As the name suggests, the airline pilot flies airliners. But whether it is before, during or after the flight, the pilot has many responsibilities. This job description gives you all the information you need to become an airline pilot.
Airline pilots do not all have the same daily life. Depending on their business, but especially the type of trips they make, their days change dramatically. Indeed, a pilot can perform short-haul (national), medium-haul
If he flies short-haul, he spends his day chaining flights while a long-haul pilot can only do one per day.
Whatever his journeys, the airline pilot always arrives at the airport well before take-off, piloting an airplane requires preparation . He must meet his team-mate (co-pilot or captain) and study the roadmaps, calculate the amount of fuel needed, take into account potential risks and the weather, set up the on-board computer, etc. He is also in close contact with the flight personnel (flight attendant, flight attendant).
During the flight, the pilot plans his next flights while remaining vigilant in the event of a problem . The pilot has great responsibilities on the trips. It is he who represents the civil and administrative authority, that is to say he is like the police on board and he also has first aid training. He must be able to react in all situations.
He also makes announcements for passengers, to welcome them and give them information on the flight (turbulence, arrival time, etc.) and on the landing destination (weather forecast, time, acknowledgments, etc.).
Depending on the companies and the routes, the pilots can make long days and chain flights (except for long haul). When they have finished their last flight of the day, they either go home or go to the hotel waiting for the next one.
1.2 Clothing and equipment
An airline pilot works in uniform. It is often provided by the company and consists of pants, shirt, tie, pilot’s jacket and pilot’s cap. The uniform of pilots is often dark in color. Wings are embroidered on the jacket and on the shirt, which also has epaulettes.
When it comes to equipment, a pilot has nothing special to bring with him. When he does not return home, he must provide luggage for his personal belongings.
1.3 Essential qualities, necessary skills
The job of an airline pilot is very demanding. To exercise it, you have to be enduring because the days are long and the schedules often shifted. Of course, a pilot must always be vigilant and alert, without ever giving in to panic.
It is essential for a pilot to speak at least 2 languages including English, since it is aimed at passengers and his team, who can be of different nationalities.
To manage emergencies, he is also trained in first aid when needed.
It is also essential to have a perfect view of 10/10 in both eyes, but contrary to popular belief, it is possible to have 10/10 thanks to a pair of glasses or contact lenses.
1.4 Opportunities, recruitment, where to practice this profession
Before the Covid-19 crisis, the aviation sector was doing quite well and recruitments were regular. Airlines often organized recruitment campaigns where pilots only had to apply. Young pilots leaving the “cadet” programs provided by the companies very often found a position in the company which trained them.
But the coronavirus has strongly affected this sector which is in great difficulty with layoffs and restructuring of airlines. These difficulties are expected to last for several years.
Airline pilots only work for airlines, but many other types of pilots exist: freight pilots, instructor pilots, private pilots, etc.
1.5 Hours, conditions and working hours
An airline pilot’s schedules can be demanding. Pilots often work at night and can perform long days and long flights. They travel a lot and don’t come home every night which is a plus for some and a minus for others. They also have to deal with stress and the unexpected (the weather for example).
Pilots are very often passionate about their job, which allows them to travel and appreciate the earth from the sky. In addition, the salaries are interesting.
The working conditions are therefore quite stressful and tiring, but for many the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
Logically, the pilots of low-cost companies and who make short trips are paid less than those who are employed by “high-end” companies and who perform long-haul flights in large aircraft.
The salary of a novice airline pilot starts at around € 3,000. The monthly salary of a more experienced pilot is generally between 8,000 € and 15,000 €, but some may earn more, again depending on the parameters mentioned above.