International air travel is one of the most popular forms of transportation in the world today, and with that popularity comes a lot of competition — especially when it comes to airline pilot jobs. The job requirements for an international flight attendant can be pretty high, too, as many airlines look to fill their planes with attractive cabin staff who will make passengers happy.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of countries where you’ll find highly paid airline pilots. In this article we’ve listed some of those countries so you can see what they’re like from inside. Here are ten places where pilots walk away with more money than they could earn anywhere else:
Qatar, The average annual salary for commercial airline pilots working in Qatar is $3 million, which is about four times higher than the U.S., according to Airfinance magazine.
Other estimates put the actual figure at around $3.5 million per year. This may seem like a huge amount of cash, but keep in mind that these pilots fly Boeing 777s or Airbus A380s instead of smaller aircraft. These jets have much larger cabins, meaning the paychecks don’t reflect how hard flying them is. Most Qatari pilots start out on flights lasting just two hours before moving up to longer routes.
In addition to being very well-paid, the people of Qatar also rank fairly low among other Middle Eastern populations when it comes to corruption. According to Transparency International, only 7 percent of Qatari citizens think bribery exists within society, while 25 percent of Omanis feel the same way.
These factors all combine to create great conditions for the aviation industry in Qatar. Not surprisingly, aerospace manufacturing has become its biggest employer, providing hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the country.
The United Arab Emirates (or “Emirates”) features another extremely lucrative job market specifically for pilots. The region has made major investments into tourism over recent years, creating even more demand for pilots to help get tourists safely to destinations.
With such large numbers of visitors coming through Dubai each day, the need for experienced aviators is strong indeed. Flight crews must undergo rigorous training courses in order to pass FAA exams, and then they receive specialized licenses that allow them to work internationally.
As mentioned earlier, the pay isn’t necessarily reflective of the size of the plane they operate, but the skills required mean that the median salary amounts to roughly $500,000 annually.
Another perk for pilots employed by the government-owned carrier Etihad Airways? Free housing provided during long layovers between flights.
This might not sound like much compared to potential earnings elsewhere in the world, but if you factor in the cost of living expenses and taxes, it actually adds up rather nicely. For example, a single person looking to rent somewhere to live in New York City would end up paying approximately $2080 every month based solely off his income. Add in food costs, entertainment, insurance, etc. and things really add up quickly. If he moved to Abu Dhabi to take advantage of the free apartment, he’d spend less than half of what he does now ($1260) while still making nearly twice as much overall.
Netherlands, It’s easy to assume that all Dutch pilots come from wealthy families, but this isn’t the case — almost none do. Instead, the majority of Dutch pilots started out in the military, serving as fighter jet pilots or test engineers.
After leaving active duty, many choose to stay involved with the aviation community by becoming instructors or consultants. Others decide to go back to school themselves to further their education and obtain certification.
When they land civilian positions, however, they often exceed expectations due to the fact that they bring valuable experience and expertise along with them. Many top-tier Dutch pilots make six figures because of both their impressive resumes and the fact that they know exactly what makes their company successful.
According to PilotLink, Dutch pilots enjoy excellent benefits packages including health care, retirement plans, unemployment compensation, sick leave, and vacation time. They also tend to use public transit whenever possible, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving money. All pilots should plan accordingly.
If you want to be a French pilot, your best bet is probably going to involve taking some kind of language course first. Even though English is widely spoken across Europe, many European companies prefer hiring candidates fluent enough to communicate clearly without interpreters. You won’t get hired unless you speak good French, so prepare yourself!
Once you hit the ground running, expect to earn roughly $800,000 per year on average. Unlike many countries, pilots’ unions exist here and negotiate contracts with employers. However, despite the existence of these organizations, many pilots still struggle financially after retiring.
It’s important to note, too, that the number of pilots worldwide continues to decline steadily. There were 13,300 fewer fulltime professional pilots in 2016 than there were in 2010. So if you happen to fall under the category of recently retired or soon-to-retire, you may want to consider exploring other career options sooner rather than later.
Piloting used to be considered a dangerous profession, but thanks to ongoing improvements in technology, safety levels have improved dramatically. Today, the main danger associated with flying tends to come from terrorism, weather events, and falling debris.
Irish pilots generally face plenty of challenges aside from these three types of hazards, but thankfully they usually manage to avoid any significant problems. Still, some aspects of life are tougher than others. While the typical starting wage for a new pilot is about $350,000, senior crew members can pull down upwards of $900,000 per year.
Like in many parts of the world, private medical insurance coverage is typically part of the package offered to newly licensed pilots. Longer service with the airline means better chances at getting promoted, and the ability to get additional responsibilities also helps improve future earning power. Retirement planning services are available to assist pilots once they reach age 65.
As far as Canadian pilots go, it pays to stick around until retirement. On average, a captain earns about $700,000 per year upon completion of their contract, and a first officer pulls in about $400,000 annually. Both of these figures represent increases over the previous ones earned during their initial employment. Like many careers, promotions play a big role in determining how well pilots fare financially. Those who move up tend to enjoy greater rewards from their efforts.
Medical insurance and pension contributions are standard practice for Canadian pilots, and the government provides generous subsidies for qualified employees who elect to purchase either home or car ownership. Employees can also deduct certain business expenses from their taxable incomes.
Many Swiss residents are shocked to learn that the average yearly salary for a commercial airplane pilot is significantly lower than what’s expected in other developed nations. At $340,000 per year, Switzerland ranks 31st globally in terms of highest wages for this type of position. But there’s a reason why pilots flock to Switzerland in droves: the culture itself encourages personal responsibility and self-sufficiency. Because of this, most Swiss pilots are entrepreneurs who own small businesses or run their own charter operations.
Healthcare is mostly provided for by insurers, and retirement savings accounts aren’t common. However, the government offers limited assistance to retirees who are disabled and/or nearing retirement.
Germany, Those who aspire to join the German aviation sector shouldn’t let geography deter them. Despite having one of the smallest national economies in the world, Germany remains one of the largest exporters of goods in the EU. Aircraft manufacturers alone accounted for billions of euros worth of exports in 2014. And since the vast majority of German workers commute to cities located outside of their native regions, the transport sector plays a key role in the economy in general. Airlines employ thousands of Germans nationwide, and pilots hold a prominent place among this group.
German pilots are compensated generously for their efforts. Average annual wages hover around $600,000, placing Germany 27th in terms of highest aviation salaries. Private pensions are rare, but the government covers basic healthcare costs for retired civil servants.
9. United Kingdom
British taxpayers foot the bill for a substantial portion of state spending, which explains why the UK spends so much on social programs like National Health Service (NHS). The British government subsidizes healthcare, education, defense, infrastructure development, and numerous other initiatives intended to strengthen the nation’s economic growth and prosperity. Since pilots are responsible for keeping everything functioning smoothly aboard airplanes, they benefit greatly from the government’s investment in various areas of human capital.
UK pilots earn slightly above average salaries at £290,000 per year. Pension funds are relatively uncommon, but the government supplements retiree welfare with modest payments. Taxpayers can save on expenses related to commuting by using local buses or trains. Public transportation is heavily subsidized, allowing pilots to reduce their carbon footprints considerably.
Flying is growing increasingly popular in China, and Chinese pilots are helping facilitate this trend. Aviation enthusiasts can board planes bound for scenic tours, sightseeing excursions, or leisure trips to nearby islands.
Some travelers opt to visit famous landmarks overseas while others simply prefer relaxing in air conditioned comfort. Regardless of your reasons, there are few better ways to explore a foreign destination than via helicopter tour.