Passenger Airline Employment

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January 2017 Passenger Airline Employment Data

Release Number: 
BTS 14-17
Date: 
Monday, March 20, 2017

Excel tables

U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 3.9 percent more workers in January 2017 than in January 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. January was the highest monthly FTE total (417,833) since November 2007 (419,313) and was the 39th 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).

View Table Data
U.S. Scheduled Passenger Airline Employment Percent Change from Previous Year (Last 24 months)
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
12/20163.7
01/20173.9

Month-to-month, the number of FTEs rose 0.4 percent from December to January (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 January 2017 than in January 2016 (Tables 7, 8, 9). Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines increased FTEs from January 2016 (Table 9). Month-to-month, the number of network airline FTEs declined 0.1 percent from December to January (Table 1A).

The network airlines employed 7.1 percent more FTEs in January 2017 than in January 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 9.7 percent more FTEs in January 2017 than in January 2016 (Tables 10, 11, 12). The carriers – Allegiant Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Virgin America and Southwest Airlines – all increased FTEs from January 2016 (Table 12). Month-to-month, the number of low-cost airline FTEs rose 1.0 percent from December to January (Table 1A).  The six low-cost airlines employed 24.2 percent more FTEs in January 2017 than in January 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 1.9 percent more FTEs in January 2017 than the 12 regional carriers operating in January 2016 (Tables 13, 14, 15). Eight regional airlines – Compass Airlines, Endeavor Air, PSA Airlines, Mesa Airlines, GoJet Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, Envoy Air and Horizon Air – increased FTEs from January 2016. In addition, Republic Airlines reported 2.0 percent more FTEs in January 2017 than the combined total that Republic and Shuttle America reported in January 2016. The others reported decreases (Table 15). Month-to-month, the number of regional airline FTEs rose 1.6 percent from December to January (Table 1A). The 11 regional carriers reporting in January 2017 employed 1.6 percent more FTEs than the 14 carriers reporting in January 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 65.2 percent of the 417,833 FTEs employed by all scheduled passenger airlines in January, the six low-cost carriers employed 20.7 percent and the 11 regional carriers employed 12.3 percent (Table 4). In comparison, in January 2006, the network airlines employed 66.6 percent of the FTEs, the six low-cost carriers employed 16.7 percent and the regional carriers employed 13.6 percent (Table 5).

Top Employers by Group: American employed the most FTEs (99,490) in January among the network airlines, Southwest employed the most FTEs (54,051) among low-cost airlines, and Envoy employed the most FTEs (11,059) among regional airlines (Table 6). The three airlines with the most FTEs in January – American, Delta and United – employed 62.4 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 March 7. Additional airline employment data and previous press releases can be found on the BTS website. BTS has scheduled release of January passenger airline employment data for April 20.  

Most recent 13 months - percent change from same month of the previous year
View Table Data
Network Airlines Low-Cost Airlines Regional Airlines All Passenger Airlines**
Jan 2015-Jan 20163.37.92.04.1
Feb 2015-Feb 20163.28.50.23.8
Mar 2015-Mar 20162.99.60.13.9
Apr 2015-Apr 20162.410.20.13.7
May 2015-May 20162.310.70.23.7
June 2015-Jun 20162.311.00.93.9
July 2015-July 20162.411.33.34.4
Aug 2015-Aug 20162.511.03.34.4
Sep 2015-Sep 20162.610.62.94.4
Oct 2015-Oct 20162.710.30.34.0
Nov 2015-Nov 20162.39.80.23.6
Dec 2015-Dec 20162.49.50.23.7
Jan 2016-Jan 20172.39.71.93.9
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. 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
Network Airlines Low-Cost Airlines Regional Airlines All Passenger Airlines**
Jan 2016-Feb 20160.31.2-0.10.4
Feb 2016-Mar 20160.50.80.00.5
Mar 2016-Apr 20160.31.2-0.10.4
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 20160.00.5-0.50.1
Sep 2016-Oct 20160.20.9-0.10.3
Oct 2016-Nov 2016-0.20.50.00.0
Nov 2016-Dec 20160.10.00.00.1
Dec 2016-Jan 2017-0.11.01.60.4
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 compared to same month the previous year
View Table Data
Month2014201520162017
January0.41.24.13.9
February0.31.83.8
March0.61.93.9
April0.82.43.7
May1.12.63.7
June0.93.13.9
July1.32.74.4
August0.93.34.4
September1.03.34.4
October0.84.04.0
November1.33.83.6
December1.33.93.7
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
Month20132014201520162017Percent Change
2013-20172016-2017
January380,042381,819386,528402,208417,8339.93.9
February380,414381,985388,976403,917
March380,540383,575390,817406,113
April380,487384,265393,439407,763
May381,372385,619395,621410,338
June381,672385,243396,973412,333
July381,299386,243396,503413,746
August380,486384,478397,007414,242
September380,165384,501397,326414,558
October381,178384,700399,928415,979
November381,224386,912401,280416,046
December380,809386,222401,440416,337
12-Month Average380,807384,630395,487411,132
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 Low-Cost Regional All Passenger Airlines**
2013 254,377 69,465 50,640 380,042
2014 255,518 69,693 50,425 381,819
2015 257,627 72,909 49,477 386,528
2016 266,245 78,638 50,482 402,208
2017 272,407 86,287 51,430 417,833
Percent of Total Passenger Airline Employees in 2017 65.2%20.7%12.3%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

