Passenger airline employment climbs in July

21st Sep 2011
Passenger airline employment climbs in July

U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 2.4 percent more workers in July 2011 than they did in July 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) has reported.

This is the eighth consecutive increase in full-time equivalent employee (FTE) levels for the scheduled passenger carriers from the same month of the previous year. FTE calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the July FTE total of 387,038 for the scheduled passenger carriers was 8,978 more than that of July 2010 and the highest employment number since June 2009. This eighth consecutive monthly increase in FTE levels for the scheduled passenger carriers from the same month of the previous year follows declines that began in February 2008.

Of the network airlines, only Alaska Airlines and United Airlines decreased employment from July 2010 to July 2011. Delta Air Lines reported 5.0 percent more FTEs in July 2011 than in July 2010, the largest increase among the network carriers. US Airways followed Delta with a 2.5 percent increase. Network airlines operate a significant portion of flights using at least one hub where connections are made for flights to down-line destinations or spoke cities.

All the low-cost carriers reported more FTEs in July 2011 than in July 2010 except for Allegiant Air, which reported a 5.5 percent decrease. The low-cost carriers with more reported FTEs are Virgin America Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, AirTran Airways and Southwest Airlines.


Among the regional carriers, only ExpressJet Airlines, Mesa Airlines, Horizon Air, Mesaba Airlines, Comair, and GoJet Airlines reported reduced employment levels compared to last years.

Scheduled passenger airline categories include network, low-cost, regional and other airlines.

Carrier Groups: The six network airlines employed 67.6 percent of the scheduled passenger airline total in July, the seven low-cost carriers employed 17.4 percent and the 17 regional carriers employed 13.7 percent.

Top employers by group: Delta employed the most FTEs in July among the network airlines, Southwest employed the most FTEs among low-cost airlines, and American Eagle Airlines employed the most FTEs among regional airlines. Five of the top six employers in the industry are network airlines.


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