Avelo Airlines Announces Huge Incentives For New Hire Pilots

Startup carrier Avelo Airlines has announced major enhancements to its pilot compensation. As it expects to hire 120 new pilots in 2022, the airline is making attractive offers for new pilots that include an increase in base pay rates, a sign-on bonus, and a commuter stipend. This comes as Avelo plans a big year of growth.

Avelo Airlines is bumping up pilot compensation as a method of attracting new hires to fuel its growth. Photo: Avelo

Avelo makes big changes to pilot compensation

Avelo Airlines has officially announced that it will be elevating first-year pay by nearly 50% for Captains and nearly 30% for First Officers. Avelo advertises that it will offer the highest first-year Captain and First Officer pay rates in the ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) and regional carrier sectors of the US industry.

First-year Captain hourly pay rates will increase from $135 to $200. At five years of service, Avelo Captains will earn $220 per hour. Meanwhile, for First Officers, the first-year hourly rate increases from $70 to $90. After five years of service, First Officers will have an hourly rate of $140. The new pay scale will kick in from February 1st, 2022, and apply to both current and future Avelo pilots.

Year Captain First Officer
1 $200 $90
2 $205 $110
3 $210 $120
4 $215 $130
5 $220 $140

For new hire pilots, Avelo is offering a big sign-on bonus of $20,000. This applies to new pilots hired before June 1st, 2022. The initial $5,000 is paid after the pilot completes their orientation trips. The remaining $15,000 will be paid at the completion of the first year with the airline. The bonus is available for both Captains and First Officers.

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Avelo Airlines Boeing 737
Avelo is offering a commuting stipend to give its pilots more flexibility with their living situations. Photo: Avelo Airlines

The airline is also now offering a virtual base stipend. This is a payment of $1,800 per month, paid monthly upon completion of orientation trips, to offset commuting costs. This is paid to all pilots regardless of whether they commit or live in base. For pilots that live in base, Avelo schedules its flights in an out-and-back model, meaning all scheduled Avelo flight start and return to their base each day, including pilots.

Andrew Levy, Avelo Chairman and CEO, stated the following on the airline’s new incentives:

“We’re committed to attracting and retaining the industry’s best pilots. In addition to our enhanced pay scale, Avelo supports quality of life initiatives such as an additional $1,800 per month to help offset the cost of commuting. And, if a pilot chooses to live in base, they’ll keep the $1,800 per month.”

Avelo looking to hire new pilots

Avelo wants to hire 120 new pilots in 2022. In addition to the sign-on bonus, the airline is offering plenty of different benefits. This includes training pay of $6,300 per month (minimum guarantee at year-one First Officer rate). Avelo provides training hotels. Pilots also receive an initial uniform and ongoing uniform allowance.

Separately, Avelo will offer premium pay of 125% of the base hourly rate to all pilots working over 75 block hours per month. Day off flying is paid at 125% of the base hourly rate on top of the guarantee. Avelo guarantees 70 hours of flying per month.

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Avelo Airlines Announces Huge Incentives For New Hire Pilots
Avelo will offer some of the highest pay rates for first-year pilots in the ULCC sector. Photo: Avelo

At a basic guarantee, new pilots will earn $209,600 as a Captain and $117,200 as a First Officer in their first year. This includes the sign-on bonus and virtual base stipend. In the future, as Avelo meets its initial profitability threshold, the airline expects to engage in profit-sharing.

The benefit of starting early with the airline is that pilots get high seniority from the first day. Seniority is a huge deal for pilots, as it is a factor in helping pilots get the trips they want, the schedule they want, and more.

Avelo Chief Operating Officer, Captain Greg Baden, stated the following on the airline’s hiring initiative:

“At Avelo Airlines, pilots hire pilots. We encourage pilots at any stage in their professional career to apply.”

Avelo is looking at significant growth

Avelo currently operates six Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft. This includes three 147-seat 737-700s based at Connecticut’s Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN) and three 189-seat 737-800s from Avelo’s West Coast base at Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR).

Additionally, this year, Avelo has commitments for nine additional 737 Next Generations. These planes are expected to be delivered by the end of the year, bringing the airline to 15 aircraft. This will lead the airline to serve at least 40 destinations across the US by the end of 2022 and, potentially, add more bases. This goal is backed by the latest round of Series B funding that increased the company’s invested capital base to over $160 million.

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Avelo Airlines Announces Huge Incentives For New Hire Pilots
Avelo is on a growth track, but it needs pilots to fly its planes. Photo: Avelo

Avelo is a ULCC that focuses on peak-day flying on leisure-oriented routes. Avelo targets point-to-point travel, as can be seen from its Burbank and New Haven operations. In both bases, Avelo targets underserved airports where it can offer a low-fare leisure alternative to local consumers.

The industry is currently grappling with a shortage of pilots. Major airlines, startups, and established ULCCs are all working to attract more pilots to support operations. Regional operations at other airlines have also been impacted as a result. Avelo’s increase in compensation is designed to stimulate interest in the carrier while also allowing it to expand the geographic base of its pilots, giving it more room to hire pilots who choose to live away from New Haven or Burbank.

Ultimately, without pilots, Avelo’s growth would be significantly constrained. The airline is showing it refuses to back down and will not hold back to fill its ranks. As Avelo makes this push, 2022 will be a pivotal year for the airline.

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