Employment

September 2017 U.S. Passenger Airline Employment Data

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 3.3 percent more workers in September 2017 than in September 2016, reaching 428,343 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported last week. September was the 46th consecutive month that U.S. scheduled passenger airline FTEs exceeded the same month of the previous year (Tables 1, 2, 3).

September FTEs in thousands (000)

September FTEs in thousands (000)

Month-to-month, the number of FTEs was unchanged from August to September (Table 1A). Scheduled passenger airline categories include network, low-cost, regional and other airlines.  Historical employment data can be found on the BTS web site. 

The four network airlines that collectively employ 64.9 percent of the scheduled passenger airline FTEs reported 2.1 percent more FTEs in September 2017 than in September 2016 (Tables 7, 8, 9). Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines increased FTEs from September 2016. Month-to-month, the number of network airline FTEs fell 0.1 percent from August to September (Table 1A). 

The network airlines employed 8.9 percent more FTEs in September 2017 than in September 2013 (Tables 8, 9). 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 6.8 percent more FTEs in September 2017 than in September 2016 (Tables 10, 11, 12).   Spirit Airlines, Allegiant Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Virgin America and Southwest Airlines increased FTEs from September 2016 (Table 12). Month-to-month, the number of low-cost airline FTEs rose 0.4 percent from August to September (Table 1A). The six low-cost airlines employed 29.5 percent more FTEs in September 2017 than in September 2013 (Tables 11, 12). Low-cost airlines operate under a low-cost business model, with infrastructure and aircraft operating costs below the overall industry average. 

The 11 regional carriers reported 4.3 percent more FTEs in September 2017 than in September 2016 (Tables 13, 14, 15). Seven regional airlines –PSA Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, Envoy Air, Republic Airlines, Horizon Air, Endeavor Air, and GoJet increased FTEs from September 2016. ExpressJet Airlines, Compass Airlines, Air Wisconsin and Mesa Airlines, reported a decrease (Table 15). Month-to-month, the number of regional airline FTEs rose 0.5 percent from August to September (Table 1A). The 11 regional carriers reporting in September 2017 employed 6.7 percent more FTEs in September 2017 than the 15 carriers reporting in September 2013 (Tables 14, 15). Regional carriers typically provide service from small cities, using primarily regional jets to support the network carriers’ hub and spoke systems. 

Carrier Groups: The four network airlines employed 64.9 percent of the 428,343 FTEs employed by all scheduled passenger airlines in September, the six low-cost carriers employed 21.0 percent and the 11 regional carriers employed 12.3 percent (Table 4). In comparison, in September 2006, network airlines employed 65.4 percent of the FTEs, six low-cost carriers employed 17.6 percent and regional carriers employed 14.8 percent (Table 5). 

Top Employers by Group: American employed the most FTEs (100,732) in September among the network airlines, Southwest employed the most FTEs (55,671) among low-cost airlines, and Envoy employed the most FTEs (12,025) among regional airlines. The three airlines with the most FTEs in September – American, United and Delta – employed 61.9 percent of the month’s total passenger airline FTEs (Tables 3, 6). 

Reporting Notes 

Airlines that operate at least one aircraft that has more than 60 seats or the capacity to carry a payload of passengers, cargo and fuel weighing more than 18,000 pounds must report monthly employment statistics. 

The “Other Carrier” category generally reflects those airlines that operate within specific niche markets such as the Hawaiian Islands served by Hawaiian Airlines and Island Air Hawaii.  

