Best Paying Jobs in Air Freight/Delivery Services

Guides · 5 min read · Aug 17, 2022
Best Paying Jobs in Air Freight/Delivery Services

Aviation has become the prominent means of transportation in the entire globe with a whopping number of direct jobs exceeding 11.3 million. The number of indirect, induced, and catalytic jobs are estimated to be 87.7 million. The aviation industry when taken as a whole is a combination of a multitude of branches. Among them, air freight delivery services is a dynamic field of work that inherits a large number of opportunities. Through this article, we attempt to reveal the highest paying jobs in air freight delivery services.

A world full of packages

When did you receive your last package? Cannot be too long! Package delivery keeps the world moving – there were 131 billion parcels shipped worldwide in 2020. China continues to dominate the industry to no one’s surprise with the boom of e-commerce.

Air freight delivery secured its share in the global freight industry with a whopping figure of 231,342 million Cargo Tonne-Kilometres (CTK) in 2021.

Source: DHL
Image source: DHL

Figures that hold promise

Yet to improve cargo load factor

Air freight delivery services operate at a load factor of around 50% allowing more room for future improvement. As per the figures, the demand for air freight delivery services will escalate significantly creating more well paying jobs within the industry.

The boom in E-commerce

As per the IATA, e-commerce contributes to a sizeable share of 15% of total air freight carried in 2019. With a 30% year-on-year growth in the e-commerce market, more air cargo should be lifted in the coming years.

During the pandemic, many e-commerce suppliers changed their course to cater to new consumer and market trends. E-commerce sales skyrocketed to 4.4 trillion USD globally in 2021 and are predicted to reach 7.4 trillion USD by 2025 boosting air freight delivery services in correlation.

The aforementioned data prove the pivotal value of air freight delivery services at the moment and the formidable position it is going to achieve in the coming years. That said, you can kickstart a career in the air freight industry with zero hesitation. Here is a curated list of the best-paying jobs in the air freight industry.

1. Air freight pilot

To no one’s surprise, pilots rank top among high-paying jobs. Despite a pilot flying cargo flights or passenger flights, the duties remain almost the same. Most airlines expect a bachelor’s degree or a high school diploma along with the necessary flight training from cargo pilots and co-pilots. The median salary for a cargo pilot averages around $100,000.

According to Boeing, the world’s freighter fleet is expected to increase by 70% by 2035 making the total number of freighter airplanes count to 3,010. This is firm evidence to prove future freighter pilot demand.

2. Air traffic controller

Being an air traffic controller is stressful, but the job is vital as they are responsible for keeping all air traffic at safe distance. There are no specified air traffic controllers solely for air freight delivery services – an air traffic controller overlooks all traffic under their region to smoothen flight operations. With the increasing air traffic in the coming years, opting to become an air traffic controller is a win-win situation. The salary varies from $50,000 to $130,000 depending on the complexity of the work.

3. Aircraft maintenance mechanic

Just like the aforementioned high-paying jobs, an aircraft maintenance mechanic inherits a six-figure salary – a median salary of $50,000 to $100,000 which depends on the experience and scope of work. The mechanic is responsible for keeping the freighter airworthy by inspecting flight controls, aircraft structure, hydraulic systems, and avionics. Good knowledge of the loading and unloading mechanisms of the freighter is also a necessity for a freighter mechanic. If the air freight delivery services are provided by the company via helicopters, having certified for helicopter maintenance would definitely be an added advantage.

Being an aircraft mechanic shoulders a heavy responsibility as the safety of passengers (if any), pilots, and flight attendants are in his hands. So they work closely with aircraft systems to make sure nothing is amiss and the aircraft is ready for the next takeoff.

The tail of a DHL cargo airplane.

4. Freight Agents

Cargo or freight agents are the backbone of air freight delivery services – they undertake the most demanding job of the entire process by handling each kilo of cargo passing through the airport. Cargo agents are responsible for shipping the preplanned shipments on the respective aircraft. The cargo agents prepare the required documentation for customs clearance before each flight. On some occasions, they are responsible for contacting customers on behalf of the company to verify missing information about the logistics. Once the aircraft arrives, freight agents monitor the loading process to ensure all the enlisted cargo has been loaded on the airplane.

Additionally, cargo agents should possess sound knowledge of dangerous goods and computer literacy for entering data on specially-designed software. A freight agent receives an average salary of $40,000 to $80,000.

5. Flight attendants

Just like on usual passenger airlines, flight attendants are not ubiquitous on air freight delivery services. In most cases, only the captain and the co-pilot will be there for the entire plane. For flights exceeding a certain threshold, there will be a relief crew. During the pandemic, many airlines opted to use their passenger airplanes for cargo transportation. In instances when the cargo is loaded into the cabin, a certain number of cabin crew members were taken onboard.

As it is extremely rare to find cabin crew directly attached to air freight delivery services, we are giving the salary figure of a flight attendant working for a passenger airline- the median salary will be around $80,000.

6. Air cargo manager

In some companies, the same post is titled customer program manager, transportation manager, or head of air freight. As the title suggests, the title holder is responsible for tracking air freight delivery, calculating labor statistics, evaluating customer satisfaction, and overlooking all the processes running in the cargo wing and the related field.

The average salary is estimated to be $100,000 and a bachelor’s degree in shipping and logistics will come in handy. Usually, air freight delivery services would hire air cargo managers with at least a few years of experience.

7. Flight dispatcher

Assists in flight planning and the coordination of all ground operations prior to departure of a flight. Possessing sound knowledge of weather conditions is a must for a flight dispatcher. On the other hand, as academic qualifications, a high-school diploma or a bachelor’s degree may be required along with specialized training to work as a flight dispatcher.

The average salary for a flight dispatcher is around $60,000 which may be subject to changes under various factors.

MASkargo cargo aircraft travelling down a runway, ready for take off.

The grasp

Here we listed 7 best-paying jobs within the air freight delivery services backed by current and predicted figures to give you the best possible opportunity. As elaborated in the first half of the article, all these jobs in air freight delivery services are going to absorb thousands of young professionals from all around the globe. Now it is down to you, play your part and be ready for the big action!

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Eglė Bartaševičiūtė
A passionate traveler and an avid aviation enthusiast bringing you the most well-founded, accurate and up-to-date industry content.

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