SQ Pilots’ Pay


Straits Times reported that SIA pilots’ salaries were revealed in the pay dispute court case between SIA and its pilots’ union.

Captains flying Boeing 777 planes take in a median of $271,888 per annum, which excludes allowances. Their First Officers receive a median income of $149,258. First Officers are “junior captains” – they become Captains upon promotion.

According to AskCaptainLim.com, a national airline pilot in the US commands up to US$250,000 per year. According to the same website, a Captain with the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) receives a gross pay of up to RM35,000/mth including allowances.


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  1. andrew,

    frankly speaking here, no bullshit.

    3 years to become an F/O. (fresh out of the oven)

    Yes, it does not mean you have your own CPL, SIA is willing to take you in, that would be a plus in your resume but doesn’t gurantee you a straight in with SQ. Even if you’re an F-16 flyboy and apply for SQ, you will go S3 and train as AB-Initio with the rest of the S3’s.

  2. Hi Little Pilot!

    Thanks for the quick reply!haha fresh out of oven 3 years. Is that a norm among other airlines?

    so having a CPL is just another plus point on your resume but is it so critical to have it? I guess if you can afford it it would be good right? I got my PPL and I am trying to clock more hours do you think this is a good way to beef up my resume? because i dont think i have enough to do a CPL course.

    My friend who is also currently training tells me that there are so many inside who have ZERO flight hours. Did you have any hours before you applied for your company?

    Thank you
    Best regards

  3. oh i think i forgot to put in a sentence in my previous reply. I have my PPL and I am trying to get alot of my friends to fly with me to clock up more hours do you think thats a good idea? You think SIA will see that as something?

    Best regards

  4. Hi Andrew

    Just imagine. After going through all these and spending so much money, SIA is not taking you in. What will you do?

    Best Rgds,
    Big Boy

  5. Hey andrew,

    It will be good for your logbook, but then again, you have to look at it this way, 2 years down the road, SQ will change, RSAF will change, things will change, new schemes for pilots, new this and that.

    They can’t possibly push everything into a whole and spend their time looking into an individual’s flight hours before being considered as an ab-initio. What you do need to focus on right now is taking it day by day, doesn’t matter bro, there are over 40 races in SQ Tech crew, hundreds who started out only having very little knowledge on aviation, doctors, lawyers, bakers even flight stewards applied for it.. So what counts at the end of the day is whether SQ thinks you are suitable and if that’s who they want to groom to your captaincy..

    Look at it this way, I understand you want to accumulate hours and getting a neat crisp resume, BUT the hindsight is like Big Boy said, what if you don’t make it? But let’s pray for that not to happen alright.. Thing is, with so many hours accumulated, you STILL start from scratch, even Captains and Majors from RSAF, go to SFC everyday and do what the normal ab-initios do..

    Answer the interviewer with confidence, and show them that you have the aptitude and attitude for the job, and maybe even then, they might not think you’re good enough, but that’s how you start off in piloting, it’s a long road, heavy loads to carry but I tell u, it pays off..

    So bottom line here andrew, it really doesn’t matter how much hours u wanna clock and chuck it in your resume, like i said, new schemes for pilots will come out in the later years and the latter will just be overrated once again by hopefuls who want to get in as a cadet.. They know what they’re doing and trust me, they do it how they wanna, not how we wanna. Afterall, we fly for that paycheck every month, but it’s my passion that keeps me coming back to Ops every time, enjoying the sunrise and sunsets, the GE90’s spooling.. Amazing.

    Good luck andrew, I hope this helps u in some way, sorry for the lengthy response, but I just want what’s best for aspiring hopefuls out there..
    Listen to your heart, not what others say, only you can tell for yourself if you’re cut out to be one..

    Safe landings!

