Passenger Airline Employment

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November 2016 Passenger Airline Employment Data

Release Number: 
BTS 05-17

Access the full EXCEL spreadsheet, November 2016 Airline Employment Data Tables.

U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 3.7 percent more workers in November 2016 than in November 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. November was the highest monthly FTE total (416,046) since January 2005 (417,789) and was the 37th consecutive month that U.S. scheduled passenger airline full-time equivalent (FTE) employment exceeded the same month of the previous year (Tables 1, 2, 3).

Month/YearU.S. Scheduled Passenger Airline Employment Percent Change from Previous Year (Last 24 months)
12/20141.4
01/20151.2
02/20151.8
03/20151.9
04/20152.4
05/20152.6
06/20153.0
07/20152.7
08/20153.3
09/20153.3
10/20154.0
11/20153.7
12/20153.9
01/20164.1
02/20163.8
03/20163.9
04/20163.6
05/20163.7
06/20163.9
07/20164.3
08/20164.3
09/20164.3
10/20164.0
11/20163.7

Month-to-month, the number of FTEs was virtually unchanged from October to November (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 two-thirds of the scheduled passenger airline FTEs reported 2.3 percent more FTEs in November 2016 than in November 2015 (Tables 7, 8, 9). Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines increased FTEs from November 2015 (Table 9). Month-to-month, the number of network airline FTEs declined 0.2 percent from October to November (Table 1A).

The network airlines employed 6.3 percent more FTEs in November 2016 than in November 2012 (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 9.8 percent more FTEs in November 2016 than in November 2015 (Tables 10, 11, 12). Spirit Airlines, Allegiant Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Virgin America and Southwest Airlines increased FTEs from November 2015 (Table 12). Month-to-month, the number of low-cost airline FTEs rose 0.6 percent from October to November (Table 1A).  The six low-cost airlines employed 23.0 percent more FTEs in November 2016 than in November 2012 (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 12 regional carriers reported 0.2 percent more FTEs in November 2016 than in November 2015 (Tables 13, 14, 15). Nine regional airlines – Republic Airlines, Compass Airlines, Endeavor Air, PSA Airlines, Mesa Airlines, GoJet Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, Horizon Air and Envoy Air increased FTEs from November 2015. The others reported decreases (Table 15). Month-to-month, the number of regional airline FTEs was virtually unchanged from October to November (Table 1A). The 12 regional carriers reporting in November 2016 employed 1.0 percent more FTEs in November 2016 than the 14 carriers reporting in November 2012 (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 65.5 percent of the 416,046 FTEs employed by all scheduled passenger airlines in November, the six low-cost carriers employed 20.5 percent and the 12 regional carriers employed 12.2 percent (Table 4). In comparison, in November 2006, the network airlines employed 65.1 percent of the FTEs, the six low-cost carriers employed 17.6 percent and the 12 regional carriers employed 14.4 percent (Table 5).

Top Employers by Group: American employed the most FTEs (99,426) in November among the network airlines, Southwest employed the most FTEs (53,678) among low-cost airlines, and Envoy employed the most FTEs (10,887) among regional airlines (Table 6). The three airlines with the most FTEs in November – American, Delta and United – employed 62.7 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. 

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers as of Jan. 10. Additional airline employment data and previous press releases can be found on the BTS website. BTS has scheduled release of December passenger airline employment data for Feb. 21.

Table 1
Most recent 13 months - percent change from same month of the previous year
Network Airlines Low-Cost Airlines Regional Airlines All Passenger Airlines**
Nov 2014-Nov 20153.76.5-0.23.7
Dec 2014-Dec 20153.57.80.93.9
Jan 2015-Jan 20163.37.92.04.1
Feb 2015-Feb 20163.28.50.23.8
Mar 2015-Mar 20162.99.60.43.9
Apr 2015-Apr 20162.410.20.13.6
May 2015-May 20162.310.70.23.7
June 2015-Jun 20162.311.00.93.9
July 2015-July 20162.411.33.34.3
Aug 2015-Aug 20162.511.03.34.3
Sep 2015-Sep 20162.610.62.94.3
Oct 2015-Oct 20162.710.20.34.0
Nov 2015-Nov 20162.39.80.23.7
Notes: 

Percent change based on unrounded numbers.

See Table 2 for all passenger airlines, Table 7 for Network, Table 10 for Low-Cost and Table 13 for Regional.

* 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. 

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 1A
Percent change in FTEs from the previous month
Network Airlines Low-Cost Airlines Regional Airlines All Passenger Airlines**
Nov 2015-Dec 20150.00.30.00.0
Dec 2015-Jan 20160.00.80.00.2
Jan 2016-Feb 20160.31.2-0.10.4
Feb 2016-Mar 20160.50.80.30.5
Mar 2016-Apr 20160.31.2-0.40.4
Apr 2016-May20160.51.10.40.6
May 2016-Jun20160.30.90.50.5
Jun 2016-July 20160.20.80.40.3
July 2016-Aug 20160.10.4-0.10.1
Aug 2016-Sep 20160.00.6-0.60.1
Sep 2016-Oct 20160.20.8-0.10.3
Oct 2016-Nov 2016-0.20.60.00.0
Notes: 

Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

See Table 2 for all passenger airlines, Table 7 for Network, Table 10 for Low-Cost and Table 13 for Regional.

