NBAA's latest Compensation Survey underscored the anecdotes of the upswing in business aviation pilot compensation.
NBAA's latest compensation survey underscored the anecdotes of the upswing in business aviation pilot compensation.

Survey Finds Leap in Pilot Salaries

One expert called the 12 percent jump “pretty huge.”

Business aviation pilot salaries climbed by about 12 percent from 2022 to 2023, according to the results of the National Business Aviation Association’s latest compensation survey.

Aviation compensation expert Christopher Broyhill called the jump “pretty huge” and added, “That shows something we were all wondering about. We’re hearing a lot of anecdotal stuff about pay raises out there and people getting more money for these positions, but that pretty much anchors it, shows that what we’re hearing is true.”

This year’s survey included an entire section on retention compensation. According to the NBAA, the results showed that the average captain received long-term retention bonuses of $27,000 a year.

Further, the survey found a 7.22 percent increase in salaries for business aviation positions overall over the past year. Aviation managers and senior flight attendants were the only positions seeing decreases. “If you take those two positions out, then I’m sure that the overall average increase would have been much higher than 7.22 percent,” said Broyhill, an NBAA Business Aviation Management Committee member who collaborates on the survey. “We’re on an upward trend in general.”

Broyhill believes that airline pay is helping to push up salaries across aviation. “We’re seeing the results of airline pressure on wages in our industry because people are having to pay pilots more to keep them from leaving and going to the airlines or going to other operators who lose people to the airlines,” he said.

Survey results encompassed responses from 455 NBAA members who provided data on 3,442 flight department employees. Responses this year reflected a jump from the 382 participants in the 2022 survey.

“This was especially helpful as we wanted to start measuring a few new things related to retention strategies,” said Jo Damato, NBAA senior vice president of education, training, and workforce development. “Everyone in aviation is focused on not only attracting new talent but also retaining the professionals already in our industry. These insights and more can help employers learn how to stay competitive so they can avoid the high expenses associated with replacing vacated positions.”