By DebbieH 06 Dec 2019 7 min read

How much can you earn working in the aviation industry?


Air Traffic Controllers are still amongst the highest paid employees in the UK the latest salary review has shown, taking home an average yearly salary of £94,31 (full-time); an increase from 2018’s average salary of £85,714.

This is well above the UK average salary of £36,611 (all roles across the UK based on full-time work) and puts Air Traffic Controllers in the Top 5 best paid jobs in the United Kingdom.

The second highest paying role within aviation is Aircraft Pilots and Flight Engineers, taking home an annual average full-time salary of £78,570. While this is slightly lower than the figure recorded in 2018, that does not necessarily mean that wages are decreasing, simply that the sample size for the study was smaller, a theory supported by the fact that aviation salaries, and UK salaries as a whole, have risen an average of 3.6% year on year.

One of the reasons that salaries for these roles might be slightly higher than other roles in aviation, such as air transport operatives (who earn an average full-time salary of £25,969 per year) and Air Travel Assistants (who earn £22,260) is the level of education required for them. Typically, an air traffic controller, pilot or flight engineer requires an aviation degree (and different countries have different accreditation regulations). However, you do not necessarily need a degree to begin a career in the aviation industry, related courses in aviation or parallel courses in engineering are often widely recognised and helpful, dependent on your field of interest. 

Those working in aircraft maintenance saw their pay stay roughly the same from 2018 to 2019, with full-time salaries going from an average of £38,660 to £38,233.


What’s the gender pay gap in the aviation industry?

Given that the Office of National Statistics did not release the male/female full-time wage split for the majority of aviation roles, it’s difficult to say where the field as a whole sits in terms of the gender pay gap.

However, what this year’s figures showed was that for air travel assistants, the pay gap has narrowed considerably. In 2018, the gender pay gap between male and female travel assistants was 16%, which was more than double the national average. 

This year, wages seem to be much closer between men and women, with women earning an average of 10% less than men (£10.45 per hour full-time compared to £11.73 per hour). This means that women take home an average annual salary of £22,269 versus a male employee’s £24,997. 

Women make up 60% of the workforce in air travel assistant roles, and men 40% when it comes to full-time work as air travel assistants, and 67% of the workforce when it comes to part-time. With part-time work the salary gap is slightly higher, with women taking home £9.87 per hour vs. £12.37.

What’s important to recognise however is that this figure is an average across all roles, and does not necessarily account for working hour difference or overtime pay, so it is not a measure of the difference in pay between men and women doing the same job.

In general however, the gender pay gap looks as though it is moving in the right direction, and for employees under the age of 40 working full-time the gap is close to zero. 

Take a look at how the above compared to 2018 here.