How Many Hours Does a FedEx Pilot Work?

Fedex Aircraft

FedEx has one of the largest fleets of cargo airplanes, with around 6,000 pilots.

These pilots work all year to provide smooth courier services worldwide, but have you ever wondered what it is like to be a FedEx pilot? How many hours do they work?


A FedEx pilot has to work five days a week, from Monday to Friday or Tuesday to Saturday.

In addition to the flying hours, their work hours include offloading and preflighting as well.

An average pilot has to fly:

  • 8 hours a day
  • 75 hours a month
  • 700 hours a year

Read on to find out what it takes to be a FedEx pilot, how many hours they work, and which factors determine their total working hours.

Total Working Hours of a FedEx Pilot

Pilots At Work

Since emerging in 1971 with the idea of time-sensitive delivery services, FedEx has come a long way and now leads in the game of courier services.

They have one of the largest fleets of cargo airlines. The only difference is that they fly packages instead of passengers.

This huge fleet has 6,000 highly qualified pilots working globally who are provided with special training and resources to ensure smooth operations.

Anyone interested in knowing about the life of a pilot at FedEx might have a few questions about this position.

Some of the normal questions might be: how much they get paid, how many hours a pilot works, what it takes to qualify as one, and many more.

Today, we will discuss one of these questions — how many hours does a FedEx pilot work?


Pilot During Preflight

Working as a pilot at FedEx involves more than just flying. They are also responsible for preflighting the plane one hour before the departure to ensure it is fit enough to carry the load.

Once they land at the destination, it’s a part of their job to ensure that the cargo is offloaded without any problems.

This preflight routine includes assigning the aircraft, checking the fuel load, confirming the air route, and addressing possible maintenance discrepancies.

It takes around fifteen to twenty minutes, as engineers already check it beforehand; the only job of a pilot is to double-check for extra safety.

After preflighting, the pilot has to supervise the loading of cargo to ensure it stays within the recommended weight limit.

The pilot also has to review and sign the paperwork to cross-check and confirm that everything is smooth. This includes reviewing dangerous goods.

After it’s done, the pilot is ready to de-ice (if required) the plane and start the engine.

In addition to flight hours, all these tasks are also a part of the pilot’s work hours.

Flying Hours

Pilot Flying A Plane

The number of flight hours can vary depending on the destination and route. The usual work schedule of a FedEx pilot is five days on and two days off.


FedEx pilots are usually required to work from Monday to Friday or Tuesday to Saturday, fulfilling their five working days with two offs.

Let’s have a detailed look at these flying hours by breaking them down into daily, monthly, and yearly segments.

Daily Hours

A FedEx pilot can fly for 8 hours in a 24-hour period. If there is a co-pilot, they can extend it to 10 hours. These hours can fluctuate according to a specific flight’s situation, route, and regulations.

The pilots are also required to rest for a minimum of 16 hours after one flight.

Monthly Hours

A FedEx pilot has a flight time of around 75 hours every month which can be relaxed up to 100 hours.

Yearly Hours

If we look at the total flight hours for the whole year, a pilot flies an average of 700 hours. They are not supposed to exceed the limit of 1,000 hours in a 12-month period.


A Hotel Room

In most cases, the pilot has to carry the cargo from the base to the destination and return to the base as soon as the cargo is unloaded.

Sometimes a pilot is required to load the cargo on returning flight from outstation back to the main base. In this case, the pilot has to stay at the outstation for a few hours.

During this waiting period, the pilot is free to leave the airport, and FedEx also arranges a cab and hotel for them.

The duration of this break between arrival and backhaul flights varies according to the route and situation of the cargo.

Most pilots utilize these hours and go shopping, work out at the gym, or grab lunch.



Most of the pilots at FedEx start as reserve pilots, known as floaters. These pilots are held on standby to replace the actual pilot of the flight in case they call in sick or don’t show up. There are two types of floaters, “hot standby” and “cold standby.”

In hot standby, a pilot has to report to the airport before the first flight of the day and wait until the last flight of the day takes off. Airlines follow this safety protocol, which ensures an additional pilot is available in case the scheduled pilot does not show up.

On the contrary, the pilot is not required to show up at the airport in cold standby. If a pilot is needed, the airlines will inform him no later than a night before the flight.

The pilot will have plenty of short stays during the week as a floater. You can report to the airport, and if no extra pilot is required, you’re done for the day and cleared to head back home.

Once you complete one year working as a floater, you become eligible for reserve week, where you can get one week off for every six weeks of duty.

If the airlines require your service during your off days, you’ll be paid extra for each day worked. There are no fixed hours for floaters, and the schedule may vary according to the requirements.


Working as a pilot at FedEx has some great benefits. You can work as a floater at the beginning of your employment, where you get an easy working routine with ample free time.

After you rise in the ranks, you will have the flexibility to choose the schedule of your choice, and two personal floaters will be readily available to fill in for you whenever required.

An average FedEx pilot has to work five days a week with eight hours of flight time within a 24-hour period. These working hours of a pilot not only include flight time, but they also have to follow preflighting and offloading routines.

In backhaul cases, they get a few hours of free time for themselves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can FedEx Pilots Choose Their Own Hours?

In the early years of employment, the pilot has to follow the schedule communicated by the company.

As their rank increases, so does their flexibility in choosing working hours. The choice of working hours is subject to seniority and availability as long as they complete the benchmark for the required working hours.

How Much Free Time Do FedEx Pilots Have?

The free time for a FedEx pilot depends on their rank, route, and type of employment. As a reserve pilot, you have plenty of free time during the week because you are only required to fill in for a missing pilot.

If all the regular pilots are available, you are done for the day and can head back home.

In the case of backhaul flights, the pilot has plenty of free hours at the outstation and can use them as desired.

How Many Vacations Do FedEx Pilots Get?

A FedEx pilot earns 1 hour of paid time off for every 20 hours on duty. The important thing to note here is that they must inform the management two weeks before taking an absence.

As pilots work their way up and increase their ranks, they can get two personal floaters who can fill in for them if needed.

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