Pilot Salary in Kenya: Everything REVEALED

ByKenneth Nyabora

Oct 7, 2023
Pilot Salary in Kenya

Last updated on October 11th, 2023 at 02:35 am

Pilots play a critical role in the aviation industry, as the skilled professionals responsible for safely operating aircraft. In Kenya, as in many countries, a pilot’s career is prestigious and essential for the nation’s connectivity, tourism, and overall economic growth. In this discussion, we will explore the salaries of pilots in Kenya, shedding light on the financial aspects of pursuing this career and the broader significance of these professionals in ensuring efficient and safe air travel within and beyond. So, what is the salary of a pilot in Kenya?

In a brief overview, the salary of pilots in Kenya is Kshs 250,000 per month, which is Kshs—3,000,000 per year. However, pilots’ salaries vary based on factors such as level of education, experience, and skills in handling airplanes. For example, learning how to become a pilot from the best aviation schools, such as East School of Aviation, Kenya School of Flying, or Flight Training Centre, will give you a chance to get more experience and skills. It is because these schools have the best aviation teachers or lecturers who have more experience.

How much do pilots earn in Kenya?

A pilot’s salary in Kenya depends on many factors; for example, a pilot flying a helicopter earns a different salary from a pilot flying an airplane or jet. However, another factor that causes differences in earnings is based on the workload and tasks. For instance, a pilot working at Kenya Airways will earn more than a helicopter pilot. In addition, a military pilot should also earn a different salary. So, what is the salary of a pilot in Kenya based on these factors? Here is a breakdown in a table:

Type of PilotSalary Range (Kshs)Responsibilities
Helicopter Pilot150,000– Operate helicopters for various purposes.
– Conduct aerial tours, transport, or rescue missions.
– Ensure the safety of passengers and crew.
– Perform routine maintenance checks.
Kenya Airways Pilot389,000– Fly commercial aircraft for Kenya Airways.
– Ensure the safety and comfort of passengers.
– Adhere to strict flight schedules.
– Coordinate with air traffic control.
Airliner Pilot145,000-162,000– Operate aircraft for regional airlines.
– Transport passengers and cargo.
– Follow established flight routes.
– Maintain aircraft safety standards.
Military Pilot140,000-420,000– Serve in the Kenyan military.
– Conduct combat and reconnaissance missions.
– Fly military aircraft.
– Participate in training exercises.
– Adhere to strict military protocols.

Please note that the salary range for military pilots can vary significantly depending on rank, experience, and other factors.

How much does a helicopter pilot earn in Kenya?

A helicopter pilot in Kenya typically earns a salary of Kshs. 150,000. Their responsibilities include safely operating helicopters for various purposes such as transportation, aerial photography, and medical emergencies, ensuring passenger safety, and performing routine maintenance checks on the aircraft.

How much do Kenya Airways pilots earn in Kenya?

On the other hand, Kenya Airways pilots enjoy a higher salary, averaging around Kshs. 389,000. These professionals are responsible for flying commercial aircraft, ensuring the safety of passengers and crew, adhering to strict flight schedules, and complying with airline regulations and procedures. Before the escalation of the financial problems bedeviling the national carrier, pilots at Kenya Airways have been some of the best-paid in Kenya.

The pilots’ salaries had been on an upward trend despite the national carrier continuously returning billions of losses annually.

Before the 2020 pandemic, senior Kenya Airways staff in the rank of captain earned an average monthly salary of Kshs. 1.6 million, which was twice the monthly income for pilots in Ethiopian Airlines. However, these salaries have since been slashed by between 60% and 70%.

Kenya Airways’ payroll doles out about half of its funds to its pilots, who constitute the minority of the workforce. An official document by the national carrier showed that although pilots accounted for 13 percent of the airline’s crew, they took home 45 percent of the overall payout to employees.

The staff under the Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU) account for the bulk of the workforce at 65 percent but take home an estimated 30.5 percent of Kenya Airways payroll. Conversely, Managers at KQ account for an estimated 22 percent of the crew and draw compensation equivalent to 22 percent of the payroll.

Expatriates account for 0.3 percent of the airline’s workforce and draw compensation of 2.6 percent of its payroll. At the end of 2017, Kenya Airways had 414 pilots out of its overall workforce of 3,548. The high salaries for pilots come as a no shocker, given that the carrier’s chief executive officer is also highly paid.

For example, the former KQ’s CEO, Sebastian Mikosz, was replaced by the current CEO, Allan Kilavuk, was paid a total of Ksh. 62.89 million per year, that is, Kshs. 5.2 million as a monthly salary.

How much does an airline pilot earn in Kenya?

Airlines pilots in Kenya earn an average salary of Kshs. 145,000. They are tasked with flying smaller planes for regional or domestic routes, conducting pre-flight checks, monitoring weather conditions, and communicating with air traffic control to ensure a smooth and safe flight.

How much do military pilots earn in Kenya?

Military pilots in Kenya have a varying salary range, typically between Kshs. 140,000 and 420,000, depending on their rank and experience. Their responsibilities extend to national defense, conducting reconnaissance missions, and participating in combat operations when necessary, all while operating advanced military aircraft and adhering to strict military protocols and discipline.

What allowances do pilots get in Kenya?

