Airline Sales Executive Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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Get the truth about an airline sales executive's salary, education requirements and career prospects. Read the job duties and see the pros and cons of becoming an airline sales executive.
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Pros and Cons in a Career as an Airline Sales Executive

Airline sales executives work closely with top executives to ensure the financial success of the company. Take a look at the pros and cons charts below to learn more about becoming an airline sales executive.

Pros of Becoming an Airline Sales Executive
Above-average earning potential (median annual wage in May 2014 was $110,660)*
Variety of job duties (management, customer service, sales, etc.)*
High-ranking position within company*
Average projected job growth (8% from 2012-2022)*

Cons of Becoming an Airline Sales Executive
Requires college degree and experience in aviation field**
May require long work hours*
Travel may be a normal part of the job**
Requires high level of responsibility and potential stress*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **CareerBuilder.com.

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Airline sales executives build relationships with customers and help to establish business connections for the airline. In this career, you'll manage customer files and maintain customer accounts. You'll also work with top executives to create plans for long-term profits. In order to reach sales goals, you will help with developing sales tactics and marketing materials. Increasing the market share of the company and monitoring competitiveness are also part of your job duties.

You may be required to attend meetings with clients or executives to present sales and marketing information. Attending to the needs of customers may mean traveling to various destinations around the world. You may have to work odd hours, which could include evenings and weekends, possibly even holidays if you're traveling. No matter what location you are working at, you'll likely be required to dress in business attire and maintain a professional attitude when dealing with customers and representing the company.

Essential skills and qualities needed for this career include:

  • Leadership abilities
  • Management skills
  • Sales knowledge
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to work under stress and deadlines
  • Professional attitude

Job Growth and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an 8% job growth for sales managers from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also noted that sales managers often have great job stability since they work closely with top executives and are less likely to have their jobs outsourced.

The BLS reported a mean annual wage of $126,040 for sales managers in May 2014. The 10th-75th percentile range earned $53,000-$160,000 with the median earnings being around $110,660.

Career Skills and Requirements

Most employers require at least a bachelor's degree in a business-related field. However, some employers may give preference to candidates who have master's degrees. Experience in sales, management, aviation, and other related fields is usually also required. Employers may want anywhere from 3-10 years of experience. Skills and qualities needed for this career include the following:

  • Customer service skills
  • Public speaking and presentation skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Computer skills
  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Negotiation skills

Job Postings from Real Employers

Job postings from employers in April 2012 showed that they were looking for sales executives with strong leadership skills. Employers stressed the need for candidates to be organized, driven, and focused on gaining market shares. In addition, job postings stated the following:

  • An aviation company in Florida was seeking someone knowledgeable about aviation equipment and with skills in delivering presentations.
  • A civil aviation company in Texas wanted to hire someone with a proven track record of leadership and the ability to increase market shares.
  • An aero maintenance company in Florida was looking for someone with 7-10 years of sales experience and knowledge of sales and marketing techniques.

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

Besides gaining the required education and experience, the most important thing you can do to make yourself stand out is to develop your skill set. You may consider taking courses in public speaking, computers, or sales to improve your skills in these areas. Courses many also be taken to learn how to give presentations, provide good customer service, or market products effectively. Taking courses or completing a certificate program can allow you to master the skills that employers look for when making hiring decisions.

Alternative Career Paths

Alternative career paths may be something to consider if you're unsure whether a career as an airline sales executive works for you. The high-stress nature of the job and the requirements for regular travel is not for everyone. Some possible career options you may consider include travel agent and market research analyst.

Travel Agent

A related career that requires less education and no travel is that of a travel agent. Travel agents arrange plans for clients who are taking a trip. You may set up lodging, book airline tickets, and purchase tickets for events the clients may attend while on their trips. A high school diploma is the minimal education required. The BLS reported a 10% job growth for 2010-2012, and the mean annual salary was reported as $35,700 in May 2011.

Market Research Analyst

A career option that has a better job growth outlook and requires the same education as an airline sales executive is a career in market research analysis. Market research analysts study market conditions to determine the success of sales in a specific market area. As an analyst, you'll help your company to make product, sales, and marketing decisions. A bachelor's degree is usually required for this career. A 41% job growth was projected by the BLS. The BLS also reported a mean annual salary of $67,100, as of May 2011.

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Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • M.S. - Internet Marketing
  • M.S. - Entertainment Business
  • BS - Internet Marketing - Certificate
  • B.S. - Music Business

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Kaplan University

  • MBA: Marketing
  • BSBA in Marketing
  • Associate: Business Admin.

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Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Marketing
  • Doctor of Business Admin - Management
  • MBA - Marketing
  • Master of Business Admin - General Business

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Management
  • BS - Marketing
  • BS - Business Management

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Colorado Christian University

  • Business Administration, MBA
  • Marketing and Sales, B.S.
  • Marketing and Sales, A.S.

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Saint John's University

  • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

  • Accelerated Master of Business Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

University of the Southwest

  • Doctor of Business Administration
  • MBA - Marketing
  • MBA - Self-Designed

What is your highest level of education?