The commercial airline industry—a pillar of global transportation—found itself with record low revenue and passenger activity during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, its noteworthy recovery is worth analyzing further because it demonstrates how imperative the sector is to the world economy and it reveals rewarding career opportunities.
Since “global airline revenue for 2022 will reach $432 billion in the baseline recovery scenario, representing 65% of 2019’s revenue,” (Bain, 2022) airline pilots are still in high demand, according to John Bullock, VP of DuPage Aerospace. “It’s very competitive in that field right now, so, as a result, it pays very well. For any young person who’s looking for a career path, this is a great one to consider because there will always be high demand for pilots,” Bullock said.
The U.S. will lose almost half of its pilots to retirement over the next 15 years, yielding fewer flights and inflated airfare. Even though the Federal Aviation Administration increased the age of retirement from 60 to 65 in 2007, in hopes of alleviating this problem, it will not resolve the long-term pilot shortage in America (Forbes).
Mr. Bullock explained that during this shortage, pilots’ incomes are growing at abnormal rates. Delta Airlines started paying pilots $66,000 per year, but thereafter “upon promotion to Captain, Delta pilots earn a starting pay of $189,000. The top pay for a Delta Airlines Captain is approximately $205,000, but those flying a Boeing 777 can potentially earn $298,500 per year plus bonuses, or as much as $350,000 in one year” (iFlyCoast, 2022). Mr. Bullock also noted that he knows of motivated, overtime-working pilots who earn between $400-500K a year.
Kim Pickering, a flight attendant at American Airlines, spoke on the benefits of working in the industry and why she decided to pursue her career path. After interviewing for an airline when she was in college, Pickering was “hooked.” She explained, “I love my job and the flexibility that it has given me. I have been blessed to travel around the world and to meet so many wonderful people.”
In short, the airline industry poses a significant intersection between a recovering business model and prosperous career opportunities. The wide range of jobs within the industry, particularly pilots, will see more demand as the sector continues to recuperate its losses.