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July 2012 Passenger Airline Employment Rose 0.8 Percent from July 2011

U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 390,032 workers in July 2012, 0.8 percent more than in July 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. Scheduled passenger airline categories include network, low-cost, regional and other airlines. This is the 20th consecutive month that full-time equivalent (FTE) employee levels for U.S. scheduled passenger carriers have been higher than the same month of the previous year (Tables 1, 2). BTS methodology considers two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the July FTE for scheduled passenger carriers totaled 390,032, or 3,189 more than in July 2011 (Table 3). The 0.8 percent year-over-year improvement, although down from the annual increases seen in the last half of 2011, still reflects a gradual increase in the industry's employment following the decline that began in July 2008 (Table 2). Historical employment data can be found on the BTS web site.

While overall annual employment for the five network airlines increased, two of the five reported fewer FTEs for the period. Delta Air Lines, eliminating positions following its merger with Northwest Airlines, reduced FTEs by 2.4 percent. American Airlines, which filed for bankruptcy in November, reduced FTEs by 3.5 percent. United Airlines reported 82,617 FTEs in July 2012, reflecting its merger with Continental Airlines. This was 5,837, or 7.6 percent, more FTEs than the 76,780 the two airlines reported separately in July 2011 (Table 9).

Among the six low-cost carriers, Allegiant Airlines, Virgin America Airlines, Spirit Airlines and JetBlue Airways reported an increase in FTEs.  Frontier Airlines was the only low-cost carrier reporting fewer FTEs. Southwest Airlines reported 45,953 FTEs in July 2012 in a joint report following its merger with AirTran Airways. The combined report was 1,275, or 2.9 percent, more than the 44,678 FTEs the two airlines reported separately in July 2011 (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 15 regional carriers, eight carriers reported reduced employment levels compared to last year: Colgan Airlines, Mesa Airlines, Horizon Airlines, Republic Airlines, Comair, SkyWest Airlines, Pinnacle Airlines and Executive Airlines. The total number of FTEs reported by Pinnacle Airlines – which recently merged with Mesaba Airlines – was below the total number of FTEs reported individually by the two airlines prior to the merger (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 67.6 percent of the total number of FTEs employed by all scheduled passenger airlines in July, the six low-cost carriers employed 17.9 percent and the 15 regional carriers employed 13.2 percent (Table 4). The three airlines with the most FTEs in July – United, Delta and American – employed 57.5 percent of the total passenger airline FTEs (Table 6).

Top employers by group: The newly-merged United employed the most FTEs (82,617) in July among the network airlines, Southwest employed the most FTEs (45,953) among low-cost airlines, and American Eagle Airlines employed the most FTEs (9,888) among regional airlines. Four of the top five employers in the industry are network airlines (Table 6).

Network Airlines

Recent Trend: The network airlines employed 1,975 more FTEs in July 2012 than in July 2011. Three of the five network carriers increased FTEs from July 2011 to July 2012 (Tables 8, 9).

Five-Year Trend: The network airlines employed 16,564 fewer FTEs in July 2012 than in July 2008. American reported the biggest percentage decline in FTE employment from 2008 to 2012, 12.1 percent, followed by Alaska Airlines, down 8.5 percent. July 2012 numbers for United and Delta are not directly comparable to 2008 because of the intervening mergers. United reported 5.5 percent fewer FTEs in July 2012 than United and Continental reported separately in July 2008; Delta reported 0.2 percent more FTEs in July 2012 than Delta and Northwest reported separately in July 2008 (Tables 8, 9).

Low-Cost Airlines

Recent Trend: The six low-cost airlines' FTEs were up 3.5 percent in July 2012 from July 2011. All low-cost airlines except Frontier reported year-over-year increases (Table 12).

Five-Year Trend: The six low-cost carriers reporting employment data in both 2008 and 2012 employed 11.7 percent more FTEs in July 2012 than in July 2008.  Virgin America reported the largest percentage increase (up 104.3 percent), while Frontier reported a decline. July 2012 numbers for Southwest are not directly comparable to 2008 because of the intervening merger. Southwest reported 8.2 percent more FTEs in July 2012 than Southwest and AirTran reported separately in July 2008 (Table 12).

