Insights into the career of a commercial pilot

Commercial pilot career.

A commercial pilot can work very irregular hours, and there is also the possibility of working on public holidays like Christmas and New Year’s. Nevertheless, the career of a commercial pilot career is still a very rewarding one. Of note, it offers one the chance to travel the world while earning a good living.

Work Schedule

An SIA pilot who fly international long haul routes typically work for 2 to 3 weeks in a 4-week roster cycle. Due to regulations for crew rest, he gets to rest for a day or 2 upon arriving at stop-over destinations before flying again. Another set of crew may also be present in the same flight to share the flying load. For example, for a flight of 14 hours, each set of crew will be on duty flying the aircraft for 7 hours, while the other set of crew rest. Pilots who fly to regional destinations may not travel as extensively, and usually get to return home everyday. For example, a pilot flying to Bangkok from Singapore can fly there in the morning, rest for a few hours before flying back to Singapore in the afternoon.

Career Advancement

A senior pilot who meets the stipulated requirements will go through a Command Check. If he passes the Command Check, he gets promoted to the rank of Captain and will be put in charge of the aircraft he pilots. An SIA pilot usually attain the rank of CaptainĀ 10 years into his pilot career. Those flying with regional airlines (like Tiger and Jetstar) usually take 5 to 6 years.


Junior pilots get paid around $5000 to $9000, depending on seniority. The monthly salary of Captains range from $9000 to $15000. On top of this basic pay, commercial pilots get meal and productivity allowances when they fly too. Therefore, depending on how much the pilot flies in a month, his pay can vary. Typically, allowances can make up to 30% of a pilot’s pay. The total pay package of a Captain can therefore reach as high as $20000 a month! Not bad at all!

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