Passenger Airline Employment

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October 2016 Passenger Airline Employment Data

Release Number: 
BTS 64-16

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U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 4.0 percent more workers in October 2016 than in October 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. October was the highest monthly FTE total (415,891) since January 2005 (417,789) and was the 36th 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). 

DatePercent Change
11/20141.5
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

Month-to-month, the number of FTEs rose 0.3 percent from September to October (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 2.7 percent more FTEs in October 2016 than in October 2015 (Tables 7, 8, 9). Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines increased FTEs from October 2015 (Table 9). Month-to-month, the number of network airline FTEs rose 0.2 percent from September to October (Table 1A).

The network airlines employed 6.0 percent more FTEs in October 2016 than in October 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 10.2 percent more FTEs in October 2016 than in October 2015 (Tables 10, 11, 12). Allegiant Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Virgin America, JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines increased FTEs from October 2015 (Table 12). Month-to-month, the number of low-cost airline FTEs rose 0.8 percent from September to October (Table 1A).  The six low-cost airlines employed 22.1 percent more FTEs in October 2016 than in October 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 0.3 percent more FTEs in October 2016 than in October 2015 (Tables 13, 14, 15). Nine regional airlines – Republic Airlines, Compass Airlines, PSA Airlines, Endeavor Air, Mesa Airlines, GoJet Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, Envoy Air and Horizon Air – increased FTEs from October 2015. The others reported decreases (Table 15). Month-to-month, the number of regional airline FTEs fell 0.1 percent from September to October (Table 1A). The 12 regional carriers reporting in October 2016 employed 0.8 percent more FTEs in October 2016 than the 15 carriers reporting in October 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 65.6 percent of the 415,891 FTEs employed by all scheduled passenger airlines in October, the six low-cost carriers employed 20.4 percent and the 12 regional carriers employed 12.2 percent (Table 4). In comparison, in October 2006, the network airlines employed 65.2 percent of the FTEs, the six low-cost carriers employed 17.6 percent and the 12 regional carriers employed 13.9 percent (Table 5).

Top Employers by Group: American employed the most FTEs (99,191) in October among the network airlines, Southwest employed the most FTEs (53,480) among low-cost airlines, and Envoy employed the most FTEs (10,881) among regional airlines (Table 6). The three airlines with the most FTEs in October – American, Delta and United – employed 62.8 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 Dec. 7. Additional airline employment data and previous press releases can be found on the BTS website. BTS has scheduled release of November passenger airline employment data for Jan. 19.  

Most recent 13 months - percent change from same month of the previous year
Network AirlinesLow-Cost AirlinesRegional AirlinesAll Passenger Airlines**
Oct 2014-Oct 20153.66.91.44.0
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
Notes: 

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

Percent change in FTEs from the previous month
Network AirlinesLow-Cost AirlinesRegional AirlinesAll Passenger Airlines**
Oct 2015-Nov 20150.20.90.10.3
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
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.
Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.
Note: 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
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
November0.11.53.7
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

Month20122013201420152016Percent Change
2012-20162015-2016
January386,166380,042381,819386,528402,2084.24.1
February387,091380,414381,985388,976403,9174.33.8
March387,968380,540383,575390,817406,1134.73.9
April387,501380,487384,265393,439407,7635.23.6
May388,341381,372385,619395,621410,3385.73.7
June388,165381,672385,243396,973412,3336.23.9
July388,475381,299386,243396,503413,7466.54.3
August386,749380,486384,478397,007414,2427.14.3
September383,604380,165384,501397,326414,5588.14.3
October382,162381,178384,700399,928415,8918.84.0
November380,949381,224386,912401,280
December379,575380,809386,222401,440
12-Month Average385,562380,807384,630395,487
Jan-Oct Average386,622380,766384,243394,312410,1116.14.0
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

NetworkLow-CostRegionalAll Passenger Airlines**
2012257,27069,55250,245382,162
2013255,74169,49649,890381,178
2014256,40972,11049,789384,700
2015265,70477,06350,486399,928
2016272,78784,94550,637415,891
Percent of Total Passenger Airline Employees in 201665.6%20.4%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

(October of each year)
NetworkLow-CostRegionalOther
200665.217.613.93.3
201167.517.513.71.2
201566.419.312.61.7
201665.620.412.21.8
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

Ranked by Number of Full-Time Equivalent Employees*
RankAirlineTotal FTE EmployeesCarrier Group**Top 10 Airlines October 2015
1American99,191NetworkAmerican
2United81,903NetworkDelta
3Delta80,244NetworkUnited
4Southwest53,480Low-CostSouthwest
5JetBlue16,495Low-CostJetBlue
6Alaska11,449NetworkAlaska
7Envoy10,881RegionalSkyWest
8SkyWest10,586RegionalEnvoy
9ExpressJet6,482RegionalExpressJet
10Hawaiian5,501OtherSpirit
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

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-0.10.43.7
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

Month20122013201420152016Percent Change
2012-20162015-2016
January259,749254,377255,518257,627266,2452.53.3
February259,971254,955255,158258,796266,9872.73.2
March260,666254,871256,342260,794268,3753.02.9
April260,876255,674256,732262,905269,1693.22.4
May261,426256,274257,578264,438270,5593.52.3
June261,539256,791257,491265,486271,5033.82.3
July260,982256,474257,541265,551271,9634.22.4
August259,617255,800256,095265,567272,1124.82.5
September257,875255,194256,133265,315272,1365.52.6
October257,270255,741256,409265,704272,7876.02.7
November256,141255,914256,823266,251
December254,065255,155257,251266,136
12-Month Average259,181255,602256,589263,714
Jan-Oct Average259,997255,615256,500263,218270,1843.92.6
Notes: 

* Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.
Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

(FTEs for October of each year. Ranked by October 2016 FTEs)
RankAirline20122013201420152016Percent Change
2012-20162015-2016
1AA/US Combined93,06690,61392,09596,87399,1916.62.4
American**62,70059,24960,46196,87399,191N/A2.4
US Airways**30,36631,36431,634N/AN/AN/AN/A
2United82,31282,14178,44878,47681,903-0.54.4
3Delta72,68773,49275,77679,40680,24410.41.1
4Alaska9,2059,49510,09010,94911,44924.44.6
Total257,270255,741256,409265,704272,7876.02.7
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

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-0.15.26.5
December-0.64.47.8
Notes: 

* Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.
Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

20122013201420152016Percent Change
2012-20162015-2016
January68,92669,46569,69372,90978,63814.17.9
February69,47669,63070,13573,35179,57814.58.5
March69,88769,85470,38473,16380,20214.89.6
April69,86269,67770,75173,69581,18016.210.2
May70,05569,81871,09574,16782,07017.210.7
June69,97069,57471,07474,59282,79618.311.0
July69,75669,51071,27274,99983,48119.711.3
August69,94069,28671,38775,54983,82319.811.0
September69,57569,42671,42876,17684,28421.110.6
October69,55269,49672,11077,06384,94522.110.2
November69,44269,40273,01477,783
December69,78169,36572,39978,035
12-Month Average69,68569,54271,22975,124
Jan-Oct Average69,70069,57470,93374,56682,10017.810.1
Notes: 

Percent changes and averages 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

(FTEs for October of each year. Ranked by October 2016 FTEs)
Rank 20122013201420152016Percent Change
2012-20162015-2016
1Southwest46,01545,07446,09549,16753,48016.28.8
2JetBlue12,50612,99313,59815,01416,49531.99.9
3Spirit2,8123,4873,8594,5305,40892.319.4
4Allegiant1,7792,0092,3352,7373,34788.122.3
5Frontier4,0073,4373,7032,9053,221-19.610.9
6Virgin America2,4332,4962,5202,7102,99423.110.5
Total69,55269,49672,11077,06384,94522.110
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

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-0.51.5-0.2
December-0.5-0.20.9
Notes: 

* Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.
Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

20122013201420152016Percent Change
2012-20162015-2016
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
November50,10249,85150,60550,522
December50,42550,19150,08350,521
12-Month Average51,69049,79550,48650,067
Jan-Oct Average51,97549,75050,51449,97650,637-2.61.3
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

(FTEs for October of each year. Ranked by October 2016 FTEs)
Rank 20122013201420152016Percent Change
2012-20162015-2016
1Envoy10,44111,14411,03510,63810,8814.22.3
2SkyWest9,2279,5389,48410,18610,58614.73.9
3ExpressJet8,9359,0868,9457,6156,482-27.5-14.9
4Republic2,0572,6003,0433,1033,99794.328.8
5Endeavor4,7504,0523,6093,2753,714-21.813.4
6Horizon2,7322,7192,8343,2353,28420.21.5
7Mesa1,6431,7702,1422,7403,10088.713.1
8PSA1,0891,0971,6362,3562,709148.815.0
9Compass1,1351,1531,1741,6821,93870.715.2
10Air Wisconsin2,5442,4551,9661,8621,513-40.5-18.7
11S5/RP Combined3,2123,1802,8072,5391,094-65.9-56.9
Shuttle America#1,8902,0131,9762,5391,094N/A-56.9
Chautauqua#1,3221,167831N/AN/AN/AN/A
12GoJet1,0361,0961,1141,2551,33929.26.7
13Executive##1,330N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
14Comair###114N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Total50,24549,89049,78950,48650,6370.80.3
Notes: 

* 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.

### Effective the end of October 2012, Comair 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.

Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistic

Updated: Wednesday, February 8, 2017