Regional Airlines

Recent Trend: Regional airlines reported a 3.3 percent improvement in FTE employment in July 2012 compared to July 2011. GoJet Airlines and Shuttle America report the largest percentage increases in FTEs from July 2011 to July 2012 among airlines not involved in mergers. Comair and Colgan reported the largest percentage decreases. Atlantic Southeast Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines reported separately in July 2011, as did Pinnacle and Mesaba, while their reports were combined in July 2012 as a result of mergers (Table 15).

Five-Year Trend: The 15 regional carriers reporting employment data in both 2008 and 2012 employed 15.2 percent fewer FTEs in 2012 than in 2008. Comair reported the largest percentage decline followed by Mesa. GoJet Airlines reported the biggest four-year percentage gain. Effective with January 2011 reporting, Republic's employment numbers include FTEs from Midwest Airlines. Midwest employment data were formerly included in the "Other Airlines" category (Table 15).

Reporting Notes

Airlines that operate at least one aircraft with the capacity to carry combined passengers, cargo and fuel of 18,000 pounds – the payload factor – must report monthly employment statistics.

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

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers as of Sept. 18. Additional airline employment data can be found on the BTS website. BTS has scheduled release of August 2012 passenger airline employment data for Oct. 31.

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

Excel | CSV

MonthNetwork Airlines  Low-Cost AirlinesRegional AirlinesAll Passenger Airlines**
July 2010-July 20112.15.31.92.3
Aug. 2010-Aug. 20112.75.72.12.8
Sept. 2010-Sept. 20112.75.92.02.9
Oct. 2010-Oct. 20112.76.22.13.0
Nov. 2010-Nov. 20112.65.90.62.6
Dec. 2010-Dec. 20112.36.51.52.7
Jan. 2011-Jan. 20121.55.70.12.1
Feb. 2011-Feb. 20121.26.40.92.1
Mar. 2011-Mar. 20121.27.10.22.1
Apr. 2011-Apr. 20121.35.7-1.51.8
May 2011-May 20121.35.3-2.21.6
June 2011-June 20121.44.0-2.51.4
July 2011-July 20120.83.5-3.30.8

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 and Sun Country Airlines.

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

Excel | CSV

Month2009201020112012
January-6.7-2.90.42.1
February-6.6-3.51.02.1
March-5.6-3.81.52.1
April-5.5-4.12.01.8
May-6.8-2.72.11.6
June-6.3-2.41.91.4
July-5.9-2.32.40.8
August-5.5-1.72.8 
September-4.4-0.62.9 
October-3.7-0.43.0 
November-3.30.02.6 
December-3.30.22.7 

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 FTE Numbers in thousands (000's)

Excel | CSV

Month20082009201020112012Percent Change     
2008-20122011-2012
January418.7390.6379.4380.9388.8-7.12.1
February419.0391.6378.0381.8389.9-6.92.1
March415.5392.1377.3382.8390.8-6.02.1
April415.4392.1376.2383.4390.2-6.11.8
May415.5387.4377.0385.0391.0-5.91.6
June414.4387.7378.3385.4390.9-5.71.4
July411.1386.8378.1386.8390.0-5.10.8
August406.7384.3377.8388.5   
September397.3379.9377.7388.6   
October394.2379.7378.1389.4   
November392.1379.4379.3389.4   
December391.8379.0379.7389.7   
12-Month Average407.6385.9378.1386.0390.2-4.31.1
Jan-Jul Average415.7389.7377.7383.7390.2-6.11.7

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.

R: Revised with updated filing by Mesa Airlines.

Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.                                      

Table 4: Airline Group Full-time Equivalent Employees*, July 2008-2012

FTE Numbers in thousands (000's)

Excel | CSV

 NetworkLow-CostRegionalAll Passenger Airlines**
2008280.462.560.7411.1
2009260.563.056.5386.8
2010256.464.052.2378.1
2011261.867.453.2386.8
2012263.869.851.5390.0
Pct. Change 2008-2012-5.9%11.7%-15.2%-5.1%
Percent of Total Passenger Airline Employees in 201267.6%17.9%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*, July 2008-2012

