Passenger Airline Employment

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July 2017 Passenger Airline Employment Data

Release Number: 
BTS 46-17
Date: 
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 3.5 percent more workers in July 2017 than in July 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. July was the highest monthly full-time equivalent (FTE) employment total (428,209) since January 2005 (430,780) and was the 45th 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
July FTEs in thousands (000)
1990465.8
1991450.7
1992453.4
1993446.4
1994439.2
1995431.0
1996437.2
1997455.5
1998474.6
1999501.7
2000524.8
2001537.2
2002473.4
2003434.4
2004444.4
2005428.1
2006403.0
2007414.3
2008411.1
2009386.8
2010378.1
2011387.5
2012388.6
2013381.3
2014386.2
2015396.5
2016413.7
2017428.2
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 rose 0.1 percent from June to July (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 reported 2.3 percent more FTEs in July 2017 than in July 2016 (Tables 7, 8, 9).  Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines increased FTEs from July 2016. Month-to-month, the number of network airline FTEs showed no change from June to July (Table 1A).

The network airlines employed 8.5 percent more FTEs in July 2017 than in July 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 7.3 percent more FTEs in July 2017 than in July 2016 (Tables 10, 11, 12).  Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Allegiant Airlines, 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 June to July (Table 1A). The six low-cost airlines employed 28.9 percent more FTEs in July 2017 than in July 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 2.7 percent more FTEs in July 2017 than in July 2016 (Tables 13, 14, 15). Eight regional airlines – PSA Airlines, Envoy Air, Endeavor Air, SkyWest Airlines, Republic Airlines, Horizon Air, GoJet and Mesa Airlines increased FTEs from July 2016. Air Wisconsin, ExpressJet Airlines and Compass Airlines reported a decrease (Table 15). Month-to-month, the number of regional airline FTEs rose 0.5 percent from June to July (Table 1A). The 11 regional carriers reporting in July 2017 employed 6.1 percent more FTEs in July 2017 than the 15 carriers reporting in July 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 65.0 percent of the 428,209 FTEs employed by all scheduled passenger airlines in July, the six low-cost carriers employed 20.9 percent and the 11 regional carriers employed 12.2 percent (Table 4). In comparison, in July 2006, network airlines employed 65.7 percent of the FTEs, six low-cost carriers employed 17.4 percent and regional carriers employed 14.7 percent (Table 5).

Top Employers by Group: American employed the most FTEs (100,816) in July among the network airlines, Southwest employed the most FTEs (55,356) among low-cost airlines, and Envoy employed the most FTEs (11,759) among regional airlines. The three airlines with the most FTEs in July – American, United and Delta– employed 62.1 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 Sept. 12,  Additional airline employment data and previous press releases can be found on the BTS website.  BTS has scheduled release of August 2017 passenger airline employment data for Oct. 19.

Most recent 13 months - percent change from same month of the previous year
View Table Data
Network AirlinesLow-Cost AirlinesRegional AirlinesOther AirlinesAll Passenger Airlines **
Jul 2015 - Jul 20162.411.33.311.24.3
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
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

View Table Data
Network AirlinesLow-Cost AirlinesRegional AirlinesOther AirlinesAll Passenger Airlines **
Jul 2016 - Aug 20160.10.4-0.10.90.1
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
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
2014201520162017
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
August1.03.34.3
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
Percent Change
201320142015201620172013 - 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
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 - Jul Average 380,832 384,107 392,694 408,041 423,615 11.2 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 256,474 69,510 49,387 5,928 381,299
2014 257,541 71,272 51,107 6,323 386,243
2015 265,551 74,999 49,403 6,550 396,503
2016 271,963 83,481 51,021 7,281 413,746
2017 278,325 89,576 52,408 7,900 428,209
Percent of Total Passenger Airline Employees in 2017 65.0 20.9 12.2 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

Domestic RPMs (seasonally-adjusted) in billions (000,000,000), Scheduled service only
View Table Data
2014201520162017
January48.850.753.756.1
February49.251.054.055.5
March50.052.053.856.2
April49.351.854.456.5
May49.352.055.156.9
June49.352.355.357.1
July49.652.955.0
August49.553.254.6
September49.853.155.5
October49.954.055.6
November50.153.655.8
December50.754.255.8
Notes: 

