Pilot salary in India | How to Become a Commercial Pilot in India

The average salary of the pilot in India is anywhere between 1.50 Lakhs to 8 lakhs per month. It depends on the experience, flying hours.

The average salary of the pilot in India is anywhere between 1.50 Lakhs to 8 lakhs per month. It depends on the experience, flying hours, training institute and last but not the least, the airline company by which the pilot is hired

The salary of a pilot is incomparable with any other profession. You can get paid around three lakhs per month in your mid-career. Hardly you will find such a high paying job in India. While your friends will be busy with their academic career, you will be enjoying such a good salary. This is the reason why many students choose pilot as their career path.

Pilot salary in India

Some factors make the salary of a pilot above average from other jobs in India, which are discussed thoroughly. So, Stay with the article to know all the aspects of the pilot's salary, bonus, profit-sharing, and the road map to becoming a pilot.

Salary of pilot in India

Pilot is a very prestigious job that involves a lot of responsibility for the safety of the aircraft they are flying with the life of hundreds of passengers. Therefore, the demand for experienced pilots is high compared to newly joined pilots or fresher pilots. The more you experience, the higher the salary you will get.

Once you complete 250 hours of flying, you will be eligible to become a commercial pilot. After becoming a commercial pilot, you can expect a handsome salary, as the demand for the commercial pilot is tremendous not only in India but also in the international aviation industry. It also depends on the experience, certification, flying hour, and the airline by which the pilot is hired.


Once you join as a junior first officer (newly joined pilot), you will get a salary of 18 Lakh per annum. Then you will be promoted as the first officer, and your salary also will go up to 38 Lakh per annum. Again you will be promoted as Senior First Officer, and your salary will be around 55 lakhs per annum. Eventually, you will become a line captain, getting 76 lakhs per annum. And when you become a senior captain, your salary will go up to 80 lakh per annum.

Flying Hours

Flying hours also have a great contribution to the salary of a pilot. Normally, a commercial pilot has 70 flying hours. In case if you fly more than 70 hours (It depends on the airline industry), you will get paid additional to your salary for your overtime. Being a First officer, if you fly 70 to 80 hours, you will get 3,000 extra per hour, and if you fly 80 to 90 hours, you will get 3,900 per hour and 4,200 for 91 to 100 flying hours. Being a Captain, you can expect double the amount of a first officer.


On the basis of years of experience, the average salary of the pilot is tabulated below

Pilot Career Path Average Salary (Per Annum)
Junior first officer 18 Lakhs
First officer 38 Lakhs
Senior first officer 55 Lakhs
Line captain 76 Lakhs
Senior captain 80 Lakhs


Pilots who work in Maharashtra, generally receive 20% to23% higher pay, on the other side pilots who work in Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata receive lesser pay.

If we compare the pilot's salary in India to that of other countries, the average salary is 3 times or 4 times in some countries. Also, the eligibility is different, that is 750 hours of flying experience.

Duties of commercial pilot

A senior pilot (captain) has full responsibility for the flight. The captain's responsibilities include the practicality of the flight and the safety of all the passengers and the crew members. There is also a first officer who provides supportive company to the captain in the flight.

The duties and responsibilities can be divided into three major parts before takeoff and after landing an aeroplane.

  • Post-flight checks
  • During The Flight Itself
  • Post Flight Procedures

All pilots should be familiar with these procedures before take-off and after landing.

Pre-flight checks
  • Collect all the information about the aircraft, crew, passengers, as well as weather reports along the route at the destination airport.
  • Make a flight plan based on that information and calculate the correct altitude and fuel required for the flight.
  • Monitoring the loading of fuel and ensuring the operation of the aircraft to maximize fuel efficiency.
  • Perform pre-flight checks on all instruments, navigation systems, and aircraft safety systems.
  • Conduct pre-flight briefings with the co-pilot and cabin crew.
During The Flight Itself
  • Maintain continuous contact with air traffic controllers and the cabin crew throughout the flight.
  • Monitor and understand the aircraft's navigational and control instruments.
  • Check the aircraft's performance and its position relative to the planned route and check on the location of other aircraft in the vicinity.
  • Keep informing the passengers about the progress of the flight and any deviations from the schedule.
  • If there are any onboard emergencies or any changes in the weather, the pilot will need to react quickly and efficiently.
Post Flight Procedures
  • Update the aircraft's logbook with the hours flown and other data.
  • Compile a report about the flight itself and include any aircraft irregularities or incidents.
  • There is about an hour of work on the ground after the flight land.

Pros of being a Pilot

Being a pilot is a great job. It's a fantastic job. They all enjoyed it a lot, but the reasons why they enjoy it are the perks that they get. Here are some of the perks are given below.

The place that a pilot gets to travel to:

Of course, this depends from airline to airline and on what type of aircraft you fly. But on the whole, as a pilot, you will end up doing something known as layovers.

For example: If your base is in Delhi, let's say a flight from Delhi, then go to Mumbai, then go to Chennai, then go to Bangalore and then stay the night in Bangalore. Then Bangalore would be your layover.

You'll be taken care of by the airline in layover. So when you get out of your Airport in layover, you'll have a car waiting for you to take you to the hotel. The hotel will be a five-star hotel or at least a four-star hotel. You get free food; you get access to everything in the hotel, such as gyms and clubs.

