How Much Do Pilots Make in Canada? – Salary Guide!

If you’ve ever looked up at the sky and felt a sense of wonder, dreaming of what it would be like to soar through the clouds, then becoming a pilot might be the perfect career path for you. Not only is it a thrilling and adventurous job, but it also comes with its fair share of earning potential. After all, flying an aircraft requires skill, precision, and a significant level of commitment. But just how much do pilots make in Canada? And is it worth pursuing this profession despite the potential stresses that come with it? In this article, we’ll delve into the world of Canadian pilots’ salaries and help you gain a clearer understanding of the financial rewards and demands associated with this exciting occupation. Plus, we’ll investigate whether there’s an optimal age to embark on a career as a pilot. So, if you’ve ever wondered about the earning potential and challenges of being a pilot in Canada, this salary guide is here to provide you with the answers you seek.

Overview of Pilot Salaries in Canada

The landscape of pilot salaries in Canada is characterized by significant regional variations, with pilots earning vastly different compensation levels depending on their geographic location. According to the first source, pilots in Manitoba enjoy the highest average salary at $89,310, followed closely by their counterparts in New Brunswick at $88,920. Meanwhile, pilots in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta earn average salaries of $85,125, $82,500, and $81,807, respectively.

Regional Variations

These regional differences in pilot salaries can be attributed to a variety of factors, including the cost of living, the demand for air travel, and the concentration of aviation industry players within each province. The first source notes that the data on pilot salaries is based on 50 to 674 reported salaries, depending on the province, underscoring the importance of considering regional nuances when analyzing pilot compensation in Canada.

Industry Averages

While the first source provides detailed insights into regional pilot salary trends, the second source indicates that the Government of Canada collects data on prevailing wages for various occupations, including “airplane pilot”. However, this source does not offer specific regional or industry-wide averages, leaving a gap in the comprehensive understanding of pilot salaries across the country.

regional variations in pilot pay

Factors Affecting Pilot Pay

When it comes to pilot salaries in Canada, several key factors come into play. The third source delves into the primary determinants of pilot compensation, highlighting the significant impact of aircraft type and years of experience.

Aircraft Type

Pilots who fly larger, more sophisticated aircraft tend to earn higher salaries than those operating smaller, less complex planes. For example, corporate aviation pilots flying larger jets can earn over $130,000 per year, while entry-level pilots in small commuter or charter operations may start around $30,000 annually. The type of aircraft a pilot is qualified to operate is a crucial factor in how aircraft type affects pilot pay in the Canadian aviation industry.

Years of Experience

In addition to the aircraft flown, a pilot’s years of experience also play a significant role in determining their wages. Pilots with more seniority and a proven track record tend to command higher salaries, as their extensive knowledge and skills are highly valued by employers. Pilots with more experience in the industry are often able to secure higher-paying positions, while those just starting out may have to accept lower entry-level salaries. The impact of experience on pilot wages is a key consideration for those factors that influence pilot salaries in Canada.

Overall, the variables that determine pilot compensation in Canada are multifaceted, with both the aircraft type and the pilot’s years of experience playing crucial roles in shaping their earning potential within the industry.

Career Progression and Pilot Pay

The path to becoming a pilot in Canada is often a journey of steady career progression, with each step bringing changes to an individual’s compensation. Many pilots begin their careers as

Flight instructors or flying small, single-engine aircraft , earning around $20 to $35 per hour. As they gain valuable experience, they may transition into first officer roles at small commuter or charter airlines, where salaries typically range around $30,000 per year. As these pilots continue to advance, they may ultimately attain captain positions at these smaller regional operators , with salaries climbing to $55,000 to $65,000 annually. The corporate aviation sector offers another avenue for career growth, where first officer salaries are comparable to the commuter and charter industry, but

captains of larger corporate jets can earn over $130,000 per year

career progression pilot pay

This detailed progression highlights the significant impact that career stage and role can have on a pilot’s earnings in Canada. Understanding the typical career path for pilots in Canada and how pilot salaries change with career progression is crucial for those considering this profession, as it underscores the importance of gaining the necessary experience and qualifications to advance to higher-paying positions.

Regional Airline Pilot Salaries

According to the third source, the pay structures of regional airlines in Canada provide insight into the compensation levels for pilots at regional airlines. Pilots starting out as first officers at regional airlines typically earn just over $30,000 per year, with the potential to earn up to $40,000 depending on the specific regional carrier. As these pilots progress to captain positions, their salaries can range from $65,000 to $100,000, again depending on factors such as the aircraft type they fly and their years of service.

