Does New Carrier Breeze Airways Pay Pilots Enough?

Published: 12-21-2020
New airline Breeze Airways releases hourly wage numbers. Do they add up for you?

Founded in 2018, Breeze Airways was advertised to become the “World’s Nicest Airline”. After the carrier recently announced the hourly pay offered to pilots, however, the aforementioned description may not be satisfactory. Does Breeze offer enough pay to pilots? Read on.

Seeking Profits

Launching an airline carrier during a pandemic when aviation losses are in the billions, seems to be a tricky business proposition. Nevertheless, Breeze Airways is still on track to launch in the US in the first quarter of 2021. The airline carrier has opted to utilize a fleet of Embraer 195s. Over time, these airplanes are to be swapped out with Airbus A220s.

Given the circumstances, the airline carrier will be in dire need of profits to recoup its initial investments. Unfortunatetly, US travel and passenger fare remains an uncertainty. But how does this affect pay for pilots?

Is Above-Average Hourly Pay Enough?

When it comes to Breeze Airways, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that the hourly wages are above-average. The bad news is that there may not be enough hours.

The starting and long-term salaries offered by Breeze Airway are as follows for First Officers and Captains:

  • First Officers: $55 an hour raise to $94 an hour by the sixth year of employment

  • Captains: $117 an hour raised to $143 an hour by year six of flying with the company

At first glance, those rates do not seem too unusual. The offered wages are above-average ates in the United States. What sets Breeze Airways’ hourly salaries apart is the monthly hourly guarantee, which is only 55 hours, or at most, $7,865 per month before taxes (for Captains in their sixth year). To compare, many carriers guarantee at least 75 hours a month.

That 20-hour difference each month makes a huge difference in annual salary, regardless of the hourly rate offered.

Quick Comparison With JetBlue

David Neeleman, the founder of Breeze Airways, also started JetBlue not too long ago, but the pilot payscale for both companies is quite different. JetBlue pilots earn significantly more per hour and are given a 70-hour monthly guarantee.

  • JetBlue First Officers: $89 an hour for year 1 and $130 an hour by year 6

  • Captains at JetBlue: $192 an hour to start, then a climb to $203 an hour by year

Or to put it another way, by year six, First Officers at Breeze Airways end up making almost half as much as JetBlue Co-Pilots. Same pattern emerges for Captains as well.

  • Breeze Airways First Officers: $62,000 by year six

  • JetBlue First Officers: $117,000 by year six

  • Breeze Airways Captains: $94,000 by year six

  • JetBlue Captains: $182,000 by year six


The significant wage difference may be in anticipation of the economic recovery process ahead. Starting up a new airline in a global pandemic is certainly difficult.

Also, Breeze Airways may be a good solution for a pilot who only wants to rack up 55 hours each month with a lighter workload.

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