The U.S. Air Force is addressing its own pilot shortage with two programs “designed to keep aviators in uniform,” according to the Air Force Times. Air Force pilots can now earn up to $50,000 in annual bonus pay under the plans.
Air Force spokesperson Captain Rachel Salpietra said that eligible aviators signing new contracts this year will earn an extra $15,000 to $50,000 annually for three to 12 years. That would come to as much as $600,000 in bonus pay over the course of their new commitment. There is also the possibility of lump-sum payments of $100,000 or $200,000 up front, “depending on their job and how long they remain in the service,” according to the publication. The offer extends to pilots of both manned and remotely piloted aircraft as well as air battle managers and combat systems officers with initial service commitments expiring in fiscal 2023.
Under a new congressionally mandated initiative dubbed the “Rated Officer Retention Demonstration Program,” USAF pilots have another option: “If their contracts are set to end between fiscal 2024 and 2026, they can tack another four years onto the end of that commitment and nab $50,000 in bonuses per year—or $200,000 in total,” according to the Air Force Times report. The program was mandated by Congress as a means of enticing pilots to stay with the service as opposed to taking airline jobs.
USAF training and readiness director Major General Albert Miller said, “These incentives are necessary to maintain that talent and competitiveness with our pacing challenge.”