Passenger Airline Employment

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August 2017 Passenger Airline Employment Data

Release Number: 
BTS 53-17
Date: 
Thursday, October 26, 2017

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U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 3.4 percent more workers in August 2017 than in August 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. August was the highest monthly full-time equivalent (FTE) employment total (428,399 FTEs) since January 2005 (430,780) and was the 46th consecutive month that U.S. scheduled passenger airlines' FTEs exceeded the same month of the previous year (Tables 1, 2, 3).

FTEs in thousands
View Table Data
August FTEs in thousands (000)
1990465.9
1991449.2
1992453.4
1993446.1
1994432.6
1995432.3
1996438.3
1997455.9
1998470.8
1999503.1
2000524.7
2001534.1
2002472.2
2003433.5
2004443.4
2005416.9
2006404.1
2007415.2
2008406.5
2009384.3
2010378.4
2011387.0
2012386.9
2013380.5
2014384.5
2015397.0
2016414.2
2017428.4
Notes: 

FTE calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Month-to-month, the number of FTEs was virtually unchanged from July to August (Table 1A). July (428,209 FTEs) had previously been the highest monthly total since January 2005. 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 2.2 percent more FTEs in August 2017 than in August 2016 (Tables 7, 8, 9).  American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines increased FTEs from August 2016.   Month-to-month, the number of network airline FTEs fell 0.1 percent from July to August (Table 1A).

The network airlines employed 8.7 percent more FTEs in August 2017 than in August 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 7.0 percent more FTEs in August 2017 than in August 2016 (Tables 10, 11, 12). Spirit Airlines, Allegiant Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Virgin America, and Southwest Airlines increased FTEs from July 2016 (Table 12). Month-to-month, the number of low-cost airline FTEs rose 0.2 percent from July to August (Table 1A). The six low-cost airlines employed 29.5 percent more FTEs in August 2017 than in August 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 3.1 percent more FTEs in August 2017 than in August 2016 (Tables 13, 14, 15).  Eight regional airlines – PSA Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, Envoy Air, Endeavor Air, Horizon Air, Republic Airlines, GoJet, and Mesa Airlines increased FTEs from August 2016. ExpressJet, Air Wisconsin and Compass Airlines reported a decrease (Table 15). Month-to-month, the number of regional airline FTEs rose 0.3 percent from July to August (Table 1A). The 11 regional carriers reporting in August 2017 employed 6.3 percent more FTEs in August 2017 than the 15 carriers reporting in August 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 428,399 FTEs employed by all scheduled passenger airlines in August, the six low-cost carriers employed 20.9 percent and the 11 regional carriers employed 12.3 percent (Table 4). In comparison, in August 2006, network airlines employed 65.5 percent of the FTEs, six low-cost carriers employed 17.6 percent and regional carriers employed 14.7 percent (Table 5).

Top Employers by Group: American employed the most FTEs (100,697) in August among the network airlines, Southwest employed the most FTEs (55,434) among low-cost airlines, and Envoy employed the most FTEs (11,838) among regional airlines. The three airlines with the most FTEs in July – American, United and Delta – employed 62.0 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 Oct. 17,  Additional airline employment data and previous press releases can be found on the BTS website.  BTS has scheduled release of September 2017 passenger airline employment data for Nov. 17.

Most recent 13 months - percent change from same month of the previous year
View Table Data
Network AirlinesLow-Cost AirlinesRegional AirlinesOther AirlinesAll Passenger Airlines **
Aug 2015 - Aug 20162.511.03.311.94.3
Sep 2015 - Sep 20162.610.62.913.04.3
Oct 2015 - Oct 20162.710.30.312.74.0
Nov 2015 - Nov 20162.39.80.213.53.7
Dec 2015 - Dec 20162.49.50.213.73.7
Jan 2016 - Jan 20172.39.71.912.73.9
Feb 2016 - Feb 20172.49.42.411.83.9
Mar 2016 - Mar 20172.79.12.011.74.0
Apr 2016 - Apr 20172.68.82.110.73.9
May 2016 - May 20172.48.32.59.83.7
Jun 2016 - Jun 20172.58.02.69.43.8
Jul 2016 - Jul 20172.37.32.78.53.5
Aug 2016 - Aug 20172.27.03.18.43.4
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
View Table Data
Time PeriodNetworkLow-costRegionalOtherAll
Aug 2016 - Sep 20160.00.5-0.51.50.1
Sep 2016 - Oct 20160.20.9-0.10.80.3
Oct 2016 - Nov 2016-0.20.50.01.50.0
Nov 2016 - Dec 20160.10.00.00.50.1
Dec 2016 - Jan 2017-0.11.01.60.50.4
Jan 2017 - Feb 20170.40.90.40.60.5
Feb 2017 - Mar 20170.80.6-0.30.60.6
Mar 2017 - Apr 20170.30.90.0-0.10.3
Apr 2017 - May 20170.30.60.70.80.5
May 2017 - Jun 20170.50.60.70.40.5
Jun 2017 - Jul 20170.00.20.50.10.1
Jul 2017 - Aug 2017-0.10.20.30.80.0
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
View Table Data
Month2014201520162017
January0.51.24.13.9
February0.41.83.83.9
March0.81.93.94.0
April1.02.43.63.9
May1.12.63.73.7
June0.93.03.93.8
July1.32.74.33.5
August1.03.34.33.4
September1.13.34.3
October0.94.04.0
November1.53.73.7
December1.43.93.7
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.
Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

View Table Data
20132014201520162017Percent Change
2013 - 20172016 - 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 380,486 384,478 397,007 414,242 428,399 12.6 3.4
September 380,165 384,501 397,326 414,558
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 - Aug Average 380,789 384,153 393,233 408,816 424,213 11.4 3.8
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.
Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

View Table Data
Network AirlinesLow-Cost AirlinesRegional AirlinesOther AirlinesAll Passenger Airlines**
2013 255,800 69,286 49,434 5,966 380,486
2014 256,095 71,387 50,671 6,325 384,478
2015 265,567 75,549 49,320 6,571 397,007
2016 272,112 83,823 50,957 7,350 414,242
2017 278,158 89,718 52,559 7,964 428,399
Percent of Total Passenger Airline Employees in 2017 64.9 20.9 12.3 1.9 100
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

(August of each year)
View Table Data
YearNetwork AirlinesLow-Cost AirlinesRegional AirlinesOther Airlines
200665.517.614.72.1
201267.118.113.51.4
201665.720.212.31.8
201764.920.912.31.9
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*
View Table Data
RankAirlineTotal FTE EmployeesCarrier Group**Top 10 Airlines August 2016
1American 100,697 NetworkAmerican
2United 82,801 NetworkUnited
3Delta 81,899 NetworkDelta
4Southwest 55,434 Low-costSouthwest
5JetBlue 17,615 Low-costJetBlue
6Alaska 12,761 NetworkAlaska
7Envoy 11,838 RegionalEnvoy
8SkyWest 11,809 RegionalSkyWest
9Spirit 6,209 Low-costExpressJet
10Hawaiian 5,805 OtherHawaiian
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
View Table Data
2014201520162017
January0.40.83.32.3
February0.11.43.22.4
March0.61.72.92.7
April0.42.42.42.6
May0.52.72.32.4
June0.33.12.32.5
July0.43.12.42.3
August0.13.72.52.2
September0.43.62.6
October0.33.62.7
November0.43.72.3
December0.83.52.4
Notes: 

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

View Table Data
20132014201520162017Percent Change
2013 - 20172016 - 2017
January 254,377 255,518 257,627 266,245 272,407 7.1 2.3
February 254,955 255,158 258,796 266,987 273,365 7.2 2.4
March 254,871 256,342 260,794 268,375 275,503 8.1 2.7
April 255,674 256,732 262,905 269,169 276,225 8.0 2.6
May 256,274 257,578 264,438 270,559 277,135 8.1 2.4
June 256,791 257,491 265,486 271,503 278,390 8.4 2.5
July 256,474 257,541 265,551 271,963 278,325 8.5 2.3
August 255,800 256,095 265,567 272,112 278,158 8.7 2.2
September 255,194 256,133 265,315 272,136
October 255,741 256,409 265,704 272,787
November 255,914 256,823 266,251 272,347
December 255,155 257,251 266,136 272,614
Jan - Aug Average 255,652 256,557 262,646 269,614 276,189 8.0 2.4
12-Month Average 255,602 256,589 263,714 270,566
Notes: 

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

(FTEs for August of each year. Ranked by August 2017 FTEs)
View Table Data
RankAirline20132014201520162017Percent Change
2016 - 2017
1American (+ US)** 90,320 91,132 96,719 98,919 100,697 11.51.8
American 59,140 59,602 96,719 98,919 100,697 70.31.8
US Airways 31,180 31,530 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2United 82,082 79,263 78,796 81,707 82,801 0.91.3
3Delta 73,873 75,734 79,127 80,195 81,899 10.92.1
4Alaska 9,525 9,966 10,925 11,291 12,761 34.013.0
Total 255,800 256,095 265,567 272,112 278,158 8.72.2
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