  6. Dear Little Pilot,

    I like long replies its gives alot of information and as a newbie in this field I would like all the help I can get. After your reply I understand SIA selection ways alot better. I will not be pursuing my CPL unless i strike 4D or someting ahha. If got too much spare cash why not? haha. However I will continue flying with friends I can find. Not only to clock more hours (whether this is useful or not) but because like your said its our passion. For you its the spinning up for hte GE 90 (is that the same thing as the trent 9000?) for me its the continental engine ahha microscopic compared to yours and the lighting up for the Garmin 1000 flight display.

    I thank you again for all your advice. It has been very useful. It would be great if I could meet any of the professional pilots here and have a drink with them.

    Best regards


  7. dear andrew,

    take it slow alright. No need to rush into this, you have plenty of time.. Patience pays off, it has always been the case for me. If you really want it that bad, then you’ll get it, either way, I worked hard for everything I wanted. I wasn’t from a well to do family, but I told myself my life isn’t over, and I still have lots to prove to society who looked down on people like me, but till this day, I never forget where I came from, I like what I do and I help those who want to do what I do. 🙂

    Good luck andrew, i’m pretty sure you will make it into SQ. Remember, work hard, dont slack off once you’re in training. See you on the triple seven soon andrew!

    Happy sun surfin!

  8. Yes it’s about attitude.

    Someone from Oxford Flying with CPL came for a interview.

    He was all maxed out with fleet infor,tech infor,Co. infor.

    Then they asked him a simple question:What body of water do you fly over when flying to the US from Singapore?.

    Well he was totally thrown off by the question and could not answer!.

  9. Hi everyone!

    Can i just ask, are there any female pilots in SIA that start from scratch (as in start from cadet pilot and go through the whole process? rather than transferring from another airline?

    I am a 23 year old female Singaporean. I hope to graduate from a local uni this May. I dont have any flying experience and I’m 1.60m tall(min req for SIA pilot is 1.65m)

    I have always wanted to be a commercial airline pilot. What are my my chances? =)

  10. Hi Sya, unfortunately, SIA doesn’t recruit female candidates. However, you can try applying with Silkair, or any of the regional budget carriers (do note that only Silkair has a full-ride cadetship program).

    Best of luck with your applications.

  11. Hi Sya,

    Do look out for cadetship opportunities with Silkair, Jetstar and Tiger! They do take in female cadets if they meet their requirements.
    All the best!

  12. Hi everyone, its been great reading all the comments. They really gave me an insight into the flying world. I’m really sad that SIA doesn’t take in female pilots for training.. Why isit that? Is it because of the family responsibilities we might have to face in future and they do not want to train people whom they feel might leave the company? I am really glad to hear that other airlines are recruiting female pilots! It was just shocking to hear that news as I’ve been looking forward to applying for SIA after university. All the best to Andrew and others trying out. Do inform us!

  13. Little Pilot on

    Lucy, the part of leaving is true, you are bonded for 7 years after training, so which is why you see our female pilots are in SilkAir, they do turnaround flights, they come back on the same day, which means more time with family as they might need to cater to their child’s needs.

    A woman is not like a man, in different ways, SIA has it’s own reasons for not hiring females, look at their routes, most of it are medium haulers and long haulers. There are only very few turnaround flights, for example, SIN-JKT and back on the same day to SIN. Get the idea?

    On the other hand, if you have read my previous comments, I mentioned that SIA will have new schemes for their pilots and hopefully we will have females in the SQ line. It’s good to see more females entering and applying as a pilot, some are instructors at SFC, which is extremely rare to see..

    So to all female pilot hopefuls hoping to get into SIA, my advice to you is, try out for other airlines first, gain your hours and get your type rating. After all you guys don’t need to go through National Service and the MINIMUM entry age for Singaporeans is 26 (this is due to RSAF to get the best talent first). Now, you can either fly mid east airlines, which is comparable to other 5 star airlines and they have a modern fleet.

    Remember, it is no guaranty that SIA will never hire females, but just to start off your career as a pilot early, you might want to take the above for consideration. Being a pilot is not about choosing what airlines you want to fly, it’s about your sincerity in it, otherwise forget about it, you can never make it in this line.