Layovers are approximately about 24 hours in duration, so when you go to a new city or someplace that you like, you can always roam around the city, go for a tour, do something interesting in the city, so those 24 hours are all yours to enjoy the city and have some fun.

The airline also gives you extra money to spend at the layover destination in addition to your salary. So that you can buy stuff for your family and friends, layovers can be a lot of fun if you make some great memories while doing layovers.

The salary:

Salaries you get as a pilot are pretty awesome, which are already mentioned in detail. Getting paid almost about 4 lakhs is mindboggling and very rare.

Pilot's views from the cockpit:

As someone very passionate about flying, this is a big inspiration for you. How often do you get to see the Milky Way with naked eyes?

The sun rising from behind the Himalayas, setting the snow on fire. A pale yellow moon casting its burning light on the beautiful clouds as you cruise thousands of feet above the earth over the vast expanse of an ocean, the thunderstorm lighting up the night sky like disco balls just a million times bigger and brighter.

It is a beautiful office to be in point. You can enjoy the beauty of this god gifted things we neglect in our day-to-day life.

The respect that a pilot command:

Being a pilot is rare, so it automatically adds respect to the pilots.
You get something known as a commercial pilot license when you become a pilot. Mr J R D Tata, the founder of the Tata Group, was the first holder of a commercial pilot license In India. So that was license number one. And from there on, every license that has been issued has a number in a sequence. Once you become a commercial pilot, you will also get a License number./p>

So as of now, in our country, there are only about 8000 airline pilots who are flying now. Out of 1.3 billion people, just 8000 are commercial pilots, which is a very rare feed. So with that kind of rarity comes respect. Because what you're doing is not very common.

The amazing people pilots meet every day:

If you work in a conventional office, you always have the same people around you every day. The set of people that you work with is fixed.
As pilots, you get to work with a new crew set and a new team every day. You will have either a new First Officer or a new Captain, a new crew set. Everything is different, even the engineers, the ground staff also. So every day, you're working with new people with new challenges and a new mindset. It's such a great job.

The satisfaction of getting people to where they want to go:

Pilots bring people back to their loved ones, bring people to new cities. They take someone going for a very big meeting and take people to places where there might be going for a promotion.

They bring people back home, bring soldiers back home who've been tirelessly fighting for us at the borders, so the satisfaction that you get of bringing people closer and making the world a somewhat better place. It's great.

Way to Become a Commercial Pilot in India

If you are planning to become a commercial pilot, you need to join a flying school after the 12th. Now, you might be wondering how to join a flying school? All the strategies are discussed thoroughly, starting with eligibility criteria.

Eligibility criteria of joining a flying school
  • Your nationality should be Indian.
  • You must be at least 17 years of age or above.
  • Eyesight should be 6/6 with or without glasses with no color blindness.
  • You must have completed your 12th with Science Stream with Subjects Physics, Mathematics, and English with a minimum of 55% individual marks. If you are from an arts or commerce background, you must complete the subject Mathematics and Physics from NIOS (The National Institute of Open Schooling)
  • Make sure that you are medically fit. That is done by clearing your medical tests (Class 1 Medical and Class 2 medical)
  • You have to clear DGCA exams.

Once you join a flying school, you will be issued a Student Pilot Licence (SPL). Once you complete 60 hours of flying, you will get a Private Pilot Licence (PPL). Again after completing your 250 flying hours, you will be issued your desired Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL).

Once you get your CPL license, you are ready to become A commercial pilot and join as a first officer.

Nowadays, CPL holders need to possess a Type Rating Certificate to get more opportunities.

Cost to become a commercial pilot?

The cost of becoming a commercial pilot is around 60 to 70 lakhs. It will cost around 25 to 30 Lakhs in these 18 to 24 months training course. And if you want to get a Type Rating Certificate, you will be trained, and it will cost around 30 Lakhs.

Cons of being a Pilot

Every job has cons; Pilot is no different. It's all up to you how you take these cons in your life.

  • Expensive training course: The initial investment is very high, though you can cover all the investment amount in your initial two to three years of service. Not everyone can afford the fees of such flying schools.
  • Can't spend more time with family: Hardly pilots get time to spend with their family and friends, Which can affect your bonding and relationship with your family and the loved one.
  • Missing important family events and festivals:During festivals, the number of passengers is tremendous, which leads to a hectic schedule for the pilots. So there are fewer chances of attending your family events or festivals at that time.
  • Irregular flight schedules: Most pilots have irregular schedules for the flight that affect their sleep cycle and body health.


What is starting pilot salary?

The starting salary of a commercial pilot is around 18 lakhs per annum. It might vary from airline to airline. It depends on the experience, certification, flying hour, and the airline by which the pilot is hired.

What is the average salary of a captain pilot in India?

The average salary of a Line captain is around 76 lakhs per annum, and that of a senior captain is around 80 lakhs per annum. It depends on the flying hour and the airline the pilot is hired.

Is it hard to become a pilot?

Not at all. You have to complete your 12th with Subjects Physics, Mathematics, and English with a minimum of 55% individual marks and after that you need to join a flying school.

Do you need maths to be a pilot?

Yes. You should have the subject maths in your 12 class. If you are from an arts or commerce background, you must complete the subject Mathematics from NIOS.