USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

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 Added 2,867 Jobs in April 2023; Employment Remains 8.4% Above Pre-Pandemic April 2019

Friday, June 9, 2023

BTS 28-23


April 2023 Airline Employment Infographic


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

U.S. airline industry (passenger and cargo airlines combined) employment increased to 796,846 workers in April 2023, 2,867 (0.36%) more workers than in March 2023 (793,979) and 61,859 (8.42%) more than in pre-pandemic April 2019 (734,987). 

U.S. scheduled-service passenger airlines employed 517,511 workers in April 2023 or 65% of the industry-wide total. Passenger airlines added 4,584 employees in April 2023 for a twenty-fourth consecutive month of job growth dating back to May 2021. American Airlines led scheduled passenger carriers, adding 1,102 employees; United added 1,071, and Delta added 992.

U.S. cargo airlines employed 274,403 workers in April 2023, 35% of the industry total. Cargo carriers lost 1,669 employees in April. FedEx, the leading air cargo employer, decreased employment by 1,595 jobs.

Line chart showing total U.S. Airline industry employment for April 2021 through April 2023


Scheduled passenger airlines add 2,990 full-time equivalents in April 2023 for 24th consecutive month of job growth

Line chart showing total U.S. Airline industry employment for April 2021 through April 2023

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 April 2023 industry-wide numbers include 686,273 full-time and 110,573 part-time workers for a total of 741,560 FTEs, an increase from March of 2,990 FTEs (0.40%). April 2023’s total number of FTEs remains just 9.66% above pre-pandemic April 2019’s 676,210 FTEs.

The 26 U.S. scheduled passenger airlines reporting data for April 2023 employed 490,954 FTEs, 4,403 FTEs (0.90%) more than in March 2023. April 2023’s total number of scheduled passenger airline FTEs is 44,822 FTEs (10.05%) above pre-pandemic April 2019. Data by passenger carrier category can be found in the accompanying tables.

U.S. cargo airlines employed 245,775 FTEs in April 2023, down 1,360 FTEs (0.55%) from March 2023. U.S. cargo airlines have increased FTEs by 19,852 (8.79%) since pre-pandemic April 2019.


Bar chart showing employees at U.S. scheduled passenger airlines for April 1990-2023


Reporting Notes

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers as of June 5, 2023. Additional 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 April 2023.

Missing carriers: 2HQ (Elite), and 1TQ (Rhoades Aviation dba Transair). ExpressJet (EV) is in Chapter 11 and discontinued operations on August 22nd, 2022.  EV filed a P-1(a) report on 9/28/22 for August activity.  There are no operations to report for September 2022 and beyond.

The next update for U.S. airline employment is scheduled for Monday, July 10, 2023.