  14. Hi everyone its me Andrew again

    Flying has been so much fun now with my PPL ahha no instructor always looking over your shoulder.. FREEDOM!!! haha Its great to bring friends up they help me share the cost and it clocks up hours for me! (professional pilots out there do you think this is useful?)

    Hope everyone had a good Easter Sunday and labor day.

    Also to little pilot and other SIA pilots do you think if i am 24.5 yrs (which i will be in july) with a PPL and degree in chemistry you think SIA will make and exception? or will they not even grant me an interview and say come back in 2 years time?

    Thank you for all the advice and guidance of the pilots here. I am grateful for everyone of them.

    Safe Landings

  15. Little Pilot on


    Go for it, give it a try, you might never know 🙂

    Since a pilot application will take up a few months, once you start your training you should be at least 25 by then, I am sure an exception could be made by the Chief Pilot and the management.

    Good luck for the interviews and stay cool, lay low.

  16. hi all,

    hope someone can help me.I am medically fit with no flying experience.I am currently planning my future as to when,where and how to take my pilot licenses. After graduation with a university degree in engineering aged 24, I have 2 plans.First, is to wait till i am 26 so that i can join SIA cadet pilot programme. Second plan is to join ST Aerospace academy and do my training for around 13K and then join tiger airways or jetstar for my pilot career. The problem is that i wish to bring home a decent income as soon as possible however, SIA programme will take about 2.5 years(WILL BE aged 29.5 by then). ST programme is only 52 weeks but cadets are not guranteed a job upon grduation. My desire is to get into SIA but given the long time period, it somehow discourages me.

  17. Hi doubtful,

    well you know the saying good things comes to those who wait haha.

    I would like to ask you this ST aerospace academy for 13K i am assuming SGD, what kind of training are you getting? And where is the training done?


  18. Hey Andrew,
    Thanks for your response. Depending on one’s career objectives, there are 2 Integrated Airline Pilot Training (IAPT) Program that ST Aerospace Academy offers.
    -IAPT (CASA): Confers the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) flight licenses.
    -IAPT (CAAS): Confers the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) flight licenses.
    The flight training offered include PPL, CPL, MECIR Flight training and ATPL theory. The programme location is Singapore and Australia. Duration will vary from 65-70 weeks.
    It seems that they have recently upgraded their site, hence some information and yet to be posted on the site.
    More information can be found at http://www.staa.com.sg/

  19. Somewhere in the pipeline on

    Hey Doubtful,

    dun mean to splash some VERY cold water on ya, but it ain’t gonna be simply $13k for a CPL. Not even a remote possibility. u prolly read $130k and wif MECIR, ure looking at in excess of $165k. I’m not sure about ST’s program, but that’s what Singapore Flying College will charge for an ME/IR. $13k MIGHT get u a PPL and that’s abt it.

    As for SQ, 2.5yrs is jus a benchmark figure. Normally not so. I’m looking at 4 years. If you’ve really got e passion to fly, then i suggest u join the queue for SQ when you come of age. If not, you jus hafta work very hard and save up, and get ready to starve for a few years clocking the hours.

    Safe Landings

  20. hey everyone,

    Can some please clear my doubts. Is it correct to say that having a PPL will give me an edge over other SIA pilot applicants during the interview. I am asking this because I read this somewhere and i will quote :SIA selects Indians once awhile”. As a Indian, joining SIA has been my dream but I did not receive the opportunity of join SYFC during my schooling days. Hence I am thinking of joining KL intrenational flying academy or singapore flying schools(cost is about 20-30K) and take my PPL before my interview to gain the advantage and show my interest to the interviwers. What do you guys think? Will it work?

    By the way, any pilot-wannabes who have astigmatism? My astigmatism is increasing from 50 to 100 and the SIA requirement is 125. Anyone knows any good cure for this eye problem other than glasses or daytime contack lenses or surgery?

  21. Hi doubtful,

    I guess if you look at it from this perspective having a PPL is an advantage.

    If Guy A and Guy B both has same outstanding degrees but Guy A has real flight experience wouldn’t he stand a better chance? I guess the company would then be more assured that they are spending their money wisely as this Guy A has more aviation experience than Guy B. Guy B might have a PHD but he could at the end of the day really suck at flying.

    Anyway think about it I don’t think there are many Singaporean men who have a good degree result as well as a PPL. So I guess that’s a plus point. Hope the other commercial pilots here agree with me haha if you guys dont please tell me why (don’t mind learning). Of course I am assuming that Guy A and B both do well at the interviews.

    You want to get PPL go malaysia JB 9K SGD can settle already haha thats what my friend did and now his flying for RSAF (transport)

    As for your astigmatism the cure is go to INDIA haha i know sounds stupid but my friend who is now doing a aviation course in Adelaide actually went to India for like a month to laser his eyes sort of like a medical tourist. His got perfect vision now. And I heard its real cheap.

    I have a question for SIA pilots here. The current training fleets are made of of cessnas and pipers right? Which exact model of cessnas and piper are being used can you guys still remember? As I have no hours in a cessna (i know it may seem weird but my flight school no cessna) do you think it will be good to get some hours in some?

    Thank you

  22. Hey Andrew,

    Thanks alot for your response Andrew. To get a higher chance of securing my place in SIA pilot recruitment, i will do my PPL after my degree.

    Assuming that I take my PPL in Malaysia(1-2 months when done on full-time basis), is it possible to convert it to singaporean license and fly in singapore. I know one has to clock a few more hours so as to convert and is that all that I have to do? I am asking because I wish to fly and clock hours in SIngapore before SIA pilot application.

    Btw, I couldn’t find the flying school you were mentioning. Is it Johor FlyingClub or FRAS flying club or something? And Lastly, are there any international or national flying schools in Malaysia that do not require conversion
    to singapore license to fly in singapore.

  23. Hello doubtful,

    Change your name to something happier lar haha.

    wow PPL in 1 to 2 months weather must be very good to you haha. Anyway I did call the CAAS and they said they would convert my licence if i go for some check ride I think. If I am not wrong hte process is more complicated but they were willing to make some exceptions as they based it on the strength of my Australia PPL (which is still current). However if I were you why convert and fly in singapore fly over there for reacreation and clocking of hours isnt it like 50% cheaper? last I checked the exchange rate was 2.4? Unless you are very rich ahha then who cares haha.

    I think its the johor flying club if i am not wrong. Was it at senai airport? Think thats the one. you can add me on facebook on msn. [email protected]

    Best regards

  24. To Searchingfortruth,

    Any means to contact you? emails?
    Its Regarding your search for SIA Pilot
    KELVIN KO? I know him too…..

  25. Pilot Fanatic on

    Hello, I am an 18 year old currently serving my National Service. Becoming a pilot has been my dream and I have decided to join SIA. However I will be apply to SIA at the age of 24-25 after my university education. I am a PR currently and I was initially thinking of taking up citizenship after my NS. However, I learnt that the minimum age to enter SIA is 26 for Singaporeans due to the RSAF. Thus, i was thinking of applying as a PR first and after training when i am around 27 or 28, I will take up citizenship. Is that a good strategy? Haha. As for me, I wish to bring home a decent income as soon as possible and starting a career at around 29 with SIA seems very late. Hence, if I apply with my PR status and probably with a PPL(Probably from a Malaysian flying school but uncertain about this) and a degree, I do have a high chance, right?

    By the way, does anyone know if there any Indian SIA pilots who are PR?(..Just Curious..)

  26. To Searchingfortruth & Dummy,

    Same here with me I also know a guy by that name Kelvin Ko Sq pilot and RSAF for 8 yrs. I am also trying to find him and the truth about him. It’s personal too.

    If you both don’t mind is there anyway I can contact you both.

  27. Why all of you are searching for me on the Internet?

    If you really know me and is personal,just call me.

  28. Hi Kelvin,

    Can I add you on facebook to ask you for advice about joining SIA? Please…. haha

    my email is [email protected]

    Whats yours?