In Kenya, pilots receive various allowances in addition to their basic salary. These allowances typically include:

  1. Housing Allowance: Pilots often receive a housing allowance to assist with the accommodation cost, which can vary depending on the location and the pilot’s rank or experience.
  2. Transport Allowance: Pilots are provided with a transport allowance to cover the expenses associated with commuting to and from work or for layovers in other cities.
  3.  Per Diem Allowance: Pilots may receive a per diem allowance to cover their daily expenses, including meals and incidentals, when on duty and away from their base.
  4. Flight Duty Allowance: Pilots are eligible for flight duty allowances, which are calculated based on the number of hours flown and the type of aircraft operated. This allowance compensates for the demanding nature of their job.
  5. Overtime Pay: When pilots exceed their standard duty hours or are called in for additional flights beyond their regular schedule, they receive overtime pay.
  6. Specialized Allowances: Some pilots, particularly those flying in challenging conditions or technical roles such as cargo or emergency services, may receive additional specialized allowances.
  7. Insurance Benefits: Pilots often receive insurance benefits, including health insurance, life insurance, and disability coverage, as part of their compensation package.
  8. Training Allowances: Pilots may receive allowances to cover the cost of recurrent training and certification requirements, ensuring they stay up-to-date with industry standards.
  9. Seniority and Experience Bonuses: As pilots gain experience and seniority within an airline, they may become eligible for performance-based bonuses or higher allowances.

It’s important to note that the specific allowances and their amounts can vary between airlines and may be subject to negotiation between the pilot and their employer, making it essential for pilots to review their contracts and agreements carefully.

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Jambojet Pilots Salary and Allowances in Kenya

Jambojet, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways, began operations in 2014, offering affordable commercial flights. It primarily serves domestic routes, with additional flights to two regional destinations in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Kenya Airways is a publicly owned company with government and private investor ownership.

Kenya Airways employs pilots working for Jambojet and receive their compensation directly from the parent company. To become a Jambojet pilot, candidates must meet specific eligibility criteria:

  • Attain a Grade A rating in airplane performance.
  • Complete training for a Private Pilot License (PPL).
  • Complete training for a Commercial Pilot License (CPL).
  • Successfully pass assessments related to aptitude, psychomotor skills, medical fitness, flight competency, and other relevant areas.
  • Exhibit strong interpersonal and organizational skills, along with a resilient personality.
  • Maintain good mental and physical health.

Jambojet Pilots salary in Kenya

Monthly salaries for Jambojet pilots are as follows:

The basic monthly wage of a Jambojet pilot in Kenya is Kshs. 275,000, with half earning less and half making more. Salary range: a minimum of KES 130,000 for the lowest-earning pilots to a maximum of KES 420,000 for the highest-earning pilots. Pilots with less than two years of experience earn a maximum of KES 156,000, while those with over 20 years of experience can earn up to KES 393,000. Pilots holding a Master’s degree tend to earn more than those with a Bachelor’s.

Jambojet pilots receive various allowances and bonuses in addition to their base salaries, including medical, transport, and housing allowances.

However, there have been labor disputes involving Kenya Airways pilots due to the government’s failure to fulfill the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that was supposed to take effect in 2018. The CBA was expected to provide the pilots with maternity coverage worth KES 200,000, inpatient coverage worth KES 4 million, and outpatient coverage worth KES 200,000.

Aside from their regular compensation, some Jambojet pilots also receive tips from appreciative travelers for their exceptional service.

Drone Pilots Salary in Kenya

A drone pilot in Kenya operates UAVs for various purposes. Their tasks include data capture and compliance with regulations. Salaries for drone pilots vary by experience and industry. So, what is the salary of a drone pilot in Kenya? According to Glassdoor, entry-level drone pilots earn around Ksh 35,000–Ksh 60,000 monthly. Experienced drone pilots can make Ksh 70,000–Ksh 150,000 or more. Salary figures change, so consult current job listings for updates.

Who is the richest pilot in Kenya?

Captain Irene Koki Mutungi is the highest-grossing Kenyan pilot, earning around 1.6 million monthly as a senior captain for Kenya Airways. Her estimated net worth ranges from $1 million to $5 million. Irene is renowned for being the first female pilot to fly a commercial Boeing 787 Dreamliner in 2004, and she joined Kenya Airways in 1995.

Irene’s passion for flying was ignited at a young age as she watched her father, a retired pilot, in action. She decided to pursue an aviation career, earning her Private Pilot License at Nairobi Wilson Airport after completing high school at Moi Girls High School in Nairobi. She furthered her studies in Oklahoma City, obtaining her commercial pilot’s license from the USA’s Federal Aviation Administration.

Throughout her career, Irene Koki Mutungi faced numerous obstacles and stereotypes in an industry traditionally dominated by men. Even her father initially doubted her choice to become a pilot. However, her determination and courage allowed her to prove herself, and she is now among the few female commercial pilots globally. Irene serves as an inspiration to many, particularly girls aspiring to achieve their dreams in male-dominated fields.

Wrapping Up

In summary, pilot salaries in Kenya vary widely, with helicopter pilots earning approximately Kshs. 150,000 Kenya Airways pilots around Kshs. 389,000, airline pilots averaging Kshs. 145,000, and military pilots make between Kshs. 140,000 to 420,000, based on factors like rank and experience. These professionals receive additional allowances and benefits, including housing, transport, per diem, and flight duty allowances. Captain Irene Koki Mutungi stands out as one of Kenya’s highest-earning pilots, with an estimated monthly income of 1.6 million as a senior captain for Kenya Airways, inspiring aspiring aviators, especially women, in the industry.