How Long to a Captain Upgrade?

Published: 05-24-2006
On most of the airlines' pages in our database, APC includes a notation of "Most junior captain hired: (date)." This info is valuable for a few reasons. It shows how long it has taken the most junior captain at the airline currently to reach that seat. Simply subtract the date of hire from the date today, and you'll know approximately how many years it's taking new captains to upgrade.
APC also includes whenever possible the aircraft and base assignment of this junior captain. This is good information for knowing what kind of quality-of-life trade offs might have to be made in return for taking the nice pay raise that accompanies the upgrade.

Sometimes the time to upgrade can be the tie breaker for which airline to pursue employment with. If an upgrade at regional X is twice as long as regional Y, regional Y could be the go-to airline even if its pay and other factors are less desirable. A faster upgrade means more pay and valuable PIC turbine time (if time-building for career advancement) more quickly.

Keep in mind that these dates can change rapidly when an airline is experiencing rapid growth or furloughing pilots, so don't take the figures as gospel. They're just one more tool APC provides to help you make a better career choice.

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