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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

June 2018 U.S. Passenger Airline Employment Data

Monday, August 20, 2018
Date: Monday, August 20, 2018

U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 2.7 percent more workers in June 2018 than in June 2017:

  • June’s 439,422 full-time equivalents (FTE) was the highest monthly employment total since November 2004 (439,776 FTEs).
  • June was the 56th consecutive month that U.S. scheduled passenger airline FTEs exceeded the same month of the previous year.

Scheduled Passenger Airline Full-Time Equivalent Employees, Month of June, 1990-2018

June FTEs in thousands (000)
1990 460.9
1991 447.9
1992 451.3
1993 445.8
1994 433.4
1995 429.0
1996 441.3
1997 452.6
1998 473.1
1999 498.1
2000 521.4
2001 545.9
2002 472.4
2003 440.0
2004 441.0
2005 423.3
2006 403.3
2007 413.7
2008 414.2
2009 387.7
2010 378.9
2011 387.1
2012 388.3
2013 381.7
2014 385.2
2015 397.0
2016 412.3
2017 427.8
2018 439.4
Notes:

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

Source:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

All 21 scheduled service passenger airlines

  • 439,422 FTEs
  • Up 2.7 percent (11,604 FTEs) over June 2017 (427,818 FTEs)
  • Up 14.1 percent (54,179 FTEs) over June 2014 (385,243 FTEs)

Four network airlines

  • 286,670 FTEs, 65.2 percent of total scheduled passenger airline FTEs
  • Up 3.0 percent (8,280 FTEs) over June 2017 (278,390 FTEs)
  • Up 11.3 percent (29,179 FTEs) over June 2014 (257,491 FTEs)

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics defines network airlines as operating a significant portion of their flights using at least one hub where connections are made for flights to down-line destinations or spoke cities. Note that beginning with January 2018 data, Virgin America’s numbers are included with Alaska Airlines in the network category.

Five low-cost airlines

  • 91,038 FTEs, 20.7 percent of total scheduled passenger airline FTEs
  • Up 1.8 percent (1,646 FTEs) over June 2017 (89,392 FTEs)
  • Up 28.1 percent (19,964 FTEs) over June 2014 (71,074 FTEs)  

Low-cost airlines operate under a low-cost business model, with infrastructure and aircraft operating costs below the overall industry average.

10 regional airlines

  • 53,858 FTEs, 12.3 percent of total scheduled passenger airline FTEs
  • Up 3.3 percent (1,714 FTEs) over June 2017 (52,144 FTEs)
  • Up 7.0 percent (3,522 FTEs) over June 2014 (50,336 FTEs)

Regional carriers typically provide service from small cities, using primarily regional jets to support the network carriers’ hub and spoke systems.

Top Employers by Group

  • Network: American    102,857 FTEs
  • Low-Cost: Southwest   57,674 FTEs
  • Regional: SkyWest       13,508 FTEs

Two other airlines

Other carriers generally operate within specific niche markets. They are: Hawaiian Airlines and Sun Country Airlines.

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.                                  

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers as of Aug. 8. Additional airline employment data and previous releases can be found on the BTS website. BTS has scheduled release of July passenger airline employment data for Sept. 25.