Revenue passenger-miles are a measure of the volume of air passenger transportation. A revenue passenger-mile is equal to one paying passenger carried one mile.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Segment

Ranked by Number of Full-Time Equivalent Employees*
View Table Data
RankAirlineTotal FTE EmployeesCarrier Group**Top 10 Airlines July 2016
1American 100,816 NetworkAmerican
2United 82,959 NetworkUnited
3Delta 81,949 NetworkDelta
4Southwest 55,356 Low-costSouthwes
5JetBlue 17,639 Low-costJetBlue
6Alaska 12,601 NetworkAlaska
7Envoy 11,759 RegionalSkyWest
8SkyWest 11,624 RegionalEnvoy
9Spirit 6,217 Low-costExpressJet
10Hawaiian 5,738 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
August0.13.72.5
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
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
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 - Jul Average 255,631 256,623 262,228 269,257 275,907 7.9 2.5
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 July of each year. Ranked by July 2017 FTEs)
View Table Data
RankAirline20132014201520162017Percent Change
2013 - 20172016 - 2017
1American (+ US) 90,196 91,651 96,826 98,808 100,816 11.82.0
American 59,056 59,962 96,826 98,808 100,816 70.72.0
US Airways 31,140 31,689 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2United 82,499 79,800 78,737 81,613 82,959 0.61.6
3Delta 74,212 76,101 79,117 80,289 81,949 10.42.1
4Alaska 9,567 9,989 10,871 11,253 12,601 31.712.0
Total 256,474 257,541 265,551 271,963 278,325 8.52.3
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
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
August3.05.811.0
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
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 - Jul Average 69,647 70,629 73,839 81,135 88,138 26.5 8.6
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 July of each year. Ranked by July 2017 FTEs)
View Table Data
RankAirline20132014201520162017Percent Change
2013 - 20172016 - 2017
1Southwest 45,128 45,523 47,875 52,545 55,356 22.75.3
2JetBlue 12,998 13,513 14,804 16,129 17,639 35.79.4
3Spirit 3,337 3,743 4,311 5,295 6,217 86.317.4
4Allegiant 2,025 2,227 2,561 3,423 3,657 80.66.8
5Frontier 3,612 3,748 2,787 3,147 3,576 -1.013.6
6Virgin America 2,410 2,518 2,661 2,942 3,131 29.96.4
Total 69,510 71,272 74,999 83,481 89,576 28.97.3
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
2014201520162017
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
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
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 - Jul Average 49,804 50,587 50,104 50,585 51,754 3.92.3
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 

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

(FTEs for July of each year. Ranked by July 2017 FTEs)
View Table Data
RankAirline20132014201520162017Percent Change
201220122012201220122013 - 20172016 - 2017
1Envoy 11,124 10,996 9,692 10,798 11,759 5.78.9
2SkyWest 9,410 9,881 10,042 10,828 11,624 23.57.4
3ExpressJet 9,020 9,267 7,827 6,703 5,440 -39.7-18.8
4YX/S5/RP Combined# 5,661 5,853 5,914 5,260 5,564 -1.75.8
Republic 2,413 2,942 3,149 3,542 5,564 130.657.1
Shuttle America 2,065 2,056 2,765 1,718 N/A N/A N/A
Chautauqua 1,183 855 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
5Endeavor 4,094 3,785 3,247 3,631 3,946 -3.68.7
6Horizon 2,660 2,846 3,112 3,309 3,442 29.44.0
7Mesa 1,718 2,115 2,600 3,006 3,084 79.52.6
8PSA 1,062 1,501 2,281 2,620 3,057 187.916.7
9Compass 1,090 1,250 1,616 1,881 1,774 62.8-5.7
10GoJet 1,076 1,103 1,195 1,327 1,378 28.13.8
11Air Wisconsin 2,472 2,510 1,877 1,658 1,340 -45.8-19.2
Total 49,387 51,107 49,403 51,021 52,408 6.12.7
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.
Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics