By DebbieH 12 Nov 2018 6 min read

What’s the average salary for a career in the aviation industry?


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The Office of National Statistics has released figures showing that those who work in the aviation industry (excluding CEO’s, corporate management and airline owners) earn an average of £53,086 per year.

Their yearly survey showed that the average salary for men and women combined in the UK (across all jobs) was £29,009, which includes those in both full-time and part work. For those in full time work the average salary is £35,423 and £12,083 for those in part-time. Those working in the aviation industry, therefore, are taking home nearly £18k more per year than their counterparts in other industries.



How much can you earn with a career in the aviation industry?

Pilots’ and flight engineers’ wages were amongst the highest when you combine male and female salaries, taking home an average of £86,177 per year. This was higher than air traffic controllers, who saw an average gross salary of £85,714. However, when you separate this into men and women’s earnings, air traffic controllers’ salaries can surpass those of pilots, with the average salary for men being reported at £90,295 – nearly three times the UK average salary for men.

Aircraft maintenance workers also take home an average annual salary higher than the UK national average, with men and women earning £38,239 per year.

Air transport operatives sat slightly behind the UK average, earning just over £28k per year in full-time work. Air transport assistants earned an average wage of £26,561 full-time and £18,275 part time. Women earn significantly less than their male counterparts for both full-time and part-time, with women taking home £24,506 full-time and £16,738 per year part time. Men, on the other hand, saw annual average salaries of £29,879 full-time and their part-time salaries were much higher, sitting at £23,233, which is almost as much as their full-time colleagues.



Part-time salaries have decreased, but full-time salaries are on the rise

Male and female air transport assistants saw a 6.1% increase in their wages for full-time work, and air transport operatives a 1.1% increase.

Air traffic controllers’ wages have also gone, earning 9.1% more than in the previous year. The only salary to report a negative trend full-time was that of pilots and flight engineers, who earned 1.3% less year on year.

Part-time air transport assistants experienced the biggest slash to their wages year on year. Women working as a part-time air transport assistant earned 16.1% less year on year and their male counterparts 14.1% less.

However in the full picture of the economy this is still very healthy. The ONS reported that UK workers are earning on average 2.5% more year on year. This is where it were sitting just before the 2008 financial crash, which saw a 300,000 people made redundant and an average salary decrease of -2.5% across the board, so good news for those job-hunting!



Women in the aviation industry earn less than their male counterparts

The ONS estimated that across all roles surveyed, there was an average of 9.3% difference between men’s salaries and women’s salaries, with men earning this amount more than women per hour.

Given that the ONS did not report women’s full time salaries for the majority of the aviation industry, it’s difficult to say what the pay gap is between men and women across the range of jobs. For air travel assistants, however, the ONS reported that there is an average 16% wage gap between men and women working full-time, which almost double that of the national average.

You can see the full breakdown of male and female salaries full-time for the aviation industry below:


  Male Full Time Female Full Time Male and Female Full Time
Aircraft Pilots and Flight Engineers £88,633 No figure reported £86,177
Air Traffic Controllers £90,295 No figure reported £85,714
Aircraft Maintenance £38,660 No figure reported £38,239
Air Transport Operatives £28,915 No figure reported £28,742
Air Travel Assistants £29,879 £24,506 £26,561
UK Average £39,003 £29,891 £35,423