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

Excel | CSV

 NetworkLow-CostRegionalAll Passenger Airlines**
20084.3-16.11.4-0.8
2009-7.10.9-6.9-5.9
2010-1.61.5-7.5-2.3
20112.15.31.92.3
20120.83.5-3.30.8

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, July 2012

Ranked by Number of Full-Time Equivalent Employees* FTE Numbers in thousands (000's)

Excel | CSV

RankAirlineTotal FTE EmployeesCarrier Group**Top 10 Airlines July 2011
1United82.6NetworkDelta
2Delta77.4NetworkAmerican
3American64.2NetworkUnited
4Southwest46.0Low-CostSouthwest
5US Airways30.4NetworkContinental
6JetBlue12.7Low-CostUS Airways
7American Eagle9.9RegionalJetBlue
8SkyWest9.4RegionalAmerican Eagle
9ExpressJet9.4RegionalSkyWest
10Alaska9.2NetworkAlaska

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

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

** See Table 9 for Network, Table 12 for Low-Cost and Table 15 for Regional                                          

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

Percent change compared to same month the previous year

Excel | CSV

 2009201020112012
January-6.3-2.30.31.5
February-6.4-3.01.11.2
March-6.7-3.11.51.2
April-6.5-3.61.81.3
May-8.2-1.92.11.3
June-7.8-1.61.61.4
July-7.1-1.62.10.8
August-6.4-0.92.7 
September-5.00.32.7 
October-2.8-1.22.7 
November-2.7-0.72.6 
December-2.5-0.52.3 

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 2008-2012 FTE Numbers in thousands (000's)

Excel | CSV

Month20082009201020112012Percent Change     
2008-20122011-2012
January281.7263.9257.8258.7262.6-6.81.5
February282.6264.6256.8259.5262.8-7.01.2
March283.9264.8256.5260.5263.5-7.21.2
April283.7265.2255.7260.3263.7-7.11.3
May283.6260.5255.5260.8264.2-6.91.3
June282.8260.8256.6260.7264.3-6.51.4
July280.4260.5256.4261.8263.8-5.90.8
August276.1258.6256.1263.1   
September268.4254.9255.8262.6   
October266.6259.0255.9262.9   
November265.2258.1256.4263.1   
December264.7258.1256.8262.6   
12-Month Average276.7260.8256.4261.4   
Jan-Jul Average282.7262.9256.5260.3263.5-6.81.2

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: By Network Airline: Full-time Equivalent Employees*, July 2008-2012

(FTEs for July of each year.  Ranked by July 2012 FTEs) FTE Numbers in thousands (000's)

Excel | CSV

RankAirline20082009201020112012Percent Change     
2008-20122011-2012
1United***50.945.343.743.282.6N/AN/A
 Continental***36.535.032.933.6N/AN/AN/A
 UA/CO Combined87.480.376.576.882.6-5.57.6
2Delta**48.145.975.579.377.4N/A-2.4
 Northwest**29.125.5N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
 DL/NW Combined77.271.475.579.377.40.2-2.4
3American73.168.165.866.664.2-12.1-3.5
4US Airways32.631.229.430.230.4-6.90.6
5Alaska10.19.59.29.09.2-8.52.1
 Total280.4260.5256.4261.8263.8-5.90.8

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

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

** Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines merged and began reporting combined numbers in January 2010.

*** 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 Airlines - Year-to-Year Change in Full-time Equivalent Employees* from the Previous Year

Percent change compared to same month the previous year

Excel | CSV

Month2009201020112012
January-3.11.42.25.7
February-3.01.42.36.4
March0.11.22.37.1
April1.20.54.05.7
May1.20.64.15.3
June0.80.95.04.0
July0.91.55.33.5
August-0.22.05.7 
September-0.12.75.9 
October-0.43.06.2 
November-0.13.25.9 
December0.03.36.6 

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 Airlines Full-time Equivalent Employees* by Month FTE Numbers in thousands (000's)

Excel | CSV

 20082009201020112012Percent Change     
2008-20122011-2012
January64.762.763.665.068.76.15.7
February64.963.063.865.369.57.06.4
March**62.963.063.865.369.911.07.1
April***62.563.363.666.169.911.45.7
May62.863.563.966.670.111.55.3
June63.063.564.067.370.011.14.0
July62.563.064.067.469.811.73.5
August62.962.864.067.7   
September62.562.464.167.9   
October62.762.464.368.3   
November62.762.664.768.5   
December62.662.664.768.9   
12-Month Average63.162.964.067.0   
Jan-Jul Average63.363.163.866.169.710.05.4

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.

