January 2014 U.S. Passenger Airline Employment Up 0.5 Percent from January 2013

2014-03-24
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  • Bureau of Transportation Statistics U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 381,819 workers in January 2014, 0.5 percent more than in January 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. January was the second consecutive month that full-time equivalent (FTE) employment for U.S. scheduled passenger carriers was higher than the same month of the previous year after 15 months of declines

    Scheduled Passenger Airline Full-Time Equivalent Employees, 

    Month of January, 1990-2014

    Graph - Scheduled Passenger Airline Full-Time Equivalent Employees,  Month of January, 1990-2014

     

    The January 2014 FTE total for scheduled passenger carriers was 1,777 more than in January 2013 (Table 3). Scheduled passenger airline categories include network, low-cost, regional and other airlines. Historical employment data can be found on the BTS web site. 

    The five network airlines that collectively employ two-thirds of the scheduled passenger airline FTEs reported 0.4 percent more FTEs in January 2014 than in January 2013, the second month with more FTEs than the same month of the previous year for the group after 16 months of declines (Table 7). US Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines increased FTEs from January 2013 while United Airlines reduced FTEs (Table 9). Network airlines operate a significant portion of flights using at least one hub where connections are made for flights to down-line destinations or spoke cities.

    Of the six low-cost carriers, four - Spirit Airlines, Allegiant Airlines, Virgin America and JetBlue Airways - reported an increase in FTEs from January 2013 while two - Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines - reported a decline (Table 12). Low-cost airlines operate under a low-cost business model, with infrastructure and aircraft operating costs below the overall industry average.

    Among the 13 regional carriers, five carriers reported reduced employment levels in January compared to the previous year: Endeavor Airlines, Chautauqua Airlines, Shuttle America, American Eagle Airlines and Air Wisconsin (Table 15). Regional carriers typically provide service from small cities, using primarily regional jets to support the network carriers’ hub and spoke systems.

    Carrier Groups: The five network airlines employed 66.9 percent of the total number of FTEs employed by all scheduled passenger airlines in January, the six low-cost carriers employed 18.3 percent and the 13 regional carriers employed 13.2 percent (Table 4). The three airlines with the most FTEs in January – United, Delta and American – employed 56.2 percent of the month’s total passenger airline FTEs (Table 6). These three airlines carried 39.6 percent of total passengers traveling on U.S. airlines in December, the most recent month available. See Air Traffic press releases.

    Top employers by group: United employed the most FTEs (81,368) in January among the network airlines, Southwest employed the most FTEs (44,983) among low-cost airlines, and American Eagle Airlines employed the most FTEs (11,017) among regional airlines. Four of the top five employers in the industry are network airlines (Table 6).

    Airline Mergers: Airlines that announce mergers begin joint reporting following U.S. Department of Transportation approval and issuance of a single economic certificate.  Southwest and AirTran Airways began joint reporting of their financial data in April 2012 under a waiver granted by the Department, while reporting the rest of their data as separate carriers. American and US Airways, following their December 2013 merger announcement, will report separately until the Department approves single carrier reporting and a single economic certificate is issued.

    Network Airlines

    Recent Changes: The network airlines employed 1,141 more FTEs in January 2014 than in January 2013, a 0.4 percent increase. Four of the five network carriers reported an FTE increase from January 2013 while United reported a decrease (Tables 8, 9).

    Longer-term Changes: The network airlines employed 2,269 fewer FTEs in January 2014 than in January 2010, a 0.9 percent decrease. American (10.4 percent) and Delta (2.4) reported a decrease in FTE employment from 2010 to 2014 while US Airways (5.8 percent) reported an increase. United’s numbers for the two years are not directly comparable because of the intervening merger. United reported 5.8 percent more FTEs in January 2014 than United and Continental Airlines reported separately in January 2010 (Tables 8, 9).

    Low-Cost Airlines

    Recent Changes: The six low-cost airlines reported 0.3 percent fewer FTEs as a group from January 2013 to January 2014. Frontier and Southwest reported year-to-year decreases while the remaining four airlines reported increases (Table 12).

