From baggage handlers to pilots, here's how much everyone who works in air travel makes

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  • The Bureau of Labour Statistics provides data on wages and employment in the air transportation industry.
  • Airports and airlines employ a wide variety of workers, and salaries range from around the median wage to very high paying.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Airports and airlines employ a wide variety of workers, and salaries range from around the median wage to very high-paying.

The Bureau of Labour Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics program offers data on employment and wages across different occupations and industries.

According to that report, there were about a half-million Americans employed in the air transportation industry in May 2018, the most recent year for which data is available.

Airline jobs tend to be fairly high-paying. The median annual wage for an employee in the air transportation industry was $US60,550, well above the overall median wage of $US38,640.

Here are all the occupations for which at least 5% of air transportation industry establishments reported having employees, ranked from lowest to highest wage, along with their median annual pay and the number of people in that job:


23. Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers earn a median of $US36,880 a year, and 40,500 are employed in the air transportation industry.


22. Secretaries and administrative assistants earn a median of $US39,660 a year, and 1,810 are employed in the air transportation industry.


21. Office clerks earn a median of $US41,110 a year, and 2,170 are employed in the air transportation industry.

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20. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks earn a median of $US43,950 a year, and 1,530 are employed in the air transportation industry.

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19. Cargo and freight agents earn a median of $US44,630 a year, and 7,590 are employed in the air transportation industry.

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18. Customer service representatives earn a median of $US47,620 a year, and 15,520 are employed in the air transportation industry.

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17. Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks earn a median of $US50,680 a year, and 67,740 are employed in the air transportation industry.

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16. Stock clerks and order fillers earn a median of $US52,880 a year, and 4,960 are employed in the air transportation industry.


15. Flight attendants earn a median of $US56,230 a year, and 116,770 are employed in the air transportation industry.


14. Services sales representatives earn a median of $US61,200 a year, and 3,470 are employed in the air transportation industry.

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13. Aircraft cargo handling supervisors earn a median of $US61,860 a year, and 3,150 are employed in the air transportation industry.


12. First-line supervisors of transportation and material moving workers earn a median of $US64,490 a year, and 1,950 are employed in the air transportation industry.

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11. First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers earn a median of $US68,750 a year, and 9,340 are employed in the air transportation industry.


10. Maintenance and repair workers earn a median of $US70,510 a year, and 2,390 are employed in the air transportation industry.

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9. Accountants and auditors earn a median of $US73,120 a year, and 1,130 are employed in the air transportation industry.

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8. Business operations specialists earn a median of $US77,560 a year, and 2,030 are employed in the air transportation industry.

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7. Aircraft mechanics and service technicians earn a median of $US80,470 a year, and 39,760 are employed in the air transportation industry.

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6. Commercial and charter pilots earn a median of $US83,420 a year and 14,770 are employed in the air transportation industry

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5. First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers earn a median of $US88,000 a year, and 4,360 are employed in the air transportation industry.


4. Transportation, storage, and distribution managers earn a median of $US112,020 a year, and 2,330 are employed in the air transportation industry.


3. General and operations managers earn a median of $US114,390 a year, and 3,000 are employed in the air transportation industry.


2. Air-traffic controllers earn a median of $US129,180 a year, and 20,430 are employed by the FAA and other federal agencies.

The overwhelming majority of air traffic controllers in the US are employed by the federal government, rather than private-sector companies in the air transportation industry, and the Bureau of Labour Statistics classifies them as such in the Occupational Employment Statistics Program.


1. Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers earn a median of $US146,880 a year, and 74,180 are employed in the air transportation industry.

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