As I‘m living in Europe and I‘m interested in a commercial pilot career, I looked up the wages on various websites. (I hope the German screenshots don‘t matter too much).

Example 1 (Source) enter image description here

Example 2 (Source) enter image description here

Were/Are there really Co-Pilots who paid for their training themselves (I suppose) and now only get about 2000€ per month?

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    $\begingroup$ It surprises me to see that Easyjet pays about twice as much as Ryanair... $\endgroup$ – Bianfable Nov 21 '19 at 12:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Bianfable That was in fact one of the main reasons why I posted this question. $\endgroup$ – Der_Reparator Nov 21 '19 at 12:54
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    $\begingroup$ It's Ryanair. What did you expect? $\endgroup$ – Sean Nov 21 '19 at 23:29

Before the recent pilot shortage started to really take effect this was fairly common around the globe and is still prevalent in some places. Low Cost Carries like Ryanair pinch pennies across the board to offer cheap flights. This in turn created a segment of the market that the major airlines (at least in the US and presumably elsewhere) took advantage of. Major airlines focused on longer haul international routes flying big metal and left short hop flights to either regional airlines or smaller affiliates which often conform to the low cost model.

However the big planes still needed pilots, so the low cost carriers became feeder programs for their bigger airline counterparts. Part of the reason Low Cost airlines can offer such low wages is that generally pilots don't work there that long. Much like flight instruction or banner towing it has become a way to effectively build hours to fly bigger planes. In some cases Low Cost Carriers also offer cadet/training programs that may undercut the cost to train pilots. Instead of taking it out as debt against the pilot then garnishing wages later they simply pay less.

Recently pilot wages (at least in the states) have seen a healthy increase to attract new people to the profession.

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    $\begingroup$ Your point about the pilot shortage holds true in this more recent graphic by the German Pilot labor union: source This graphic from 2018 sees new Ryanair Co-Pilots at a salary of approx. 40k € per year. $\endgroup$ – Der_Reparator Nov 21 '19 at 13:03
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. The average entry level salary for a regional FO was about \$16,000. It’s now slightly over twice that. That is a considerable improvement. However when you consider that these people will probably have invested somewhere in the order of \$100,000 -\$130,000 into flight training and ratings to end up with a job with such little pay and low return on investment (at least initially), its no wonder why people have abandoned the pilot profession in search of more lucrative opportunities. $\endgroup$ – Carlo Felicione Nov 21 '19 at 16:45

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