 

Most recent 13 months - percent change from same month of the previous year

      
 Network AirlinesLow-Cost AirlinesRegional AirlinesOther AirlinesAll Passenger Airlines **
Sep 2015 - Sep 2016 2.6 10.6 2.9 13.0 4.3
Oct 2015 - Oct 2016 2.7 10.3 0.3 12.7 4.0
Nov 2015 - Nov 2016 2.3 9.8 0.2 13.5 3.7
Dec 2015 - Dec 2016 2.4 9.5 0.2 13.7 3.7
Jan 2016 - Jan 2017 2.3 9.7 1.9 12.7 3.9
Feb 2016 - Feb 2017 2.4 9.4 2.4 11.8 3.9
Mar 2016 - Mar 2017 2.7 9.1 2.0 11.7 4.0
Apr 2016 - Apr 2017 2.6 8.8 2.1 10.7 3.9
May 2016 - May 2017 2.4 8.3 2.5 9.8 3.7
Jun 2016 - Jun 2017 2.5 8.0 2.6 9.4 3.8
Jul 2016 - Jul 2017 2.3 7.3 2.7 8.5 3.5
Aug 2016 - Aug 2017 2.2 7.0 3.3 8.4 3.4
Sep 2016 - Sep 2017 2.1 6.8 4.3 1.6 3.3

Notes: * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.** Includes network, low-cost, regional and other carriers. Other Carriers generally operate within specific niche markets. They are: Hawaiian Airlines, Sun Country Airlines and Island Air Hawaii.See Table 2 for all passenger airlines, Table 7 for Network, Table 10 for Low-Cost and Table 13 for Regional.Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Percent change in FTEs from the previous month

      
 NetworkLow-costRegionalOtherAll
Sep 2016 - Oct 2016 0.2 0.9 -0.1 0.8 0.3
Oct 2016 - Nov 2016 -0.2 0.5 0.0 1.5 0.0
Nov 2016 - Dec 2016 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.1
Dec 2016 - Jan 2017 -0.1 1.0 1.6 0.5 0.4
Jan 2017 - Feb 2017 0.4 0.9 0.4 0.6 0.5
Feb 2017 - Mar 2017 0.8 0.6 -0.3 0.6 0.6
Mar 2017 - Apr 2017 0.3 0.9 0.0 -0.1 0.3
Apr 2017 - May 2017 0.3 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.5
May 2017 - Jun 2017 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.4 0.5
Jun 2017 - Jul 2017 0.0 0.2 0.5 0.1 0.1
Jul 2017 - Aug 2017 -0.1 0.2 0.4 0.8 0.1
Aug 2017 - Sep 2017 -0.1 0.4 0.5 -4.9 0.0

Notes: * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.** Includes network, low-cost, regional and other carriers. Other Carriers generally operate within specific niche markets. They are: Hawaiian Airlines, Sun Country Airlines and Island Air Hawaii.See Table 2 for all passenger airlines, Table 7 for Network, Table 10 for Low-Cost and Table 13 for Regional.Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Percent change compared to same month the previous year

     
Month2014201520162017
January 0.5 1.2 4.1 3.9
February 0.4 1.8 3.8 3.9
March 0.8 1.9 3.9 4.0
April 1.0 2.4 3.6 3.9
May 1.1 2.6 3.7 3.7
June 0.9 3.0 3.9 3.8
July 1.3 2.7 4.3 3.5
August 1.0 3.3 4.3 3.4
September 1.1 3.3 4.3 3.3
October 0.9 4.0 4.0  
November 1.5 3.7 3.7  
December 1.4 3.9 3.7  

Notes: * Includes network, low-cost, regional and other carriers.** Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 3: Scheduled Passenger Airline Full-time Equivalent Employees* by Month 2013 - 2017, September 2017