    And yes it would be great to know you personally

    Thank you

  29. It seems everyone is looking for Kelvin Ko. Let’s share pictures and see if we are talking about the same person.

    Other than those looking for a so-called SQ pilot Kelvin Ko, does anyone else reading this know who he is?? Just be careful.

    [email protected]

  30. Hi Everyone Looking for “Capt Kelvin Ko”,

    Just wanted to let you guys, who have been conned or cheated by him in anyway,know that Kelvin Ko is an SIA pilot impersonator and went round cheating many people of lots of money.

    He got arrested recently by the police. His real name is Simon Ko and is a full-time con artists and pilot impersonator.

    Please email me urgently if you need more information and if you’re one of his victims. Hope you can recover your loss. This is not a joke. Be careful with crooks out that.


    [email protected]

  31. I read somewhere that SIA would rather hire someone humble with no flying experience than a big-shot with flying experience. To what extent is this true?

  32. For aspiring Pilot wannabes, the landscape has not changed much in the last decade.

    The best route for Sporean ab-initio to be a commercial airline pilot is via SIA training program. Your training fees are subsidized and the rest loaned from SIA (paid back over 7-10 years upon line duty).

    In the last 2-3 years, other training routes have appeared including Jetstar Program (which for all intent and purpose is not fully managed, except for a portion of the training loan at last phase of training, by Jetstar nor is there a guaranteed job at end of training) and ST Aero (aka private candidate route). For the average Singapore, this cost must more than any local degree education (incl medical degree) and most overseas education. In fact a number of families have to mortgage their apartments to send their sons for private route. There is virtually no loan that you can take for the 2 years of $200k course fees and accomodation.

    For the private candidate, even if you get your CPL or frozen ATPL, you will face a lot of stress and anxiety to secure a FO position with Jetstar, Scoot or Tiger. Unlikely SIA, Silkair, SIA cargo or other foreign premium airlins will hire a private candidate.

    Furthermore you may be required to pay for the type rating (i.e. conversion training). This may be held overseas and can cost between 30k – 50k and another 3 months.

    For those considering the military pilot route, many obstacles also lay ahead. Even if you get your basic wing, you have to be in transport or fighte/bomber track and not rotary. Rotary hours are almost worthless or heavily discounted for commercial pilot conversion. Also as the training philosophy is different and flying hours a quarter compared to commercial pilots, fixed wing pilots may have to start from CPL level and pay for this training. i.e. A 12 year military pilot veteran (Major) can be easily overtaken by a 3 year FO. This Major also has to swallow his pride for the first 3 years out of military into commercial pilot.

    Hence is my view that SIA Pilot offers a wannabe the best route. Once selected, work very very hard for it as this is a golden opportunity.

    Direct intakes for Sporeans are very rare. Direct intake occurs mostly for foreign captains due to lack of commander position for certain aircraft types.

    I got my SFO promotion 6 months ago. I am in my 5th year with Silkair now. Yes, I went thru the SIA cadet pilot route.

  33. Hi Johnny Depp

    Thanks for the insight. I almost went for the CTC interview for Jetstar. I was chopped from SIA Cadet Pilot interview once at Round 1 and another time at Round 2.

    Only a few days prior to interview did I drop the idea for CTC interview. Not only do I have to pay for $400 interview fee and anothe $200+ for medical check, I heard the entire interview process and the training has not much Jetstar involvement. i.e. no guarantee that you will work for Jetstar Asia.

  34. Hi Johnny Depp,

    Thanks for the insightful post of yours. Do you think it will be possible for you to drop me an email where we can then keep in contact and also for me to ask you more questions if you are alright with this.

    My email address is [email protected]

    Really looking forwards to receiving your kind email.

    Many many thanks in advance for your help!

    Regards, Kelvin

  35. To anti-pilots,
    U’re pathetic.. You do not know what it takes to be a pilot. I do not know of any pilot with arrogant attitude.

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