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How Much Malaysian Commercial Pilots Earn & Ranks Explained

by Visnu

Pilots hold a certain number of stripes upon their shoulders and jacket sleeves. These are referred to as epaulets and the number of stripes typically dictates a pilot’s seniority within an airline. Traditionally it can be said that one stripe equates to a Second Officer (SO), a second stripe meaning First Officer (FO), the third identifying a Senior First Officer (SFO) and the final sought after stripe being reserved for the Captain.

A captain occupies the left-hand seat, is the most senior ranking member of the crew aboard aircraft, and holds the ultimate legal responsibility for the safety of a given flight.

The pay range displayed is calculated for an average of 80 Sectors and 80 hours of flying.




At flight school, cadet pilots could wear any number of stripes depending on the choosing of that specific fleet. Cadet will often wear 1 stripe when they hold a single-engine rating and then 2 stripes once their Instrument Rating (IR)/twin engine is completed. Once the cadet enters the airline for line training, he will be issued with one stripe. Which means still under training. Line training usually takes up to 6 months. A cadet wears 1 stripe.




Not All Airlines use the role of Second Officer. Malaysian LCC uses the term Junior first officer. This means he is a pilot with fewer flying hours usually up to 1500 flying hours and unfreeze ATPL. The Second Officer or the Junior first officer usually wear 2 stripes depending on the airline. Some Junior First Officers are automatically issued 3 stripes from their day of joining which I feel its a bit too much, whereas some start with 2 and only get 3 when they are promoted to Senior First Officer. Starting from 1500 hrs up to 5000 hours. A junior first officer wears 2 stripes on uniforms.



Generally speaking, a Senior First Officer is someone who has over approximately 1,500 hours of total flight time. Some airlines may have additional requirements, such as holding a full ATPL or being almost ‘command ready’ which is an airline’s way of saying they have the ability to be promoted to Captain but are waiting for a position to become available.

Anyone other than the rank of Captain or Training Captain is sometimes referred to as the ‘Co-Pilot’.A Senior First Officer wears 3 stripes on their uniform.




The Captain (sometimes referred to as ‘Pilot’) is ultimately in charge of the aircraft, it’s crew and occupants unless they are flying with a Training Captain (where the Training Captain would be in charge).

The Captain wears 4 stripes on their uniform.




Air Asia: Latest pay scale 2019

Malaysia Airlines:






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aisyah December 23, 2020 - 1:37 pm

i’ve read about the salary of junior first officer/second officer. it is about rm400. is it true?

Visnu December 23, 2020 - 1:38 pm

Not true

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