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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 Added 8,404 Jobs in September 2022; Employment Remains 4.6% Above Pre-Pandemic September 2019

Thursday, November 10, 2022

BTS 49-22



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

U.S. airline industry (passenger and cargo airlines combined) employment increased to 777,510 workers in September 2022, 8,404 (1.09%) more workers than in August 2022 (769,106) and 34,410 (4.63%) more than in pre-pandemic September 2019 (743,100). 

U.S. scheduled-service passenger airlines employed 493,998 workers (full- and part-time) in September or 64% of the industry-wide total. Passenger airlines added 4,594 employees in September for a seventeenth consecutive month of job growth dating back to May 2021. Delta led scheduled passenger carriers, adding 1,311 employees; United added 1,047; and Southwest Airlines added 658. 

U.S. cargo airlines employed 279,562 workers in September, 36% of the industry total. Cargo carriers gained 4,596 employees in September.  FedEx, the leading air cargo employer, increased employment by 57 jobs.



Scheduled passenger airlines add 3,812 full-time equivalents in September for 17th consecutive month of job growth


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 September industry-wide numbers include 667,071 full-time and 110,439 part-time workers for a total of 722,291 FTEs, an increase from August of 7,505 FTEs (1.05%). September’s total number of FTEs remains just 5.53% above pre-pandemic September 2019’s 684,443 FTEs.

The 26 U.S. scheduled passenger airlines reporting data for September 2022 employed 467,328 FTEs, 3,812 FTEs (0.82%) more than in August 2022. September’s total number of scheduled passenger airline FTEs is 16,296 FTEs (3.61%) above pre-pandemic September 2019. Data by passenger carrier category can be found in the accompanying tables.

U.S. cargo airlines employed 251,058 FTEs in September, up 4,398 FTEs (1.78%) from August. U.S. cargo airlines have increased FTEs by 21,254 (9.25%) since pre-pandemic September 2019.



Reporting Notes

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers as of October 11, 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 September 2022.

Missing carriers: 2HQ (Elite), AMQ (Ameristar), WL (World Atlantic dba Caribbean Sun) and 3FQ (Jet Edge / Western Air Charter, Inc.) requested extensions.

ExpressJet (EV) is in Chapter 11 and discontinued operations on August 22nd. EV filed a P-1(a) report on 9/28/22 for August activity.  There are no operations to report for September and beyond.

To see current status of reporting carriers for: Air Carrier Financial: Schedule P-1(a) Employees Release History, see: 

The next update for U.S. airline employment is scheduled for December 12.

Please be aware that tabulations with TranStats may reflect adjusted information and, therefore, may be more accurate than static tables provided in this and previous BTS statistical releases. Statistical releases are not updated when data are revised or resubmitted; if TranStats tabulations differ from statistical releases, use the TranStats tabulations.