Regionals vs 135 jobs

Sorry in advance for any typos of incorrect English as I type most of these post from my phone. Now to the question I have regarding what I’ve been reading lately regarding some companies like Southern Air who I believe is part 135. It seems currently that they and other 135 companies have a shortage much like the regionals. However, when looking at pay scales from Southern Air where a 1st year FO makes 80/hr compared to places like Envoy where a 1st year FO makes 50/hr wouldn’t it make sense to go to the 135 job, rack up hours, then apply to places such as SWA that might hire you before a legacy does? I understand with a company like Southern Air you aren’t getting travel benefits and such. But would the ability to be a FO on a 737 instead of a CRJ or a 175 be better starting out? Maybe I’m viewing all this in the wrong perspective, but just some questions I had regarding pay for those starting out while I sit here researching more about the industry on a slow night at work.

Southern air is 121 cargo and you would need prior turbine time to get hired.

Anthony, First of all I will be completely honest with you. We are desperately short of Pilots. In the last 2 months we added 2 additional B-777’s, phasing out the 737-400’s for 737-800’s. Our contract? Is an embarrassment to our employees, Imagine a 15 yr Captain on a 777 making less than a Spirit A-320 Captain.
If you meet the minimum requirements, interview and hired you can go into the Southern 777 or 737, if hired by Atlas the 747 or 767 are your choices. You will be welcomed I believe by both Pilot groups and fly some amazing routes and aircraft. Take advantage of the situation, increase your experience and flight time, maybe Atlas/Southern will improve, if not you’ve got the time and experience gained here to make yourself desired by the major airlines…Good Luck

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As the others have pointed out, if you keep reading you will see that Southern Air flies B777 and B737. They require an ATP and a minimum of 500 turbine time. So, your example doesn’t fit the question you’re asking. Bottom line is that major airlines prefer to hire pilots from the regionals. Cargo experience is still valuable, but that alone is unlikely to get you a position at a major.


Thanks guys. Guess I miss the 500 hours Turbune time; which I’m still trying to figure that part out when reading everything. I’ll do more research on what exactly turbine time is. Thanks again and sorry for looking like an idiot, ha.

Edited to ask the dumb question of, when working as a CFI do you not build turbine time? Is a Cessna 172 not turbine time? Again, I apologize for the simple questions.

No turbine time as a CFI out of training, regardless where you go. A 172 is a piston engine. Closer to your car engine than a jet engine. You can get turbine time in a 121 regional jet or 135 turbo-prop.


The Cessna 172 is not a turboprop, it’s a piston engine and therefore you would not build turbine time flying. In theory there’s nothing saying you couldn’t build turbine time flight instructing. The problem is turbine aircraft (both props and jets) are very expensive to fly and maintain so it’s highly unlikely (in fact I’ve never heard of it) you’ll find any flight schools using turbine aircraft for instruction.



Yes, that would make sense, but companies like Southern Air are not hiring pilots with 1,500 hours. They want people with more experience. By the time a pilot qualifies for those kinds of jobs, it usually does not make sense to leave the airline that they are already at.