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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

U.S. Cargo and Passenger Airlines Add 3,411 Jobs in January 2022 for New COVID-19 Pandemic High; Employment Remains 2.3% Below Pre-Pandemic January 2020

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

BTS 11-22

Scheduled passenger airlines add 5,375 full-time equivalents for 9th consecutive month of job growth


U.S. Airline Employees Headcount (Full-time and Part-time Employees)

U.S. airline industry (passenger and cargo airlines combined) employment increased to 733,491 workers in January 2022, 3,411 (0.47%) more workers than in December 2021 (730,080) and 16,848 (2.25%) fewer than in pre-pandemic January 2020 (750,339). The January 2022 figure is the highest industry headcount since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. scheduled-service passenger airlines employed 450,065 workers in January or 61% of the industry-wide total. Passenger airlines added 5,285 employees in January for a ninth consecutive month of job growth dating back to May 2021. American Airlines led scheduled passenger carriers, adding 1,319 employees; Southwest Airlines added 1,132 employees. U.S. cargo airlines employed 283,426 workers in January, 39% of the industry total. Cargo carriers added 368 employees in January. FedEx, the leading air cargo employer, decreased employment by 551 jobs.


U.S. Airline Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs)

BTS calculates FTEs by dividing the number of part-time employees by 2 and adding that figure to the number of full-time employees. The January industry-wide numbers include 625,753 full-time and 107,738 part-time workers for a total of 679,622 FTEs, an increase from December of 3,765 FTEs (0.56%). January’s total number of FTEs remains just 1.71% below pre-pandemic January 2020’s 691,457 FTEs.

The 22 U.S. scheduled passenger airlines reporting data for January 2022 employed 426,360 FTEs, 5,375 FTEs (1.28%) more than in December 2021. January’s total number of scheduled passenger airline FTEs remains 29,883 FTEs (6.55%) below pre-pandemic January 2020. Data by passenger carrier category can be found in the accompanying tables.



U.S. cargo airlines employed 253,262 FTEs in January, up 478 FTEs (0.19%) from December. U.S. cargo airlines have increased FTEs by 18,048 (7.67%) since pre-pandemic January 2020.


Reporting Notes

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers as of March 4, 2022. Additional airline employment data and previous releases can be found on the BTS website.

Passenger, cargo, and charter 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. Regulations require U.S. airlines to report employment numbers for employees who worked or received pay for any part of the pay period(s) ending nearest the 15th day of the month.

See the tables that accompany this release on the BTS website for detailed data since 2015 (Tables 1-15) and industry summary monthly data since 1990. 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 January 2022.

The next update for U.S. airline employment is scheduled for April 7.