Air traffic controllers in Spain make how much?!?

Check out this interesting Times article about air traffic controller pay in Spain. There’s no doubt in my mind that air traffic controllers should be well paid. They have ridiculously stressful and high pressure jobs and should be compensated accordingly. But check out how much they make in Spain:

Of 2,300 controllers, ten were paid between €810,000 (£725,000) and €900,000 last year. A further 226 were paid between €450,000 and €540,000 and 701 were paid between €270,000 and €360,000.

The average basic salary is €200,000 but most double or triple this amount by working overtime.

That almost makes executive compensation here in the US look reasonable….

(Tip of the hat to Alex)

Filed Under: Media
  1. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my air traffic controllers working a lot of overtime. I want them alert and rested. Well paid, yes, but not sucking the system dry with overtime–and making for dangerous conditions in so doing.

  2. I think you are looking at this the wrong way. There must be a severe shortage of people willing to work as an ATC if there is that much overtime available and have to pay an average base of €200k.

    There is a big difference between a job where lives depend on your paying attention for your entire workday, and spending your work day in meetings, being wined and dined by vendors and figuring out how to manipulate the stock price to your best advantage.

    I am pretty sure if you want to be an ATC, you pay for the training, join the union, apply for the job, and pray you don’t burn out immediately. The money is there just waiting for you.

  3. A number of police officers, fire fighters, and health care staff reach amazingly high annual pays here in the US as well, thanks to overtime. You’d think their government agencies would just hire more staff instead of paying through the nose for overtime. Example:

    The claim that most double or triple this amount (the 200,000 Euro base salary) by working overtime” doesn’t seem correct given the other numbers offered in the article.

  4. Wow, I definitely shouldn’t have gone into medicine… 200,000 Euros a year without overtime is more than most primary care physicians make here!

  5. I know one guy working ATC in Spain. I knew he made a lot but not that it was this much. They don’t work a lot of hours to get the base salary (2 or 3 days a week, 8 hour shift), that’s why they can work so much overtime and the overtime pays alot, read some where 1800 euros for 8 hours. With these salaries there are lots of interest in these jobs, but the union controls the ATC school. In addition, 7 weeks paid vacation, retire at 52 (with 80% of base salary). Not bad.

  6. I am really sorry for this, but i must deny that numbers of salary in Spain. My basic salary as Air Traffic Controller is over 50,000 euros and working another 430 hours per year I totally earn 83,000 euros.

    The spanish gov. is trying to sell AENA ( spanish airports and air navigation ) and lying to the society to avoid attention of that.

  7. To the Spanish Controller: Is your basic salary of 50,000 gross or net? What airport do you work at? Why will the government come up with those high salaries, if they are not true.?

  8. I just worked out the math for the remaining 1363 employees (59% of staff) that don’t have their salary listed in the articles. In order for the average salary to be 200k euros, the remaining 1363 employees would have to average 94k euros. That means that 59% of the air traffic controllers average about 94k euros per year which doesn’t seem so unreasonable. I think that includes overtime as well so the newspapers definitely put a bit of a slant to things implying the controllers are a greedy bunch. Seems like a few at the top are making the big coin. Once again the math tells the truth.

  9. I don´t believe a bit the Spanish controler. What would he say? Obviously ,not the truth. They lead a privileged life, with a good salary and working conditions that more than a Spanish citizen (and not Spanish ones) would love to have. So, don´t complaint when amounts of people are triying to survive from this economic crisis.

  10. I am an air traffic controller in the USA. I make roughly 220K USD net each year with some overtime. However, I am a senior controller and I work in the busiest approach control on the planet. Take it for what it is.

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