        
      Percent Change 
  2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2013 - 2017 2016 - 2017
January 380,042  381,819  386,528  402,208  417,833  9.9  3.9 
February 380,414  381,985  388,976  403,917  419,762  10.3  3.9 
March 380,540  383,575  390,817  405,983  422,278  11.0  4.0 
April 380,487  384,265  393,439  407,763  423,747  11.4  3.9 
May 381,372  385,619  395,621  410,338  425,656  11.6  3.7 
June 381,672  385,243  396,973  412,333  427,818  12.1  3.8 
July 381,299  386,243  396,503  413,746  428,209  12.3  3.5 
August 380,486  384,478  397,007  414,242  428,455  12.6  3.4 
September 380,165  384,501  397,326  414,558  428,343  12.7  3.3 
October 381,178  384,700  399,928  415,979       
November 381,224  386,912  401,280  416,046       
December 380,809  386,222  401,440  416,337       
Jan - Sep Average 380,720  384,192  393,688  409,454  424,678  11.5  3.7 
12-Month Average 380,807  384,630  395,487  411,121       

Notes: * Includes network, low-cost, regional and other carriers.** Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 4: Airline Group Full-time Equivalent Employees*, September 2013 - 2017

      
 Network AirlinesLow-Cost AirlinesRegional AirlinesOther AirlinesAll Passenger Airlines**
2013 255,194  69,426  49,546  5,999  380,165 
2014 256,133  71,428  50,574  6,366  384,501 
2015 265,315  76,176  49,231  6,604  397,326 
2016 272,136  84,284  50,677  7,461  414,558 
2017 277,857  90,038  52,871  7,577  428,343 
Percent of Total Passenger Airline Employees in 2017 64.9  21.0  12.3  1.8  100 

Notes: * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.** Includes network, low-cost, regional and other carriers.Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 5: Carrier Group Percent of Total Scheduled Passenger Airline FTEs, September 2017

(September of each year)

     
YearNetwork AirlinesLow-cost AirlinesRegional AirlinesOther Airlines
2006 65.4 17.6 14.8 2.2
2012 67.2 18.1 13.3 1.4
2016 65.6 20.3 12.2 1.8
2017 64.9 21.0 12.3 1.8

Notes: * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.** Includes network, low-cost, regional and other carriers.Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 6: Top 10 Airlines, September 2017

Ranked by Number of Full-Time Equivalent Employees*

     
RankAirlineTotal FTE EmployeesCarrier Group**Top 10 Airlines September 2016
1 American  100,732  Network American 
2 United  82,604  Network United
3 Delta  81,697  Network Delta 
4 Southwest  55,671  Low-cost Southwest
5 JetBlue  17,615  Low-cost JetBlue 
6 Alaska  12,824  Network Alaska 
7 Envoy 12,025  Regional Envoy
8 SkyWest  11,970  Regional SkyWest 
9 Spirit  6,323  Low-cost ExpressJet 
10 Hawaiian 5,827  Other Hawaiian 

Notes: * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time ** See Table 9 for Network, Table 12 for Low-Cost and Table 15 for Regional.Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 7: Network Airline Year-to-Year Change in Full-time Equivalent Employees* from the Previous Year, September 2017

Percent change compared to same month of the previous year

     
 2014201520162017
January 0.4 0.8 3.3 2.3
February 0.1 1.4 3.2 2.4
March 0.6 1.7 2.9 2.7
April 0.4 2.4 2.4 2.6
May 0.5 2.7 2.3 2.4
June 0.3 3.1 2.3 2.5
July 0.4 3.1 2.4 2.3
August 0.1 3.7 2.5 2.2
September 0.4 3.6 2.6 2.1
October 0.3 3.6 2.7  
November 0.4 3.7 2.3  
December 0.8 3.5 2.4  

Notes: 

* Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 8. Domestic Available Seat-Miles (ASMs) on U.S. Airlines, Seasonally-Adjusted, August 2017

Domestic ASMs (seasonally-adjusted) in billions (000,000,000), Scheduled service only

     
 2014201520162017
January 57.2 60.3 63.1 66.4
February 57.9 60.0 64.0 66.4
March 58.8 60.9 64.5 66.6
April 58.3 61.5 64.4 66.9
May 58.2 61.9 64.9 67.2
June 58.4 61.7 65.1 67.8
July 58.7 62.2 65.1 68.2
August 58.7 62.4 65.3 68.4
September 59.1 62.3 65.3  
October 59.6 62.8 65.3  
November 59.7 63.2 65.5  
December 60.3 63.3 65.9  