    Longer-term Changes: The low-cost carriers employed 6,093 more FTEs in January 2014 than in January 2010, a 9.6 percent increase. Spirit reported the largest percentage increase, 83.4 percent, while Frontier was the only low-cost carrier to report a decline, 33.3 percent. January 2014 numbers for Southwest are not directly comparable to 2010 because of the intervening merger. Southwest reported 5.8 percent more FTEs in January 2014 than Southwest and AirTran reported separately in January 2010 (Table 12). 

    Regional Airlines

    Recent Changes: Regional airlines reported a 0.4 percent decrease in FTE employment in January 2014 compared to January 2013; one regional airline discontinued service since a year ago. Republic Airlines and Mesa Airlines reported the largest percentage increases in FTEs from January 2013 to January 2014. Endeavor and Chautauqua reported the largest percentage decreases (Table 15).

    Longer-term Changes: The 13 regional carriers operating in January employed 4.0 percent fewer FTEs in 2014 than the 18 carriers operating in January 2010.  Mesa reported the largest percentage decline followed by Horizon Air. GoJet Airlines reported the biggest four-year percentage gain. The ExpressJet/Atlantic Southeast combination reported 5.9 percent more FTE’s in January 2014 than the two airlines reported separately in January 2010. The Endeavor/Mesaba combination reported 36.7 percent fewer FTE’s in January 2014 than the two airlines reported separately in January 2010 (Table 15).

    Endeavor operated as Pinnacle prior to August 2013.

    Reporting Notes

    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.

    The “Other Carrier” category generally reflects those airlines that operate within specific niche markets such as Hawaiian Airlines and Island Air Hawaii serving the Hawaiian Islands. 

    Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers as of March 7.  Additional airline employment data and previous press releases can be found on the BTS website. BTS has scheduled release of February passenger airline employment data for April 17.

     

    Table 1: Change from Previous Year in Scheduled Passenger Airline Full-time Equivalent Employees* by Airline Group

    Most recent 13 months - percent change compared to same month the previous year

    MonthNetwork AirlinesLow-Cost AirlinesRegional AirlinesAll Passenger Airlines**
    Jan 2012-Jan 2013 -3.1 1.1 -4.1 -2.2
    Feb 2012-Feb 2013 -3.0 0.2 -5.0 -2.4
    Mar 2012-Mar 2013 -3.3 -0.1 -4.6 -2.6
    Apr 2012-Apr 2013 -3.0 -0.3 -3.8 -2.4
    May 2012-May 2013 -3.0 -0.3 -4.4 -2.4
    Jun 2012-Jun 2013 -2.8 -0.6 -4.4 -2.4
    Jul 2012-Jul 2013 -2.8 -0.4 -6.3 -2.6
    Aug 2012-Aug 2013 -2.5 0.0 -5.1 -2.2
    Sep 2012-Sep 2013 -2.1 -0.2 -3.0 -1.6
    Oct 2012-Oct 2013 -1.4 -0.1 -0.8 -0.8
    Nov 2012-Nov 2013 -0.4 -0.1 -0.5 -0.1
    Dec 2012-Dec 2013 0.4 -0.6 -0.5 0.3
    Jan 2013-Jan 2014 0.4 0.3 -0.4 0.5

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

    ** Includes network, low-cost, regional and other carriers. Other Carriers generally operate within specific niche markets. They are: Hawaiian Airlines, Sun Country Airlines and Island Air Hawaii.

    Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

    Note: See Table 2 for all passenger airlines, Table 7 for Network, Table 10 for Low-Cost and Table 13 for Regional.

     

    Table 2: Change from Previous Year in Scheduled Passenger Airline* Full-time Equivalent Employees**

    Percent change compared to same month the previous year

    Month2011201220132014
    January 0.4 2.1 -2.3 0.5
    February 1.0 2.1 -2.5  
    March 1.5 2.1 -2.7  
    April 2.0 1.8 -2.4  
    May 2.1 1.6 -2.5  
    June 1.9 1.4 -2.4  
    July 2.3 0.8 -2.6  
    August 2.8 0.1 -2.2  
    September 2.9 -0.6 -1.6  
    October 3.0 -1.3 -0.8  
    November 2.6 -2.0 -0.1  
    December 2.7 -2.6 0.3  

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Includes network, low-cost, regional and other carriers.

    ** Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

    Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

     

    Table 3: Scheduled Passenger Airline Full-time Equivalent Employees* by Month 2010-2014

    Month20102011201220132014Percent Change
    2010-20142013-2014
    January 379,388 380,949 388,778 380,042 381,819 0.6 0.5
    February 378,020 381,831 389,901 380,375      
    March 377,261 382,796 390,761 380,536      
    April 376,204 383,411 390,243 380,957      
    May 376,957 384,974 390,957 381,423      
    June 378,297 385,383 390,923 381,672      
    July 378,060 386,843 391,286 381,299      
    August 377,835 388,523 389,000 380,564      
    September 377,676 388,641 386,372 380,165      
    October 378,112 389,444 384,310 381,178      
    November 379,335 389,361 381,639 381,224      
    December 379,651 389,728 379,576 380,809      
    12-Month Average 378,066 385,990 387,812 380,854      

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Includes network, low-cost, regional and other carriers.

    ** Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

    Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

     

    Table 4: Airline Group Full-time Equivalent Employees*, January 2010-2014

     NetworkLow-CostRegionalAll Passenger Airlines**
    2010 257,787 63,600 52,531 379,388
    2011 258,653 64,978 52,764 380,949
    2012 262,561 68,684 52,796 388,778
    2013 254,377 69,465 50,640 380,042
    2014 255,518 69,693 50,425 381,819
    Pct. Change 2010-2014 -0.9% 9.6% -4.0% 0.6%
    Percent of Total Passenger Airline Employees in 2014 66.9% 18.3% 13.2%  

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

    ** Includes network, low-cost, regional and other carriers.

     

    Table 5: Year-to-Year Change in Airline Group Full-time Equivalent Employees*, January 2010-2014

    Percent change in FTEs from the same month of the previous year

     NetworkLow-CostRegionalAll Passenger Airlines**
    2010 -2.3 1.4 -8.5 -2.9
    2011 0.3 2.2 0.4 0.4
    2012 1.5 5.7 0.1 2.1
    2013 -3.1 1.1 -4.1 -2.3
    2014 0.4 0.3 -0.4 0.5

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

    ** Includes network, low-cost, regional and other carriers.

     

    Table 6: Top 10 Airlines, January 2014

    Ranked by Number of Full-Time Equivalent Employees*

    RankAirlineTotal FTE EmployeesCarrier Group**Top 10 Airlines January 2013
    1 United 81,368 Network United
    2 Delta 73,372 Network Delta
    3 American 59,686 Network American
    4 Southwest 44,983 Low-Cost Southwest
    5 US Airways 31,574 Network US Airways
    6 JetBlue 13,119 Low-Cost JetBlue
    7 American Eagle 11,017 Regional American Eagle
    8 SkyWest 9,816 Regional SkyWest
    9 Alaska 9,518 Network Alaska
    10 ExpressJet 9,178 Regional ExpressJet

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

     

    Table 7: Network Airline Year-to-Year Change in Full-time Equivalent Employees* from the Previous Year**

    Percent change compared to same month of the previous year

     2011201220132014
    January 0.3 1.5 -3.1 0.4
    February 1.1 1.2 -3.0  
    March 1.5 1.2 -3.3  
    April 1.8 1.3 -3.0  
    May 2.1 1.3 -3.0  
    June 1.6 1.4 -2.8  
    July 2.1 0.8 -2.8  
    August 2.7 -0.2 -2.5  
    September 2.7 -0.8 -2.1  
    October 2.7 -1.4 -1.4  
    November 2.6 -2.4 -0.4  
    December 2.3 -3.3 0.4  

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

     

    Table 8: Network Airlines Full-time Equivalent Employees* by Month 2010-2014

    Month20102011201220132014Percent Change
    2010-20142013-2014
    January 257,787 258,653 262,561 254,377 255,518 -0.9 0.4
    February 256,756 259,545 262,788 254,955      
    March 256,504 260,454 263,464 254,870      
    April 255,697 260,347 263,666 255,673      
    May 255,518 260,832 264,183 256,272      
    June 256,576 260,689 264,301 256,791      
    July 256,373 261,818 263,793 256,474      
    August 256,122 263,063 262,428 255,800      
    September 255,751 262,639 260,649 255,194      
    October 255,890 262,912 259,245 255,741      
    November 256,432 263,129 256,836 255,914      
    December 256,834 262,617 254,065 255,155      
    12-Month Average 256,353 261,392 261,498 255,601      

