Futureualpilot From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2591 posts, RR: 8 Posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 2674 times:
This post is sort of a spinoff of the salary post earlier....anyway, I read one that said starting pay for some regionals can be around $20,000? Is this true? That doesnt seem like a whole lot when you think about it. Is there a pay chart like the link provided for regionals?
M717 From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 608 posts, RR: 5 Reply 2, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 2582 times:
"If I wanted to be a pilot, the last thing I would be is a pilot for a regional."
Unfortunately, if you want to be an airline pilot in the US, you have little choice in the matter these days. Unless you are coming from the military, and can go straight to one of the better companies hiring today, such as jetBlue, AirTran or ATA (Southwest will resume interviewing early next year), then your options are limited to either the regionals, Part 135 freight (which pays no better than the regionals, and in most cases, somewhat less) or corporate/fractional type flying, where there can be night and day differences between the good operators and those that are not so good. Landing a position with one of the top corporate flight departments is even tougher than getting one of the better airline jobs. Right now, in the corporate world, the fractional operators present the best opportunities for employment, but you might be surprised at the pay and benefits there, as well.
While it's true the starting salaries at most regionals leave much to be desired, there have been some strides made in recent years with regards to pay and work rules. Take Comair, for example. Their senior pilots are making in excess of $100k/yr with company funded retirement, etc. While it's not what the majors of yesterday paid, it certainly is better than the pay and benefits at McDonalds.
Also, unless you are coming from the military, to get hired at the majors (when they hire again many years from now), or the top level LCCs that are currently hiring, the competition is very keen, with most requiring a minimum of 1000 hrs of turbine PIC time and previous Part 121 experience. Virtually all of the non-military pilots currently being hired into these positions are Captains at the regionals.
So, if you want to be a pilot and the last thing you would do is be a pilot for the regionals, then your options would be very limited. Start networking for that decent corporate job while trying to get enough experience and qualifications to be competitive. Or join the military and get into their flight program.
Or pick a different career, since there really is no change on the horizon. There has never been a shortage of pilots willing to accept these positions at the starting salaries that are being offered. And until that changes, then nothing will change.
SWAbubba From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 154 posts, RR: 1 Reply 3, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2525 times:
Starting pay at some of the better paying regionals is around $20K/yr. Many pay much less.
When I left the military after 9/11 I was hired by two regional airlines. I decided not to take either job as it would have meant taking nearly a 70% pay cut.
While the top end of the Comair pay scale has become pretty respectable, it still takes 18 years to get there. The majority of their pilots will leave for better paying positions elsewhere long before they get to 18 years.
M717 From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 608 posts, RR: 5 Reply 4, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 2460 times:
"The majority of their pilots will leave for better paying positions elsewhere long before they get to 18 years."
Part of the problem is there are very few "better paying positions elsewhere". Who is hiring right now besides a few of the LCC and the regionals? The Comair pilots current lawsuit against ALPA for failing to exercise their required Duty of Fair Representation is a sure sign that many Comair pilots DO intend to stay there, and view their position as a career position and not just a temporary stop.
Once pilots accept that the majority of the available jobs are at the regionals, and will continue to be at the regionals, then they may accept the fact that for an ever increasing majority, the regionals will be their career, since there is no place left to step up to. Once they accept this, then they can try and improve the contracts at the regionals. As long as they continue to view it as a "stepping stone", there is no incentive to do so.
Reality will soon set in that for most pilots electing to go the airline route, the regional companies are your best bet at a career position. There simply aren't enough spots at the "better paying" companies for everyone.
You had the luxury of having a military background which provides opportunities for the "better paying positions" that civilian trained pilots without significant turbine PIC experience simply do not have. It's easy for you to say you refuse to accept it. Most pilots aren't so fortunate.
SWAbubba From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 154 posts, RR: 1 Reply 5, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 2424 times:
It is easy to say I refuse to accept it because I had the skills to get a job with significantly better pay outside of aviation. I am not one of the people who will accept $20K/yr just so I can stay current, although there seems to be an unlimited supply of those who will. Everyone has a limit of just how little pay they will accept (or how much they will pay) to keep flying. $20K was below my limit.
I wouldn't assume that the RJDC represents the majority of Comair pilots. Certainly many of the senior people at any regional intend to stay there, but the majority are still looking to get enough turbine PIC to move on to a better position eventually.
The current hiring environment is the worst in history. Eventually it will get better. The regionals are a career option, but as soon as the economy picks up again (no guesses on when that will be...) the majors and the LCC's will expand. When they do many regional pilots will bail for the better money and lifestyle.
Southwest alone will hire in the neighborhood of 1200 pilots over the next three years. Exactly half of the folks in my new-hire class were civilian-only background and most of those were from the regional airlines.
XFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4106 posts, RR: 38 Reply 7, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 2343 times:
So one of my buddies told me the per hour rate with a 75 hour guarantee per month for the airline that is my top choice.
Yeah... so I'd be making under 19,000 a year. Sheesh. Oh well... thats just first year. I'm not in this for the money, but I would like to be compensated for my skill and dedication in the long run. Even at this company where I've been hired at for flying the Piaggio Avanti (starting in Oct. if i dont get a call from the airline that I want to go to), I'd be making shy of 23,000 a year.
I've paid my dues as a flight instructor making around 12,000 a year for the past two years (thank goodness while going to college and able to live at home with understanding parents when im not in town at school), now time to pay my dues as a regional pilot.
Positive rate From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 2143 posts, RR: 1 Reply 8, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2327 times:
It seems you guys in the US have it better in one way and worse in the other. It's easy for you guys to get into a regional but the pay sucks. Over here in Australia it's very difficult to get into a regional- minimum requirements are 2000 hours TT and 500 hours multi command time. A Saab 340 captain over here makes around $AU 60,000 per year, CRJ captain around $AU-80-90,000 per year and Metro 23 captain a bit less. I'd rather less pay but easier to get in.
Positive rate From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 2143 posts, RR: 1 Reply 11, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2211 times:
Yeah thats quite true, since 1500 TT is required for an ATP, the only exceptions you may find are the Mesa Airlines pilots hired out of the Mesa Airlines Pilot Development schools.
Has that always been the case? I was under the impression that US regional pilots were considered on par with taxi drivers and the requirements were quite low. What about 5-10 years ago, was it any easier? esp. in regards to the TT requirement.
SWAbubba From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 154 posts, RR: 1 Reply 12, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2160 times:
The ATP requirement only matters for companies who are hiring off-the-street captains. I don't believe any regionals currently fit that description.
Typically the magic numbers to get hired at a regional in the US were 1000 TT and 200ME. During the hiring boom of 99-01 some regionals dropped well below those numbers and were hiring copilots with only 500 TT.
Of course now there are still plenty of 5000+ hr pilots looking for jobs, so the competitive requirements have gone up substantially.