\Notes: 

Available seat-miles are a measure of the capacity of air passenger transportation. An available seat-mile is equal to one aircraft seat carried one mile.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Segment

Table 9: Network Airline Full-time Equivalent Employees*, September 2013 - 2017

(FTEs for September of each year. Ranked by September 2017 FTEs)

         
RankAirline20132014201520162017Percent Change 
              2013 - 2017 2016 - 2017
1 American (+ US) 90,187  91,497  96,700  99,037  100,732  11.7 1.7
  American 58,876  59,829  96,700  99,037  100,732  71.1 1.7
  US Airways 31,311  31,668  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A 
2 United 82,082  79,064  78,400  81,776  82,604  0.6 1.0
3 Delta 73,445  75,616  79,275  79,996  81,697  11.2 2.1
4 Alaska 9,480  9,956  10,940  11,327  12,824  35.3 13.2
  Total 255,194  256,133  265,315  272,136  277,857  8.9 2.1

Notes: * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time ** American Airlines and US Airways merged and began reporting combined numbers in July 2015. 

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 10: Low-Cost Airline Year-to-Year Change in Full-time Equivalent Employees* from the Previous Year, September 2017

Percent change compared to same month of the previous year

     
 2014201520162017
January 0.3 4.6 7.9 9.7
February 0.7 4.6 8.5 9.4
March 0.8 3.9 9.6 9.1
April 1.5 4.2 10.2 8.8
May 1.8 4.3 10.7 8.3
June 2.2 4.9 11.0 8.0
July 2.5 5.2 11.3 7.3
August 3.0 5.8 11.0 7.0
September 2.9 6.6 10.6  
October 3.8 6.9 10.3  
November 5.2 6.5 9.8  
December 4.4 7.8 9.5  

Notes: 

* Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

 

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 11: Low-Cost Airline Full-time Equivalent Employees* by Month 2013 - 2017, September 2017 

        
 20132014201520162017Percent Change 
            2013 - 2017 2016 - 2017
January 69,465  69,693  72,909  78,638  86,287  24.2  9.7 
February 69,630  70,135  73,351  79,578  87,030  25.0  9.4 
March 69,854  70,384  73,163  80,202  87,532  25.3  9.1 
April 69,677  70,751  73,695  81,180  88,289  26.7  8.8 
May 69,818  71,095  74,167  82,070  88,859  27.3  8.3 
June 69,574  71,074  74,592  82,796  89,392  28.5  8.0 
July 69,510  71,272  74,999  83,481  89,576  28.9  7.3 
August 69,286  71,387  75,549  83,823  89,718  29.5  7.0 
September 69,426  71,428  76,176  84,284  90,038  29.7  6.8 
October 69,496  72,110  77,063  85,033       
November 69,402  73,014  77,783  85,439       
December 69,365  72,399  78,035  85,434       
Jan - Sep Average 69,582  70,802  74,289  81,784  88,525  27.2  8.3 
12-Month Average 69,542  71,229  75,124  82,663       

Export Table DataNotes: 

* Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time 

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 12: Low-Cost Airline Full-time Equivalent Employees*, September 2013 - 2017

(FTEs for September of each year. Ranked by September 2017 FTEs)

         
RankAirline20132014201520162017Percent Change 
              2013 - 2017 2016 - 2017
1 Southwest 45,000  45,569  48,169  52,839  55,434  23.2 4.9
2 JetBlue 12,998  13,456  14,872  16,267  17,615  35.5 8.3
3 Spirit 3,374  3,774  4,410  5,335  6,209  84.0 16.4
4 Allegiant 1,947  2,248  2,620  3,241  3,696  89.8 14.0
5 Frontier 3,550  3,832  2,776  3,181  3,623  2.1 13.9
6 Virgin America 2,417  2,508  2,702  2,960  3,141  30.0 6.1
  Total 69,286  71,387  75,549  83,823  89,718  29.5 7.0

