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 Find the latest Coronavirus-related transportation statistics on the BTS COVID-19 landing page.

United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

May Airline Industry Employment Up 0.4% from April

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Contact: BTSNews@dot.gov  
 

U.S. airlines employed 709,554 workers in May 2021, 3,050 more than in April 2021 (706,504) and 45,541 fewer than in March 2020 (755,095). 

The May industry numbers consist of 598,580 full-time and 110,974 part-time workers.

From the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 through May 2021, the largest passenger airlines dropped 55,920 employees: United Airlines, -22,830; Delta Air Lines, -21,647; and American Airlines, -11,443. During that time, major cargo airlines added 25,554 employees with Federal Express adding 24,540.

Regulations require airlines to report employment numbers to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics for employees who worked or received pay for any part of the pay period(s) ending nearest the 15th day of the month. Numbers include all paid employees but do not include employees not being paid.

Total employment (full-time + part-time) by U.S. airlines (passenger + cargo carriers):

May 2020            698,712    
April 2021           706,504
May 2021           709,554

Major Airlines' Total Employees, March 2020 and May 2021
Includes Full-time and Part-time Employees

  20-Mar 21-May Change in Employees Percent Change
Alaska 17,912 16,725 -1,187 -6.6
Allegiant  4,487 4,301 -186 -4.1
American 109,108 97,665 -11,443 -10.5
Atlas  3,121 3,568 447 14.3
Delta 89,980 68,333 -21,647 -24.1
Envoy  16,781 15,447 -1,334 -7.9
Federal Express 245,010 269,550 24,540 10
Frontier 5,181 5,031 -150 -2.9
Hawaiian 7,492 5,963 -1,529 -20.4
JetBlue 21,546 18,809 -2,737 -12.7
Kalitta  2,013 2,292 279 13.9
Polar Air Cargo 226 245 19 8.4
Republic  6,519 5,584 -935 -14.3
SkyWest 20,544 14,937 -5,607 -27.3
Southwest 62,081 56,023 -6,058 -9.8
Spirit 9,213 9,045 -168 -1.8
United 91,563 68,733 -22,830 -24.9
United Parcel Service 6,279 6,548 269 4.3
Major Airline Total 719,056 668,799 -50,257 -7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Airline Employment Data (P1a)
Major Carrier: Over $1 billion annual operating revenue

Additional individual airline numbers are available on the BTS airline employment web page. The web page provides full-time and part-time employment numbers by carrier by month from 1990 through May 2021.

Reports are from all U.S. airlines including scheduled passenger, charter and cargo that meet the reporting standard. 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 next web update for full-time and part-time employment is scheduled for Aug. 5. The BTS press release on full-time equivalent employment for scheduled passenger airlines through May, with historic comparisons and summary tables will be issued July 22.

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