(January of each year)
View Table Data
NetworkLow-CostRegional Other
200666.416.914.62.1
201267.517.713.61.2
201666.219.612.61.7
201765.220.712.31.8
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*
View Table Data
Rank AirlineTotal FTE EmployeesCarrier Group**Top 10 Airlines January 2016
1American 99,490 NetworkAmerican
2United 82,146 NetworkDelta
3Delta 79,157 NetworkUnited
4Southwest 54,051 Low-CostSouthwest
5JetBlue 16,789 Low-CostJetBlue
6Alaska 11,614 Network Alaska
7Envoy 11,059 RegionalEnvoy
8SkyWest 10,985 Regional SkyWest
9ExpressJet 6,233 Regional ExpressJet
10Hawaiian 5,600 OtherSpirit
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
February0.11.43.2
March0.61.72.9
April0.42.42.4
May0.52.72.3
June0.33.12.3
July0.43.12.4
August0.13.72.5
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
Month20132014201520162017Percent Change
2013-20172016-2017
January254,377255,518257,627266,245272,4077.12.3
February254,955255,158258,796266,987
March254,871256,342260,794268,375
April255,674256,732262,905269,169
May256,274257,578264,438270,559
June256,791257,491265,486271,503
July256,474257,541265,551271,963
August255,800256,095265,567272,112
September255,194256,133265,315272,136
October255,741256,409265,704272,787
November255,914256,823266,251272,347
December255,155257,251266,136272,614
12-Month Average255,602256,589263,714270,566
Notes: 

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

(FTEs for January of each year. Ranked by January 2017 FTEs)
View Table Data
Rank Airline 20132014201520162017 Percent Change
2013-2017 2016-2017
1 AA/US Combined 89,744 91,260 93,013 97,509 99,490 10.92.0
American** 59,426 59,686 60,999 97,509 99,490 N/A2.0
US Airways** 30,318 31,574 32,014 N/A N/A N/AN/A
2 United 82,209 81,368 78,401 79,067 82,146 -0.13.9
3 Delta 73,174 73,372 76,011 78,713 79,157 8.20.6
4 Alaska 9,250 9,518 10,202 10,956 11,614 25.66.0
Total 254,377 255,518 257,627 266,245 272,407 7.12.3
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

Percent change compared to same month of the previous year
View Table Data
Month2014201520162017
January0.34.67.99.7
February0.74.68.5
March0.83.99.6
April1.54.210.2
May1.84.310.7
June2.24.911.0
July2.55.211.3
August3.05.811.0
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
January69,46569,69372,90978,63886,28724.29.7
February69,63070,13573,35179,578
March69,85470,38473,16380,202
April69,67770,75173,69581,180
May69,81871,09574,16782,070
June69,57471,07474,59282,796
July69,51071,27274,99983,481
August69,28671,38775,54983,823
September69,42671,42876,17684,284
October69,49672,11077,06384,945
November69,40273,01477,78385,439
December69,36572,39978,03585,434
12-Month Average69,54271,22975,12482,656
Notes: 

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

(FTEs for January of each year. Ranked by January 2017 FTEs)
View Table Data
Rank20132014201520162017Percent Change
2013-20172016-2017
1Southwest 45,835 44,983 46,588 49,981 54,051 17.98.1
2JetBlue 12,593 13,119 13,751 15,255 16,789 33.310.1
3Spirit 2,992 3,604 4,033 4,808 5,642 88.617.3
4Allegiant 1,808 2,080 2,397 2,894 3,429 89.718.5
5Frontier 3,866 3,412 3,612 2,962 3,414 -11.715.3
6Virgin America 2,371 2,495 2,528 2,738 2,962 24.98.2
Total 69,465 69,693 72,909 78,638 86,287 24.29.7
Notes: 

* 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
View Table Data
Month2014201520162017
January-0.4-1.92.01.9
February0.5-0.30.2
March0.9-0.50.4
April2.3-0.40.1
May2.4-0.30.2
June1.90.10.9
July3.5-3.33.3
August2.5-2.73.3
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
January50,64050,42549,47750,48251,4301.61.9
February50,19150,45850,31850,416
March50,18150,62350,36150,424
April49,38750,52650,32650,374
May49,42450,63350,46950,554
June49,41550,33650,37350,823
July49,38751,10749,40351,021
August49,43450,67149,32050,957
September49,54650,57449,23150,677
October49,89049,78950,48650,637
November49,85150,60550,52250,625
December50,19150,08350,52150,616
12-Month Average49,79550,48650,06750,634
Notes: 

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

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

(FTEs for January of each year. Ranked by January 2017 FTEs)
View Table Data
Rank20132014201520162017Percent Change
2013-20172016-2017
1Envoy 11,324 11,017 10,693 10,657 11,059 -2.33.8
2SkyWest 9,400 9,816 9,700 10,438 10,985 16.95.2
3ExpressJet 8,832 9,178 8,525 7,325 6,233 -29.4-14.9
4YX/S5/RP Combined 5,444 5,886 5,904 5,410 5,516 1.32.0
Republic# 2,160 2,747 3,141 3,133 5,516 155.476.1
Shuttle America# 2,035 1,977 2,763 2,277 N/A N/AN/A
Chautauqua# 1,249 1,162 N/A N/A N/A N/AN/A
5Endeavor 4,902 3,911 3,383 3,321 3,811 -22.314.8
6Horizon 2,706 2,795 2,881 3,277 3,287 21.50.3
7Mesa 1,542 1,817 2,272 2,828 3,074 99.48.7
8PSA 1,078 1,166 1,799 2,496 2,815 161.112.8
9Compass 1,097 1,196 1,294 1,653 1,934 76.317.0
10Air Wisconsin 2,535 2,512 1,914 1,840 1,401 -44.7-23.9
11GoJet 1,019 1,131 1,112 1,237 1,315 29.06.3
12Executive## 761 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/AN/A
Total 50,640 50,425 49,477 50,482 51,430 1.61.9
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.

## 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