* 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. 

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 2
Percent change compared to same month the previous year
Month2013201420152016
January-1.60.51.24.1
February-1.70.41.83.8
March-1.90.81.93.9
April-1.81.02.43.6
May-1.81.12.63.7
June-1.70.93.03.9
July-1.81.32.74.3
August-1.61.03.34.3
September-0.91.13.34.3
October-0.30.94.04.0
November0.11.53.73.7
December0.31.43.9
Notes: 

Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 3
FTE numbers in thousands (000’s)
Month20122013201420152016Percent Change 2012-2016Percent Change 2015-2016
January386.2380.0381.8386.5402.24.24.1
February387.1380.4382.0389.0403.94.33.8
March388.0380.5383.6390.8406.14.73.9
April387.5380.5384.3393.4407.85.23.6
May388.3381.4385.6395.6410.35.73.7
June388.2381.7385.2397.0412.36.23.9
July388.5381.3386.2396.5413.76.54.3
August386.7380.5384.5397.0414.27.14.3
September383.6380.2384.5397.3414.68.14.3
October382.2381.2384.7399.9416.08.84.0
November380.9381.2386.9401.3416.09.23.7
December379.6380.8386.2401.4
12-Month Average385.6380.8384.6395.5
Jan-Nov Average386.1380.8384.5394.9410.76.44.0
Notes: 

Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 4
FTE numbers in thousands (000’s)
Network Low-Cost Regional All Passenger Airlines**
2012 256.169.450.1380.9
2013 255.969.449.9381.2
2014 256.873.050.6386.9
2015 266.377.850.5401.3
2016 272.385.450.6416.0
Percent of Total Passenger Airline Employees in 2016 65.5%20.5%12.2%100.0%
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.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 5
(November of each year)
YearNetworkLow-CostRegional Other
200665.117.614.43.0
201167.617.613.61.2
201566.419.412.61.7
201665.520.512.21.8
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
Ranked by Number of Full-Time Equivalent Employees* FTE numbers in thousands (000’s)
Rank AirlineTotal FTE EmployeesCarrier Group**Top 10 Airlines November 2015
1American99.4NetworkAmerican
2United82.0NetworkDelta
3Delta79.3NetworkUnited
4Southwest53.7Low-CostSouthwest
5JetBlue16.7Low-CostJetBlue
6Alaska11.5Network Alaska
7Envoy10.9RegionalSkyWest
8SkyWest10.7Regional Envoy
9ExpressJet6.4Regional ExpressJet
10Hawaiian5.6OtherSpirit
Notes: 

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 7
Percent change compared to same month of the previous year
2013201420152016
January-2.10.40.83.3
February-1.90.11.43.2
March-2.20.61.72.9
April-2.00.42.42.4
May-2.00.52.72.3
June-1.80.33.12.3
July-1.70.43.12.4
August-1.50.13.72.5
September-1.00.43.62.6
October-0.60.33.62.7
November-0.10.43.72.3
December0.40.83.5
Notes: 

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 8
FTE numbers in thousands (000’s)
Month20122013201420152016Percent Change 2012-2016Percent Change 2015-2016
January259.7254.4255.5257.6266.22.53.3
February260.0255.0255.2258.8267.02.73.2
March260.7254.9256.3260.8268.43.02.9
April260.9255.7256.7262.9269.23.22.4
May261.4256.3257.6264.4270.63.52.3
June261.5256.8257.5265.5271.53.82.3
July261.0256.5257.5265.6272.04.22.4
August259.6255.8256.1265.6272.14.82.5
September257.9255.2256.1265.3272.15.52.6
October257.3255.7256.4265.7272.86.02.7
November256.1255.9256.8266.3272.36.32.3
December254.1255.2257.3266.1
12-Month Average259.2255.6256.6263.7
Jan-Nov Average259.6255.6256.5263.5270.44.12.6
Notes: 

Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 9
(FTEs for November of each year. Ranked by November 2016 FTEs) FTE numbers in thousands (000’s)
Rank Airline 20122013201420152016 Percent Change 2012-2016 Percent Change 2015-2016
1 AA/US Combined 91.891.092.397.499.48.32.1
American** 61.559.560.697.499.4N/A2.1
US Airways** 30.431.531.7N/AN/AN/AN/A
2 United 82.481.978.978.882.0-0.44.0
3 Delta 72.773.675.579.179.39.10.3
4 Alaska 9.29.510.110.911.525.45.6
Total 256.1255.9256.8266.3272.36.32.3
Notes: 

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 10
Percent change compared to same month of the previous year
Month2013201420152016
January0.80.34.67.9
February0.20.74.68.5
March0.00.83.99.6
April-0.31.54.210.2
May-0.31.84.310.7
June-0.62.24.911.0
July-0.42.55.211.3
August-0.93.05.811.0
September-0.22.96.610.6
October-0.13.86.910.2
November-0.15.26.59.8
December-0.64.47.8
Notes: 

Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Staistics

Table 11
FTE numbers in thousands (000’s)
20122013201420152016Percent Change
2012-20162015-2016
January68.969.569.772.978.614.17.9
February69.569.670.173.479.614.58.5
March69.969.970.473.280.214.89.6
April69.969.770.873.781.216.210.2
May70.169.871.174.282.117.210.7
June70.069.671.174.682.818.311.0
July69.869.571.375.083.519.711.3
August69.969.371.475.583.819.811.0
September69.669.471.476.284.321.110.6
October69.669.572.177.184.922.110.2
November69.469.473.077.885.423.09.8
December69.869.472.478.0
12-Month Average69.769.571.275.1
Jan-Nov Average69.769.671.174.982.418.310.1
Notes: 

Percent changes and averages are based on numbers prior to rounding.

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 12
(FTEs for November of each year. Ranked by November 2016 FTEs)
RankAirline20122013201420152016Percent Change 2012-2016Percent Change 2015-2016
1Southwest 45,953 44,911 46,299 49,578 53,678 16.88.3
2JetBlue 12,465 12,990 13,677 15,214 16,681 33.89.6
3Spirit 2,888 3,521 4,447 4,623 5,484 89.918.6
4Frontier 3,950 3,444 3,672 2,875 3,380 -14.417.6
5Allegiant 1,779 2,048 2,398 2,737 3,223 81.217.8
6Virgin America 2,407 2,488 2,521 2,756 2,993 24.38.6
Total 69,442 69,402 73,014 77,783 85,439 23.09.8
Notes: 

Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 13
Percent change compared to same month of the previous year
Month2013201420152016
January-4.1-0.4-1.92.0
February-5.00.5-0.30.2
March-4.60.9-0.50.4
April-4.82.3-0.40.1
May-4.72.4-0.30.2
June-4.41.90.10.9
July-6.33.5-3.33.3
August-5.12.5-2.73.3
September-3.02.1-2.72.9
October-0.5-0.21.40.3
November-0.51.5-0.20.2
December-0.5-0.20.9
Notes: 

Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 14
20122013201420152016Percent Change 2012-2016Percent Change 2015-2016
January52,80050,64050,42549,47750,482-4.42.0
February52,83550,19150,45850,31850,416-4.60.2
March52,58450,18150,62350,36150,424-4.10.1
April51,85849,38750,52650,32650,374-2.90.1
May51,88449,42450,63350,46950,554-2.60.2
June51,66649,41550,33650,37350,823-1.60.9
July52,71549,38751,10749,40351,021-3.23.3
August52,08249,43450,67149,32050,957-2.23.3
September51,08549,54650,57449,23150,677-0.82.9
October50,24549,89049,78950,48650,6370.80.3
November50,10249,85150,60550,52250,6251.00.2
December50,42550,19150,08350,521
12-Month Average51,69049,79550,48650,067
Jan-Nov Average51,80549,75950,52250,02650,635-2.31.2
Notes: 

Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Table 15
(FTEs for November of each year. Ranked by November 2016 FTEs)
RankAirline20122013201420152016Percent Change 2012-2016Percent Change 2015-2016
1Envoy 10,616 11,099 11,661 10,692 10,887 2.61.8
2SkyWest 9,283 9,595 9,774 10,314 10,746 15.84.2
3ExpressJet 8,824 9,085 8,800 7,483 6,399 -27.5-14.5
4Republic 2,115 2,633 3,066 3,097 3,959 87.227.8
5Endeavor 4,750 3,987 3,550 3,293 3,765 -20.714.3
6Horizon 2,703 2,724 2,855 3,231 3,291 21.81.9
7Mesa 1,575 1,770 2,182 2,769 3,075 95.211.1
8PSA 1,090 1,102 1,719 2,394 2,736 151.014.3
9Compass 1,099 1,142 1,199 1,653 1,939 76.417.3
10Air Wisconsin 2,565 2,468 1,895 1,860 1,479 -42.3-20.5
11GoJet 1,051 1,122 1,097 1,237 1,300 23.75.1
12S5/RP Combined 3,164 3,124 2,807 2,499 1,049 -66.8-58.0
Shuttle America# 1,857 1,988 1,991 2,499 1,049 N/A-58.0
Chautauqua# 1,307 1,136 816 N/A N/A N/AN/A
13Executive## 1,267 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/AN/A
Total 50,102 49,851 50,605 50,522 50,625 1.00.2
Notes: 

Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

* Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.
# Effective July 2012 Chautauqua Airlines began reporting employment data. Chautauqua did not qualify for monthly reporting prior to July 2012 because it did not operate aircraft with more than 60 seats. Effective the end of December 2014, Shuttle America and Chautauqua combined operations and Chautauqua ceased operating.
## Effective the end of March 2013, Executive Airlines ceased operations.
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.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Updated: Friday, March 31, 2017