The source highlights that some regional airlines may credit pilots’ prior experience when transitioning from first officer to captain, allowing them to skip some steps on the pay scale. However, many regional airlines do not offer this opportunity, meaning pilots must work their way up the pay ladder incrementally, even if they have previous flying experience.

Pilot Role Salary Range
Regional Airline First Officer $40,000 – $70,000
Regional Airline Captain $100,000 – $150,000

The pay scales for first officers and captains at Canadian regional carriers illustrate the potential earnings for pilots at this level of the aviation industry. While the salaries may not reach the heights of major airlines, the opportunity for career growth and advancement within regional operators can make them an attractive option for many aspiring pilots.

regional airline pilot salaries

Major Airline Pilot Salaries

When it comes to pilot salaries in Canada, the major airlines like Air Canada and WestJet stand out as offering some of the most lucrative compensation packages. According to industry insights, salaries for pilots at these major Canadian carriers can vary significantly, depending on the specific role and level of experience.

First Officer Pay Scale

Pilots starting out as first officers at major Canadian airlines can expect to earn salaries in the range of $60,000 to $90,000 per year. This pay scale typically aligns with the industry’s seniority-based promotion system, where newly hired pilots start at the lower end of the pay range and gradually increase their earnings as they gain experience and progress to more senior roles.

Captain Pay Scale

For pilots who have worked their way up to captain positions at major Canadian airlines, the potential annual earnings are considerably higher, often ranging from $100,000 to $250,000. However, it’s important to note that the upper end of this pay scale can be challenging to achieve, as it typically requires significant seniority, experience, and the operation of more sophisticated aircraft. Additionally, the specific pay scale for captains can vary across different major airline carriers in Canada.

It’s worth emphasizing that the salaries for pilots at major airlines in Canada, whether as first officers or captains, can be influenced by a variety of factors, including the type of aircraft flown, the pilot’s years of experience, and the overall financial performance of the airline. As such, the pay ranges provided here should be considered as general guidelines, with the actual compensation packages potentially differing based on individual circumstances.

major airline pilot salaries

How Much Do Pilots Make in Canada?

When it comes to the earnings of pilots in Canada, the landscape varies significantly across different roles and experience levels. The third source provides a comprehensive overview of the pilot pay structure, shedding light on the remuneration for various positions within the industry.

Flight Instructors and Entry-Level Roles

For those just starting their aviation careers, such as flight instructors or pilots flying small, single-engine aircraft, the typical hourly rate can range from $20 to $35. These entry-level positions offer a solid foundation, but as pilots gain more experience and progress through their careers, their earning potential increases dramatically.

Small Commuter and Charter Companies

Pilots in first officer roles at small commuter or charter airlines in Canada can expect to earn around $30,000 per year on average. However, as they advance to captain positions at these operators, their salaries can climb to a range of $55,000 to $65,000, depending on factors such as the aircraft they fly and their years of service.

Corporate and Business Aviation

The corporate and business aviation sector in Canada offers some of the highest pilot salaries. While first officer salaries in this segment are similar to the commuter and charter industry, captains of larger corporate jets can earn over $130,000 per year. These lucrative opportunities are often reserved for the most experienced and skilled pilots in the Canadian aviation industry.

Additional Compensation and Benefits

While the base salaries for pilots in Canada can vary significantly based on factors like experience, aircraft type, and employer, many aviation operators also offer additional forms of compensation beyond just the standard pay structure. These supplementary benefits can include profit-sharing programs, stock options, and various bonuses or incentives.

Profit Sharing and Stock Options

Some Canadian airlines and corporate aviation operators provide their pilots with the opportunity to participate in profit-sharing initiatives or receive stock options as part of their overall compensation package. These types of supplemental pay can be difficult to quantify into average pilot earnings, as they can fluctuate substantially from year to year and company to company. The availability and structure of these programs can also vary widely across the industry.

Bonuses and Incentives

In addition to base salaries and profit-sharing arrangements, some employers in the Canadian aviation sector may also offer their pilots various bonuses and other incentives. These could include signing bonuses, retention bonuses, or performance-based incentives tied to factors like on-time operations, safety records, or other key performance indicators. However, the application and value of these additional compensation elements are not consistent across the industry.