Notes: 

* Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 13. Systemwide Passenger Enplanements on U.S. Airlines, Unadjusted, August 2017

Systemwide (Domestic + International) passenger enplanements (unadjusted) in millions (000,000), Scheduled service only

     
 2014201520162017
January 55.81 57.78 60.81 62.60
February 52.44 54.16 58.49 58.35
March 66.44 68.20 70.56 72.69
April 63.49 65.92 67.24 70.20
May 66.51 68.93 71.51 73.61
June 68.60 71.27 74.50 76.94
July 71.89 75.63 76.88 79.78
August 69.53 72.87 73.45 77.07
September 59.99 63.74 66.47  
October 64.49 68.73 69.54  
November 59.74 64.59 66.59  
December 63.78 66.40 66.93  
8 Mo. Total 514.71 534.76 553.44 571.24
Yr. Total 762.71 798.22 822.97  

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

Table 14. Domestic Passenger Enplanements on U.S. Airlines, Unadjusted, August 2017

Domestic passenger enplanements (unadjusted) in millions (000,000), Scheduled service only

     
 2014201520162017
January 47.96 49.73 52.47 54.09
February 45.51 47.17 51.11 51.05
March 57.76 59.56 61.59 63.69
April 55.25 57.70 58.89 61.04
May 57.89 60.25 62.75 64.38
June 59.26 61.81 64.75 66.68
July 61.76 65.13 66.13 68.54
August 59.76 62.77 63.50 66.63
September 52.53 55.99 58.62  
October 57.08 60.89 61.71  
November 52.58 57.15 59.27  
December 55.49 57.87 58.22  
8 Mo. Total 445.15 464.12 481.19 496.10
Yr. Total 662.83 696.02 719.01  

Notes: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market

Table 15: Regional Airline Full-time Equivalent Employees*, September 2013 - 2017

(FTEs for September of each year. Ranked by September 2017 FTEs)

RankAirline20132014201520162017Percent Change 
RankAirline20132014201520162017Percent Change 
    2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2013 - 2017 2016 - 2017
1 Envoy 11,160  10,972  9,714  10,889  12,025  7.8 10.4
2 SkyWest 9,452  9,830  10,049  10,581  11,970  26.6 13.1
3 YX/S5/RP Combined# 5,725  5,835  5,708  5,122  5,643  -1.4 10.2
  Republic 2,546  3,009  3,066  3,717  5,643  121.6 51.8
  Shuttle America 2,023  2,005  2,642  1,405  N/A  N/A  N/A 
  Chautauqua 1,156  821  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A 
4 ExpressJet 9,037  9,092  7,655  6,567  5,005  N/A  N/A 
5 Endeavor 4,036  3,666  3,251  3,695  3,992  -1.1 8.0
6 Horizon 2,689  2,829  3,179  3,273  3,574  32.9 9.2
7 PSA 1,075  1,574  2,295  2,660  3,141  192.2 18.1
8 Mesa 1,712  2,117  2,697  3,114  3,105  81.4 -0.3
9 Compass 1,093  1,161  1,607  1,909  1,717  57.1 -10.1
10 GoJet 1,105  1,097  1,194  1,339  1,350  22.2 0.8
11 Air Wisconsin 2,462  2,401  1,882  1,528  1,349  -45.2 -11.7
  Total 49,546  50,574  49,231  50,677  52,871  6.7 4.3

Notes: * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.# Effective the end of December 2016, Republic and Shuttle America combined operations and Shuttle America ceased operating. Effective the end of December 2014, Shuttle America and Chautauqua Airlines combined operations and Chautauqua ceased operating.N/A: Carriers did not meet the standard for filing, was no longer operating, merged with another operating carrier or failed to file. See previous notes.



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