How Much Do Cargo Pilots Make?

Typically, the term “cargo” refers to items being delivered by air, ocean, or land. They can be everyday items like furniture, toys, computers, televisions, or clothes, or they might be liquids like wine and other oils. Whatever the case, cargo can be classified into many different sorts.

Cargo planes may require less of a pilot’s presence at the airport. Furthermore, they present a different career option in the aviation industry. Moreover, cargo carriers offer some of the best pay rates for first officers and junior pilots and also provide top-notch benefits.

Many compliments to the dependable aviation industry that endured economic downturns even in the wake of global pandemics. Although the criteria for becoming a cargo or airline pilot are the same, the tasks, responsibilities, and salaries are completely different. Do you know how much a cargo pilot makes?

The first factor that needs to be taken into account is the significant wage gap between airline and cargo pilots. If you want to become a pilot, you have to know about the cargo pilot’s salary instead of the airline pilot’s salary. Let’s get the finest and most thorough response to the titular question. How Much Do Cargo Pilots Make

A Cargo Pilot Versus An Airline Pilot:

As I have mentioned, a cargo pilot’s job is to deliver and transport merchandise frequently, even in the morning and late at night. These cargoes could be anything that has to get somewhere quicker than is feasible with land-based transportation, such as mail, electronics, industrial supplies, food, and disaster relief supplies. 

Similar to passenger aircraft, cargo aircraft vary in size from tiny single-passenger crafts to enormous freighters. On the other hand, airline pilots also transport goods, typically in luggage form, but their priority is to put the needs of passengers first. Bear in mind, the majority of pilots who are capable of one category are also capable of the other.

Both roles require a pilot’s license as a requirement. Cargo pilots are classified in the same way as airline pilots are divided into commercial and non-commercial categories. If you have decided to pursue a career as a cargo pilot, it’s crucial to understand the primary cargo category in which you fit. Let’s talk about these main categories of cargo. 

How Much Do Cargo Pilots Make? 

The prerequisite for joining the aviation industry as a cargo pilot is a commercial pilot’s license. Before receiving it, you need to get your private pilot’s degree and multi-engine instrument ratings, which enable you to operate more complicated aircraft even in inclement weather. 

After obtaining this certificate, you will need to have your airline transport pilot certificate. Beyond obtaining these certificates, this profession requires a  dedication to effective communication abilities and safety. While the criteria and career prospects for cargo and airline pilots appear to be fairly comparable, the salaries for these positions are typically lower.

As a cargo pilot’s job is to deliver and carry goods for a business, frequently late at night or early in the morning, the pilot must have the flexibility to work both shifts. Further, they require all the requisite skills, just like airlines, such as effective listening and speaking skills, teamwork, management skills, and especially time management.

How much do cargo pilots make? This is one of the most pressing concerns and frequently asked questions on Google. Well! Several fundamental elements might affect your job wag Whether you work in the aviation industry or another sector, for instance, the degree of experience, the level of education, the number of certifications, geographical location, etc.

The primary factor that can influence a cargo worker’s salary is the specific category in which they are working. I discovered some unique types of cargo with their anticipated incomes after browsing the websites PayScale and and reading a few articles. Let’s get into further depth. 

Cargo Pilots:

Cargo pilots fly aircraft while carrying passengers and goods all across the world. Salaries of cargo pilots vary within the aviation industry due to the diversity of job responsibilities. Cargo pilots have to do pre-flight inspections to make sure the aircraft is in working order.

Furthermore, they work with the air traffic controller to evaluate and modify flight paths as necessary. Commercial plots provide passengers with flight updates or provide product transportation on cargo planes. The salary range of the cargo pilot is between $60,000 and $124,000 annually. 

Mission Pilots:

A common type of cargo pilot is considered a mission pilot, who flies tiny planes filled with supplies and missionaries to hard-to-reach locations. If you are selected to serve as a mission pilot, you will encounter individuals from all walks of life and experience the world in a completely new way.

Mission pilots make between $40,50 and $79,000 a year, which is a respectable wage. Additionally, if you work for the military as a mission pilot, you’ll undoubtedly earn a significant income with benefits. This is why military mission pilots are given challenging and demanding duties to complete.

Air Bridge Pilots: 

There is a distinct air bridge freight airline that is created specifically to offer cargo services in Russia. This airline was considered the largest in Russia at that time and provided services between Asia, Europe, and Russia. The annual wage range for air bridge freight pilots is between $37,000 and $76,000.

Your pay will rise with time. Additionally, if you have two to three years of experience and a four-year degree, you’ll likely receive a higher income along with certain benefits. 

Comparison Of Cargo Pilot Salary:

As I indicated before, your country of origin and the city in which you live play a role in determining your pay. Therefore, I analyzed the salaries of cargo pilots in a few cities close to the United States. Even while airline pilots earn significantly more money than cargo pilots, freight pilots nonetheless make a respectable income. I have selected Seattle, Dallas, Phoenix, and St. Louis to compare cargo pilot salaries.


The hourly wage for a cargo pilot in Dallas will probably be around $34.93. If you work a full day’s worth of hours, you’ll likely earn about $362. Additionally, if you work as a cargo pilot for a week, you might earn about $1493.

Additionally, if you work every month, you will likely get a salary of $5,779 every month. You may make about $81,618 a year as a permanent cargo pilot officer. We can predict that cargo pilot pay will likely be the same whether you work in Dallas or St. Louis.


A cargo pilot’s hourly wage will generally be in the range of $34.18 in Phoenix. If you work a full day, you’ll likely receive a payment of roughly $354 every day. Additionally, if you serve as a cargo pilot for a week, you might earn about $146.

Additionally, if you work every month, you’ll likely receive a salary of $5,654 every month. If you are a senior cargo pilot officer, your annual salary might be roughly $79,860.

St. Louis: 

You can expect to make about $33.83 per hour as a cargo pilot in St. Louis. If you work as a commercial cargo pilot, you’ll likely be paid $350 for one day. Additionally, if you worked as a cargo pilot for a week, you might have earned $1,446. Furthermore, if you work as a permanent cargo pilot, you will most likely earn $5,595 every month and $79,030 per year.


If you work as a cargo pilot in Portland, your hourly wage will be about $34.94. If you work a full day, you will most likely earn $362 per day. Additionally, if you operate as a cargo pilot for a week, you might earn about $1494. Additionally, if you work every month, you’ll likely receive a salary of $5,780 every month. You may earn about $81,637 a year as a permanent freight pilot officer.


If you work as a cargo pilot in Seattle, you’ll likely make roughly $37.65 an hour, which is a respectable wage. If you work as a cargo pilot for an entire day, you will likely receive a wage of roughly $390. 

Additionally, if you work as a cargo pilot for a week, you might earn about $1,609 per week. Furthermore, if you work every month, you’ll likely receive a salary of roughly $6,228 every month. Moreover, if you work as a senior cargo pilot officer, you may get a nice salary of about $87,960 per year.


To answer the question of how much cargo pilots make, I have visited several websites, read a few articles, and used payment calculators. As a result, I have found the highest pay for most senior cargo pilot officers is around $18,000 per year. Furthermore, I discovered that a cargo pilot makes an annual minimum wage of roughly $59,000.

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