Two Iranian pilots getting ready for takeoff

Economic Turmoil Drives Iranian Pilots to Seek Work Abroad

Sunday, 05/19/2024

Iran's economic crisis is forcing a significant number of Iranian pilots to leave their jobs and seek better opportunities abroad.

The flight of talent includes 47 pilots from a private sector airline and 64 from the national carrier, Iran Air, as reported by the Etemad daily on Sunday.

“Before sanctions intensified in 2017, a pilot's average salary in Iranian airlines was about $8,000, but due to the plummeting national currency and the increasing economic mismanagement, their monthly earnings have drastically dropped to around $1,000. In contrast, pilots in neighboring regional airlines earn up to $14,000, depending on their flight experience,” wrote Etemad.

Over one third of Iranians now live under the poverty line with millions of middle class Iranians also now plunged into an economic catastrophe.

In a further illustration of the dire economic conditions, Ahmadreza Ameri from the Passenger Transport Companies Union highlighted in an ILNA interview in September that many highly educated professionals, including pilots, acquire commercial drivers' licenses as a potential route to migrate abroad.

Recent reports reveal a continued rise in emigration from Iran, driven by political unrest, economic instability, systemic corruption, and the harsh impacts of international sanctions. The USA hosts the largest Iranian expatriate community, with over 500,000 Iranian-born residents, followed by Canada, Germany, Turkey, and Sweden.

The mass exodus of skilled professionals, including teachers, doctors and nurses from Iran not only underscores the critical state of the Iranian economy but also poses a severe threat to the country's future as it continues to lose valuable human capital.

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