Numbers of US-based airline employees continue to shrink


The number of employees at U.S-based airlines as of March, 2010, was the lowest since 1990 according to a Department of Transportation (DOT) report. Commercial airline employment in March dropped by 3.8 percent versus March of 2009 according to DOT statistics. This is the 21st consecutive monthly decrease in the number of employees at scheduled airlines.

As of March, 2010, there was the equivalent of 377,261 full-time employees at U.S. commercial airlines, a decrease of 14,800 from just one year ago. This is the lowest monthly total number of airline employees since at least 1990. The number of employees dropped at all five network airlines (American, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways) as well as at Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways.

Regional carriers American Eagle, Comair and Atlantic Southeast also reported a reduction in the number of employees.

Several low-cost airlines reported more employees, including Frontier with an increase of 13.2 percent, Allegiant Air up 9.8 percent, Virgin America with 9.2 percent more employees, Jet Blue up 6.7 percent and Spirit Airlines with an increase of 6.2 percent.

Since 2006, United Airlines has reduced its workforce the most of any domestic carrier, with a decrease of 18 percent. American Airlines has 11 percent fewer employees during the same time period.