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

    Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

     

    Table 9: Network Airline Full-time Equivalent Employees*, January 2010-2014

    (FTEs for January of each year. Ranked by January 2014 FTEs)

    RankAirline20102011201220132014Percent Change
    2010-20142013-2014
    1 UA/CO Combined 76,903 77,104 81,352 82,209 81,368 5.8 -1.0
      United** 43,787 43,647 81,352 82,209 81,368 N/A -1.0
      Continental** 33,116 33,457 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
    2 Delta 75,163 77,215 75,987 73,174 73,372 -2.4 0.3
    3 American 66,633 65,680 65,868 59,426 59,686 -10.4 0.4
    4 US Airways 29,847 29,701 30,390 30,318 31,574 5.8 4.1
    5 Alaska 9,242 8,954 8,965 9,250 9,518 3.0 2.9
      Total 257,787 258,654 262,561 254,377 255,518 -0.9 0.4

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

    ** United Airlines and Continental Airlines merged and began reporting combined numbers in January 2012.

    Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

     

    Table 10: Low-Cost Airline Year-to-Year Change in Full-time Equivalent Employees* from the Previous Year

    Percent change compared to same month of the previous year

    Month2011201220132014
    January 2.2 5.7 1.1 0.3
    February 2.3 6.4 0.2  
    March 2.3 7.1 -0.1  
    April 4.0 5.7 -0.3  
    May 4.1 5.3 -0.3  
    June 5.0 4.0 -0.6  
    July 5.3 3.5 -0.4  
    August 5.7 2.5 0.0  
    September 5.9 2.5 -0.2  
    October 6.2 1.9 -0.1  
    November 5.9 1.4 -0.1  
    December 6.6 1.3 -0.6  

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

    Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

     

    Table 11: Low-Cost Airline Full-time Equivalent Employees* by Month 2010-2014

     20102011201220132014Percent Change
    2010-20142013-2014
    January 63,600 64,978 68,684 69,464 69,693 9.6 0.3
    February 63,845 65,321 69,473 69,595      
    March 63,783 65,273 69,886 69,853      
    April 63,571 66,114 69,861 69,675      
    May 63,933 66,553 70,053 69,817      
    June 64,046 67,261 69,969 69,574      
    July 63,981 67,373 69,756 69,510      
    August 64,022 67,682 69,380 69,364      
    September 64,113 67,875 69,573 69,426      
    October 64,297 68,267 69,551 69,496      
    November 64,657 68,450 69,441 69,402      
    December 64,652 68,887 69,781 69,365      
    12-Month Average 64,042 67,003 69,617 69,545      

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    Note: Percent changes and averages based on numbers prior to rounding.

    * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

     

    Table 12: Low-Cost Airline Full-time Equivalent Employees*, January 2010-2014

    (FTEs for January of each year. Ranked by January 2014 FTEs)

    Rank 20102011201220132014Percent Change
    2010-20142013-2014
    1 WN/FL Combined 42,530 42,993 45,692 45,835 44,983 5.8 -1.9
      Southwest** 34,791 35,143 38,203 45,835 44,983 N/A -1.9
      AirTran 7,739 7,850 7,489 N/A N/A N/A N/A
    2 JetBlue 10,975 11,422 12,350 12,593 13,119 19.5 4.2
    3 Spirit 1,965 2,243 2,536 2,992 3,604 83.4 20.5
    4 Frontier 5,114 4,899 4,535 3,866 3,412 -33.3 -11.7
    5 Virgin America 1,486 1,795 1,966 2,371 2,495 67.9 5.2
    6 Allegiant 1,531 1,627 1,607 1,808 2,080 35.9 15.0
      Total 63,600 64,979 68,684 69,465 69,693 9.6 0.3

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

    ** Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways merged and began reporting combined numbers in April 2012.

    Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

     

    Table 13: Regional Airline Year-to-Year Change in Full-time Equivalent Employees* from the Previous Year

