Salaries for senior captain, captain and first officer positions in the business aviation industry rose by 12% in 2023 compared to 2022, according to the NBAA’s latest compensation survey.

According to the survey, which was based on 455 NBAA member participants providing data for 3,442 flight department employees, the average captain also received long-term retention bonuses of around $27,000 a year.

“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.”

According to Broyhill, 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, with the only positions showing a decrease being 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%,” Broyhill added.

Airline pay is also helping to drive up pilot salaries across all of aviation, according to Broyhill. “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 explained.

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.

Image: NBAA

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