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Career Prospects: Airlines

Airline jobs can split one of three ways. (PAX, CARGO or CORPORATE) Each with their own set of pros and accompanying cons. Which we’ll briefly discuss today for those of you that might interested.

Passenger (PAX) carriers are what the general population expect when you say you’re a pilot. Its becoming a popular and affordable means of travel as the world gets smaller. Which means a growing demand for crew. Benefits change depending on the airline. 

Regional operators usually based you at home, where as you should expect relocation with the major airlines. Once you get into one of the majors you’re pretty much set for life. You'll need patience and persistence to work your way through the hierarchy (which takes MANY years).

CARGO - remember that amazon order you purchased last night from the other side of the world? It is making its way to the cargo terminal, where the crew is getting ready for a long haul flight through the middle of the night.

These pilots are nocturnal creatures. Flying 10 plus hour legs at a time stopping at a hotel in some capital city, to do it all again the following night. 

An often commented positive is that ‘cargo doesn’t complain.’ I trust there’s no need to elaborate any further. We’ve all seen a Susan. Another plus is that because these pilots fly longer legs, they tend to reach their legal limits (1000 hours/ year) fairly quick. For the layman, that means they get more time off. More off time is great because you’re going to need the rest!

CORPORATE - the least conventional of the three. It could be in a category of its own. These tend to be unscheduled or, on demand airlines for the rich and famous. Although you’ll be at the beck and call, it offers more time at your destinations as opposed to the quick turn arounds on the passenger airlines.

Most of the time a lucky pilot is recommended to a mega wealthy company or individual to fly their private jet (epic chauffeuring). Here the who you know is as important as the what you know.

Give your Dream wings!

An in-depth look into the aviation industry from a pilot's perspective.
First-hand advice on what to expect and how to tackle the challenges you will face.

Becoming a Pilot

Rhett Shillaw