    Percent change compared to same month of the previous year

    Month2011201220132014
    January 0.4 0.1 -4.1 -0.4
    February 0.9 0.8 -5.0  
    March 1.8 0.2 -4.6  
    April 2.1 -1.5 -3.8  
    May 1.6 -2.2 -4.4  
    June 1.5 -2.5 -4.4  
    July 1.9 -3.3 -6.3  
    August 2.1 -2.3 -5.1  
    September 2.0 -4.3 -3.0  
    October 2.1 -6.0 -0.8  
    November 0.6 -5.4 -0.5  
    December 1.5 -5.4 -0.5  

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

    Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

     

    Table 14: Regional Airline Full-time Equivalent Employees* by Month 2010-2014

     20102011201220132014Percent Change
    2010-20142013-2014
    January 52,531 52,764 52,796 50,640 50,425 -4.0 -0.4
    February 51,952 52,409 52,831 50,188      
    March 51,522 52,468 52,581 50,180      
    April 51,502 52,596 51,811 49,861      
    May 52,074 52,930 51,746 49,478      
    June 52,210 52,984 51,664 49,415      
    July 52,229 53,197 52,715 49,387      
    August 52,179 53,284 52,082 49,434      
    September 52,322 53,361 51,082 49,546      
    October 52,402 53,490 50,305 49,890      
    November 52,656 52,954 50,100 49,851      
    December 52,549 53,328 50,426 50,191      
    12-Month Average 52,177 52,980 51,678 49,838      

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

    Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

     

    Table 15: Regional Airline Full-time Equivalent Employees*, January 2010-2014

    (FTEs for January of each year. Ranked by January 2014 FTEs)

    Rank 20102011201220132014Percent Change
    2010-20142013-2014
    1 American Eagle 9,044 9,523 10,065 11,324 11,017 21.8 -2.7
    2 SkyWest 8,846 9,049 9,446 9,400 9,816 11.0 4.4
    3 XE/EV Combined 8,665 8,969 9,387 8,832 9,178 5.9 3.9
      ExpressJet** 5,360 5,538 9,387 8,832 9,178 N/A 3.9
      Atlantic Southeast** 3,305 3,431 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
    4 9E/XJ Combined 6,175 5,831 5,185 4,902 3,911 -36.7 -20.2
      Endeavor*** 3,505 3,704 5,185 4,902 3,911 N/A -20.2
      Mesaba*** 2,670 2,127 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
    5 Horizon 3,158 3,090 2,813 2,706 2,795 -11.5 3.3
    6 Republic 2,581 2,363 1,966 2,160 2,747 6.4 27.2
    7 Air Wisconsin 2,492 2,546 2,590 2,535 2,512 0.8 -0.9
    8 Shuttle America 1,245 1,291 1,563 2,035 1,977 58.8 -2.9
    9 Mesa 2,409 2,022 1,815 1,542 1,817 -24.6 17.8
    10 Compass 959 992 1,043 1,097 1,196 24.7 9.0
    11 PSA 911 895 1,059 1,078 1,166 28 8.2
    12 Chautauqua# N/A N/A N/A 1,249 1,162 N/A -7.0
    13 GoJet 414 575 761 1,019 1,131 173.2 11.0
    14 Executive## 1,798 1,851 1,695 761 N/A N/A N/A
    15 Colgan### 1,214 1,495 1,680 N/A N/A N/A N/A
    16 Comair#### 2,231 2,161 1,732 N/A N/A N/A N/A
    17 Lynx##### 394 114 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
      Total 52,531 52,767 52,796 50,640 50,425 -4.0 -0.4

    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    * Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

    ** ExpressJet Airlines and Atlantic Southeast Airlines began reporting combined numbers in January 2012.

    *** Endeavor Airlines operated as Pinnacle prior to August 2013. Pinnacle Airlines and Mesaba Airlines began reporting combined numbers in January 2012.

    # Effective July 2012 Chautauqua Airlines began reporting employment data.

    ## Effective the end of March 2013, Executive Airlines ceased operations.

    ### Effective the end of September 2012, Colgan Airlines ceased operations.

    #### Effective the end of October 2012, Comair ceased operations.

    ##### Effective the end of March 2011, Lynx Airlines ceased operations.

    N/A: Carriers did not meet the standard for filing, was no longer operating, merged with another operating carrier or failed to file. See previous notes.

    Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.



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