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BTS: US passenger airline employment up

BTS: US passenger airline employment up

US scheduled passenger airlines employed 4.3 percent more workers in September 2016 than in September 2015, the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today.

September was the highest monthly total (414,591) since July 2005 (414.923) and was the 35th consecutive month that US scheduled passenger airline full-time equivalent (FTE) employment exceeded the same month of the previous year.


Month-to-month, the number of FTEs rose 0.1 percent from August to September. Scheduled passenger airline categories include network, low-cost, regional and other airlines.

The four network airlines that collectively employ two-thirds of the scheduled passenger airline FTEs reported 2.6 percent more FTEs in September 2016 than in September 2015. United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines increased FTEs from September 2015. Month-to-month, the number of network airline FTEs was virtually unchanged from August to September.

The network airlines employed 5.5 percent more FTEs in September 2016 than in September 2012. Network airlines operate a significant portion of their flights using at least one hub where connections are made for flights to down-line destinations or spoke cities.

The six low-cost carriers reported 10.7 percent more FTEs in September 2016 than in September 2015. Allegiant Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Virgin America and Southwest Airlines increased FTEs from September 2015. Month-to-month, the number of low-cost airline FTEs rose 0.6 percent from August to September.  The six low-cost airlines employed 21.2 percent more FTEs in September 2016 than in September 2012. Low-cost airlines operate under a low-cost business model, with infrastructure and aircraft operating costs below the overall industry average.

The 12 regional carriers reported 2.9 percent more FTEs in September 2016 than in September 2015. Nine regional airlines – Republic Airlines, Compass Airlines, PSA Airlines, Mesa Airlines, Endeavor Air, GoJet Airlines, Envoy Air, SkyWest Airlines, and Horizon Air – increased FTEs from September 2015. The others reported decreases. Month-to-month, the number of regional airline FTEs fell 0.6 percent from August to September. The 12 regional carriers reporting in September 2016 employed 0.8 percent fewer FTEs in September 2016 than the 15 carriers reporting in September 2012. Regional carriers typically provide service from small cities, using primarily regional jets to support the network carriers’ hub and spoke systems.

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