Percent change compared to same month of the previous year
View Table Data
2014201520162017
January0.34.67.99.7
February0.74.68.59.4
March0.83.99.69.1
April1.54.210.28.8
May1.84.310.78.3
June2.24.911.08.0
July2.55.211.37.3
August3.05.811.07.0
September2.96.610.6
October3.86.910.3
November5.26.59.8
December4.47.89.5
Notes: 

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

View Table Data
20132014201520162017Percent Change
2013 - 20172016 - 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
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 - Aug Average 69,602 70,724 74,053 81,471 88,335 26.9 8.4
12-Month Average 69,542 71,229 75,124 82,663
Notes: 

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

(FTEs for August of each year. Ranked by August 2017 FTEs)
View Table Data
RankAirline20132014201520162017Percent Change
2013 - 20172016 - 2017
1Southwest 45,000 45,569 48,169 52,839 55,434 23.24.9
2JetBlue 12,998 13,456 14,872 16,267 17,615 35.58.3
3Spirit 3,374 3,774 4,410 5,335 6,209 84.016.4
4Allegiant 1,947 2,248 2,620 3,241 3,696 89.814.0
5Frontier 3,550 3,832 2,776 3,181 3,623 2.113.9
6Virgin America 2,417 2,508 2,702 2,960 3,141 30.06.1
Total 69,286 71,387 75,549 83,823 89,718 29.57.0
Notes: 

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Percent change compared to same month of the previous year
View Table Data
Month2014201520162017
January-0.4-1.92.01.9
February0.5-0.30.2 2.4
March0.9-0.50.1 2.0
April2.3-0.40.1 2.1
May2.4-0.30.2 2.5
June1.90.10.9 2.6
July3.5-3.33.3 2.7
August2.5-2.73.3 3.1
September2.1-2.72.9
October-0.21.40.3
November1.5-0.20.2
December-0.20.90.2
Notes: 

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

View Table Data
20132014201520162017Percent Change
2013 - 20172016 - 2017
January 50,640 50,425 49,477 50,482 51,430 1.6 1.9
February 50,191 50,458 50,318 50,416 51,614 2.8 2.4
March 50,181 50,623 50,361 50,424 51,442 2.5 2.0
April 49,387 50,526 50,326 50,374 51,438 4.2 2.1
May 49,424 50,633 50,469 50,554 51,803 4.8 2.5
June 49,415 50,336 50,373 50,823 52,144 5.5 2.6
July 49,387 51,107 49,403 51,021 52,408 6.1 2.7
August 49,434 50,671 49,320 50,957 52,559 6.3 3.1
September 49,546 50,574 49,231 50,677
October 49,890 49,789 50,486 50,637
November 49,851 50,605 50,522 50,625
December 50,191 50,083 50,521 50,616
Jan - Aug Average 49,757 50,597 50,006 50,631 51,855 4.22.4
12-Month Average 49,795 50,486 50,067 50,634
Notes: 

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

(FTEs for August of each year. Ranked by August 2017 FTEs)
View Table Data
RankAirline20132014201520162017Percent Change
20122012201220122013- 20172016 - 2017
1Envoy 11,138 10,811 9,645 10,894 11,838 6.38.7
2SkyWest 9,427 9,896 10,057 10,838 11,809 25.39.0
3YX/S5/RP Combined# 5,698 5,843 5,827 5,259 5,619 -1.46.8
Republic 2,471 2,954 3,107 3,706 5,619 127.451.6
Shuttle America 2,057 2,032 2,720 1,553 N/A 0.00.0
Chautauqua 1,170 857 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
4ExpressJet 9,022 9,221 7,708 6,605 5,248 -41.8-20.5
5Endeavor 4,069 3,741 3,243 3,647 3,958 -2.78.5
6Horizon 2,666 2,794 3,183 3,249 3,483 30.67.2
7PSA 1,066 1,540 2,296 2,631 3,052 186.316.0
8Air Wisconsin 2,467 2,466 1,890 1,588 1,352 -45.2-14.9
9Compass 1,096 1,203 1,584 1,879 1,739 58.7-7.5
10GoJet 1,063 1,101 1,225 1,314 1,402 31.96.7
11Mesa 1,722 2,055 2,662 3,053 3,059 77.60.2
Total 49,434 50,671 49,320 50,957 52,559 6.33.1
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.
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