Trans States Airlines has significantly raised the stakes for pilot compensation by offering a $44,000 hiring bonus to qualified new-hire first officers.
The Jan. 12 announcement brings total first-year compensation for new-hire first officers to approximately $86,000. Pilots with airline experience, qualified to fly as a first officer or as a captain, “can expect a minimum year one compensation package of up to $90,000,” the news release noted.
The airline also provides a seniority reservation program that “greatly reduces the likelihood of sitting reserve as a first officer,” and an express hire program that speeds qualified Part 121 pilots through the interview process.
The Bridgeton, Missouri-based airline serves 3.5 million passengers annually on more than 230 daily flights to 70 North American cities via routes with American Eagle and United Express.
“We are happy to see the compensation increasing and becoming more suitable for the knowledge, skill, and personal competence that is required for this profession,” said Ken Byrnes, the flight department chair for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach, Florida, campus. “Becoming a professional pilot requires a significant amount of investment of both money and time. In addition to completing rigorous training programs, professional pilots must adopt and internalize a personal commitment to safety and professionalism.”
Byrnes and other educators previously noted that salary increases in the aviation field are driving more college freshmen toward professional aviation careers as pilots, mechanics, and air traffic control personnel.
The average starting salary for commercial pilots at regional carriers had already doubled in the past two years—from $30,000 to $60,000.