US Air Force increases pay for pilots as critical shortage continues

On Sunday, Air Force pilots are set to receive their first incentive pay increase since 1999.

The initiative, designed to attract and retain pilots at a time when numbers are dwindling, allocates higher “flight pay” to aviators across the board and reduces the steps necessary to move up on the incentive pay table. The maximum rate will be $1,000 per month for those with more than 12 years of aviation service.

Incentive pay for pilots with less than six years of service hasn’t been increased since 1980.

Under the new plan, those Air Force officers would be able to make up to $700 per month.

The pay incentives go into effect on Oct. 1 and are effective for both officer and enlisted aviators, according to the Air Force.

The increase was announced in August as one feature of a three-part initiative to attract more pilots to the service. The other two initiatives include an expansion of the 2017 Aviation Bonus Program to include non-contracted and contract-expired pilots, which began in early August, and another program to bring retired pilots back to fill critical-rated staff positions, which began on Aug. 11.

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