words) gets into an airline on the back of their flight schools' reputation, it does make one wonder to put it mildly.

Here is a little story in conclusion. Years ago a chap hired a Cessna from the GA company beside my club. The Cessna developed an engine fire on startup, the chap got out of the aircraft and proceeded to blow into the exhaust like it was a birthday candle in attempt to extinguish the fire. My CFI who was watching the whole escapade had to go out and save the poor chap from disaster, chap is now a pilot for Big Airways..... airline recruitment processes still fit for purpose?
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Old 29th Jul 2018, 19:55
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Cheers for the explanation chaps!

Block time - so you get paid for how long the flight is supposed to take, not for how long the flight actually takes? So airport congestion or some other problem on the ground makes your day longer but pay is the same? I'm not a frequent flyer so no idea how often delays happen.

With OhNoCB's numbers and assuming a two-sector day and 10 days flying per month, safety pilot release after 6 days, line training after 4 months?

Pay - What influences RYR to offer a permanent contract or a contractor? MaverickPrime, how did you come up with 3500 net as FO? Not doubting you but I'd like to see the math so I can figure it out for myself in the future.

I'm starting to get the impression that if I completed my training and then cloned myself, there's no guarantee that my clone and I would get the same type of offer from RYR.....
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Old 29th Jul 2018, 22:14
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So some pay by block time, others by scheduled block time, and others by duty hours (plus lower block time rate)? How can you tell which airline does what?
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Old 30th Jul 2018, 09:07
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Either by talking to people that work there, asking on here or more often than not PPJN normally is pretty close.

In theory the normal model would be basic salary plus things like sector pay and duty pay. These can vary quite a lot with some companies going for high salary low sector pay, others for lower salary and higher sector pay (such as Ryanair employees, who are not to be confused with their many contractors).

If you end up contracting either directly or more likely via an agency, this is when you may often get the no salary, only paid by the hour type of deal, but this is less common, with Ryanair probably being the main airline using this model.

With regards to estimating times for line training etc, it just is very difficult to say. I think there are still some bases in Ryanair that operate 6 sector days, the majority do 4 sector days and some only do two sector days. Depending on how many line trainers they have at a certain base, you could end up doing 15 4 sector days in a month, maybe with a couple of 6 sector days as well, or you could do like 8 two sector days, obviously you can see how this drastically changes the time it takes to complete a fixed number of sectors.
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