Month-to-month, the number of FTEs rose 0.2 percent from November to December. Scheduled passenger airline categories include network, low-cost, regional and other airlines. Historical employment data can be found on the BTS web site.
The four network airlines that collectively employ 64.6 percent of the scheduled passenger airline FTEs reported 2.0 percent more FTEs in December 2017 than in December 2016, an increase of 5,562 FTEs. Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines increased FTEs from December 2016. Month-to-month, the number of network airline FTEs rose 0.1 percent from November to December.
The network airlines employed 9.0 percent more FTEs in December 2017 than in December 2013, an increase of 23,021 FTEs. 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 6.5 percent more FTEs in December 2017 than in December 2016, an increase of 5,570 FTEs. Spirit Airlines, Allegiant Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Virgin America and Southwest Airlines increased FTEs from December 2016. Month-to-month, the number of low-cost airline FTEs was virtually unchanged from November to December. The six low-cost airlines employed 31.2 percent more FTEs in December 2017 than in December 2013, an increase of 21,639 FTEs. Low-cost airlines operate under a low-cost business model, with infrastructure and aircraft operating costs below the overall industry average.
The 11 regional carriers reported 6.0 percent more FTEs in December 2017 than in December 2016, an increase of 3,023 FTEs. Eight regional airlines – PSA Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, Envoy Air, Republic Airlines, Endeavor Air, Horizon Air, Mesa Airlines and GoJet Airlines increased FTEs from December 2016. ExpressJet Airlines, Compass Airlines and Air Wisconsin reported a decrease. Month-to-month, the number of regional airline FTEs rose 0.5 percent from November to December. The 11 regional carriers reporting in December 2017 employed 6.9 percent more FTEs in December 2017 than the 15 carriers reporting in December 2013, an increase of 3,448 FTEs. Regional carriers typically provide service from small cities, using primarily regional jets to support the network carriers’ hub and spoke systems.
Carrier Groups: The four network airlines employed 64.6 percent of the 430,607 FTEs employed by all scheduled passenger airlines in December, the six low-cost carriers employed 21.1 percent and the 11 regional carriers employed 12.5 percent. In comparison, in December 2006, network airlines employed 65.0 percent, six low-cost carriers employed 17.9 percent and regional carriers employed 15.0.
Top Employers by Group: American employed the most FTEs (100,645) in December among the network airlines, Southwest employed the most FTEs (56,110) among low-cost airlines, and Envoy employed the most FTEs (12,394) among regional airlines. The three airlines with the most FTEs in December – American, United and Delta – employed 61.8 percent of the month’s total passenger airline FTEs.
The “Other Carrier” category generally reflects those airlines that operate within specific niche markets such as the Hawaiian Islands served by Hawaiian Airlines.
Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers as of Feb. 7, Additional airline employment data and previous press releases can be found on the BTS website. BTS has scheduled release of January passenger airline employment data for March 19.