Airlines and Aviation Companies, Remuneration and Career Growth

In the recent past, Indian civil aviation sector has grown manifold. Several new players have entered the industry and many more are about to enter the arena. Apart from the state-owned airline, a number of private companies have entered the arena, thereby providing more choices to the passenger, giving rise to more pilot jobs. Now, airline has become a common man’s vehicle and revolutionized the way a common Indian traveler used to travel. The airlines are adding more and more cities to their list of destinations covered throughout the country. More and more people are opting for traveling by air, because they save a lot of time in traveling, as compared to other means of transportation. This has led to expansion of the industry and aircraft and the need to employ more pilots to fly them. Every time an aircraft is purchased, it requires, for operational necessities, an average of 10 pilots to keep it flying.

At present there are 14 scheduled operators, 117 non scheduled operators in India, flying 402 aircraft in all. Apart from these, close to 500 aircraft are in order which will be delivered as the economy is continuing to grow.

Some of the airlines in India today that you may already be familiar with are:

  • Air India
  • Air India Regional
  • Air-India Express
  • Air Asia
  • Air Coasta
  • Blue Dart Aviation
  • Club One Air
  • Deccan360
  • GoAir Airlines
  • Indian Airlines
  • IndiGo Airline
  • Jagson Airline
  • Jet Airways
  • Jet Airways Konnect
  • Jet Lite
  • Lufthansa Cargo
  • MDLR Airlines
  • Paramount Airways
  • Quik Jet Cargo
  • SpiceJet Airlines


Pilot Career Growth and Remuneration

At an entry level right after graduation from Flight School, a fresh Commercial Pilot License holder can enter an aviation company as a pilot officer. If this position is for a light aircraft, and a single pilot operation, one can enter as a Pilot In Command. If it is a two pilot required operation (like most commercial operations are) one will enter as a First Officer.

As the experience level of the first officer goes up, with normal career progression, the position of ‘Captain’ is achieved. This may take between 3 to 5 years depending on the airline. The captain is the ultimate authority of the aircraft and its operations. The final responsibility of safe operations of each flight lies with the Captain of the flight.

There are many more options that a professional pilot can opt to do after reaching the level of Captain such as becoming an instructor pilot or taking more active roles within the organization and becoming part of the management as a management pilot.


Professional Pilots are one of the highest salary earners in India. A fresh pilot as a first officer earns a salary of around Rs 1.2 to 1.5 Lakhs per month. Salary moves up rapidly with year of experience. As a senior first officer with a few years of experience, once can earn up to 3 lakhs a month. Captains in airlines earn between 3 to 6 lakhs a month depending on their experience and seniority.

Pay scales may not always be lucrative in the government sector such as private aviation companies. For instance, pay for Indian Air force pilots selected through NDA exam is in the vicinity of around Rs.40 to 50 thousand per month. Normally pilots employed with the government such as the defense services are strongly bonded and career change to private sector is not always an easy option.

With lucrative pay scales offered to pilots in the aviation industry, and the glamorous life style it offers, becoming a pilot is certainly an excellent career choice today.