Overall, while many Canadian pilots have the potential to earn additional income through supplementary benefits like profit sharing, stock options, and performance-based bonuses, the availability and impact of these forms of compensation can be quite variable. Pilots must carefully evaluate the full compensation package when considering job opportunities in the Canadian aviation industry.

Understanding the Pilot Pay Structure

The unique pay structure for pilots in Canada sets the aviation industry apart from many other professions. Pilot compensation in Canada is not linear, and pilots often face significant pay cuts when transitioning between different roles and airlines. This complexity is largely due to the industry’s strict seniority-based promotion system and the fact that most airlines do not hire direct entry captains.

As a result, pilots who move to a new airline, even if they have prior experience, often have to start at the bottom of the pay scale. This is in contrast to many other occupations, where individuals can typically maintain their earning level when changing employers. The factors that contribute to the complexity of pilot salaries in the Canadian aviation industry are important considerations for those contemplating a career as a pilot in the country.

Navigating the nuances of the pilot pay structure is crucial for understanding how pilot compensation differs from other professions. The industry’s unique approach to promotions and pay scales can have a significant impact on a pilot’s earning potential and career trajectory. Aspiring pilots in Canada must be prepared to adapt to this complex system as they progress through their careers.


In conclusion, this comprehensive article has provided valuable insights into the dynamics of pilot salaries in Canada. The significant regional and industry-specific variations in pilot pay have been highlighted, underscoring the importance of understanding the nuances of the Canadian aviation industry when considering a career as a pilot.

The factors that influence pilot compensation, such as aircraft type, years of experience, and career progression, have been thoroughly examined. Particularly noteworthy is the unique nature of the pilot pay structure in Canada, which is often non-linear and can involve pay cuts when transitioning between different roles and airlines. This information is crucial for those aspiring to become pilots, as it emphasizes the need to carefully navigate the industry’s compensation dynamics and make informed decisions about their career path.

Ultimately, this article has provided a comprehensive summary of key insights on pilot salaries in Canada, offering important takeaways for understanding the complexities of pilot compensation and the final thoughts on the dynamics of pilot pay in the Canadian aviation industry. By staying informed about these critical factors, individuals can make more well-informed decisions when pursuing a career as a pilot in Canada.


1. How much do Canadian pilots get paid?

Pilot salaries in Canada vary significantly by region, with the highest paid pilots located in Manitoba ($89,310 on average), followed by New Brunswick ($88,920), Ontario ($85,125), British Columbia ($82,500), and Alberta ($81,807).

2. How much do Air Canada captains make?

As a major airline captain, pilots at airlines like Air Canada can earn salaries in the range of $100,000 to $250,000 per year. However, the higher end of this range can take significant time and seniority to achieve and is not consistent across all major airlines.

3. How much do WestJet pilots make in Canada?

Similar to Air Canada, pilots at major airlines like WestJet can earn salaries ranging from $100,000 to $250,000 per year as captains, with the higher end of the scale requiring extensive experience and seniority.

4. Is being a pilot a stressful job?

While the article does not directly address the stress levels of being a pilot, the complex pay structure and the need to progress through various roles and airlines to achieve higher salaries suggests that the job can be quite demanding and stressful at times.

5. Do pilots have a high depression rate?

The article does not provide any information about the depression rates or mental health of pilots in Canada. This topic is not covered in the given content.

6. Is becoming a pilot worth it?

The article does not make a definitive statement on whether becoming a pilot is “worth it” or not. It focuses on providing a comprehensive overview of pilot salaries and the factors that influence compensation in the Canadian aviation industry. Individuals will need to weigh the pros and cons of the career based on their own personal and financial goals.

7. Is 30 too late to become a pilot?

The article does not discuss the appropriate age to become a pilot in Canada. It does not provide any information on whether 30 is too late or not to start a career as a pilot.

8. Is 25 too old to become a pilot?

The article does not address the appropriate age to start a career as a pilot in Canada. It does not indicate whether 25 is too old or not to become a pilot.

9. Is 24 too old to become a pilot?

The article does not provide any information on the ideal age to start a career as a pilot in Canada. It does not discuss whether 24 is too old or not to become a pilot.

10. Is 40 too old to be a pilot?

The article does not mention anything about the maximum age for becoming a pilot in Canada. It does not indicate whether 40 is too old or not to start a career as a pilot.

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