Sept. 5, 2023
The association’s latest Compensation Survey shows increases in pay for pilots from 2022 to 2023, with salaries up roughly 12% among senior captain, captain and first officer positions in the business aviation industry.
“That’s pretty huge,” said Dr. Christopher Broyhill, CAM, an aviation compensation expert and NBAA Business Aviation Management Committee member who collaborates the survey. “And 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.”
In addition, Broyhill noted, the survey indicated that the average captain received long-term retention bonuses of around $27,000 a year.
The recently released 2023 NBAA Compensation Survey was based on 455 NBAA member participants providing data for 3,442 flight department employees. NBAA partnered with BDO USA P.A. for the fifth year to conduct the survey.
Broyhill said that this year’s survey has much greater detail than previous versions.
“For the first time, the NBAA survey has got a whole section on retention compensation that actually has numbers in there about not only who’s being awarded what, but how many, what’s the dollar amount associated with it? That’s huge.”
Overall, the survey found that business aviation positions increased by 7.22% from 2022 to 2023. “So, it’s coming back up again,” Broyhill said. “I think we did have a COVID lull.”
Broyhill said the only positions that were down were aviation managers who didn’t fly and senior flight attendants. “If you take those two positions out, then I’m sure that the overall average increase would have been much higher than 7.22%,” he said.
“We’re on an upward trend in general,” Broyhill added. “We’re on an upward trend compensation-wise. When you’ve got two positions that are negative, and still the overall average trend is up 7%, that’s a big deal.”
He also noted that airline pay was helping to drive up pilot salaries across all of 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,” Broyhill said.
Jo Damato, CAM, NBAA senior vice president, education, training and workforce development, noted that the 455 NBAA survey participants marked a significant increase from last year’s survey, which included 382 respondents.
“We are thrilled that we had an increase in survey participants this year,” she said. “This was especially helpful as we wanted to start measuring a few new things related to retention strategies. 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.”
The 2023 NBAA Compensation Survey is available to NBAA members. Those that participated in the survey receive the results free of charge; non-participating members can purchase access to the interactive web resource for $1,000. Learn more about the NBAA Compensation Survey.