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Bureau of Transportation Statistics: US passenger airline employment up

US scheduled passenger airlines employed 3.7 percent more workers in December 2016 than in December 2015, the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported tod

US scheduled passenger airlines employed 3.7 percent more workers in December 2016 than in December 2015, the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. December was the highest monthly FTE total (416,337) since March 2008 (416,457) and was the 38th consecutive month that US scheduled passenger airline full-time equivalent (FTE) employment exceeded the same month of the previous year.

Month-to-month, the number of FTEs rose 0.1 percent from November to December (Table 1A). Scheduled passenger airline categories include network, low-cost, regional and other airlines.


The four network airlines that collectively employ two-thirds of the scheduled passenger airline FTEs reported 2.4 percent more FTEs in December 2016 than in December 2015. Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines increased FTEs from December 2015. Month-to-month, the number of network airline FTEs rose 0.1 percent from November to December.

The network airlines employed 7.3 percent more FTEs in December 2016 than in December 2012. Network airlines operate a significant portion of their flights using at least one hub where connections are made for flights to down-line destinations or spoke cities.

The six low-cost carriers reported 9.5 percent more FTEs in December 2016 than in December 2015. Allegiant Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Virgin America and Southwest Airlines increased FTEs from December 2015. Month-to-month, the number of low-cost airline FTEs was virtually unchanged from November to December. The six low-cost airlines employed 22.4 percent more FTEs in December 2016 than in December 2012. Low-cost airlines operate under a low-cost business model, with infrastructure and aircraft operating costs below the overall industry average.

The 12 regional carriers reported 0.2 percent more FTEs in December 2016 than in December 2015. Nine regional airlines – Republic Airlines, Compass Airlines, Endeavor Air, PSA Airlines, Mesa Airlines, GoJet Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, Horizon Air and Envoy Air increased FTEs from December 2015. The others reported decreases. Month-to-month, the number of regional airline FTEs was virtually unchanged from November to December. The 12 regional carriers reporting in December 2016 employed 0.4 percent more FTEs than the 14 carriers reporting in December 2012. Regional carriers typically provide service from small cities, using primarily regional jets to support the network carriers’ hub and spoke systems.