** ATA Airlines ceased operations on April 3, 2008 and stopped reporting employment data effective in March.

***SkyBus stopped reporting employment data effective in April 2008 resulting from its bankruptcy filing.

Table 12: By Low-Cost Airline: Full-time Equivalent Employees*, July 2008-2012

(FTEs for July of each year.  Ranked by July 2012 FTEs)

Excel | CSV

Rank 20082009201020112012Percent Change
2008-20122011-2012
1Southwest**34,28534,93134,65736,46845,953N/AN/A
 AirTran8,1828,1228,0218,210N/AN/AN/A
 WN/FL Combined42,46743,05342,67844,67845,9538.22.9
2JetBlue10,42410,78011,22311,93612,66621.56.1
3Frontier4,7424,3594,8254,9384,126-13.0-16.4
4Spirit2,3231,8982,0532,3332,81421.120.6
5Virgin America1,2001,4451,5731,9502,451104.325.7
6Allegiant1,3201,4931,6301,5401,74632.313.4
 Total62,47663,02863,98267,37569,75511.73.5

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 Airlines - Year-to-Year Change in Full-time Equivalent Employees* from the Previous Year

Percent change compared to same month the previous year

Excel | CSV

Month2009201020112012
January-6.0-8.50.40.1
February-4.9-9.80.90.8
March-4.9-10.11.80.2
April-7.4-9.32.1-1.5
May-7.7-8.01.6-2.2
June-7.2-7.71.5-2.5
July-6.9-7.51.9-3.3
August-6.8-7.22.1 
September-5.7-6.62.0 
October-10.10.52.1 
November-7.5-1.00.6 
December-8.9-0.31.5 

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 Airlines Full-time Equivalent Employees* by Month FTE Numbers in thousands (000's)

Excel | CSV

 2008**2009201020112012Percent Change     
2008-20122011-2012
January61.157.452.552.852.8-13.60.1
February60.557.652.052.452.8-12.70.8
March60.257.351.552.552.6-12.70.2
April61.356.851.552.651.8-15.5-1.5
May61.456.652.152.951.7-15.7-2.2
June61.056.652.253.051.7-15.3-2.5
July60.756.552.253.251.5-15.2-3.3
August60.356.252.253.3   
September59.456.052.353.4   
October58.052.152.453.5   
November57.553.252.753.0   
December57.952.752.553.3   
12-Month Average59.955.852.253.0   
Jan-Jul Average60.957.052.052.852.1-14.4-1.2

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

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

** Lynx Airlines began reporting in February 2008. Colgan Airlines began reporting in April 2008. Trans States Airlines no longer met reporting requirements beginning in April 2008.

Note: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 15: By Regional Airline: Full-time Equivalent Employees*, July 2008-2012

(FTEs for July of each year.  Ranked by July 2012 FTEs)

Excel | CSV

Rank 20082009201020112012Percent Change
2008-20122011-2012
1American Eagle9,6169,0229,2869,8689,8882.80.2
2SkyWest9,3048,5898,9049,4359,4111.2-0.3
3ExpressJet#6,9795,3215,4565,2949,380N/AN/A
 Atlantic Southeast#4,4783,6973,6293,809N/AN/AN/A
 XE/EV Combined11,4579,0189,0859,1039,380-18.13.0
4Pinnacle**3,5603,3063,3013,6274,803N/AN/A
 Mesaba**3,2773,9572,1992,107N/AN/AN/A
 9E/XJ Combined6,8377,2635,5005,7344,803-29.7-16.2
5Horizon3,6753,2302,9872,8282,781-24.3-1.7
6Air Wisconsin2,8612,5702,5172,5462,627-8.23.2
7Republic***1,2681,5572,0932,1351,94253.2-9.0
8Shuttle America1,1221,4051,3371,5161,90169.425.4
9Mesa2,9922,6902,0081,9371,681-43.8-13.2
10Comair6,1405,3522,5512,1281,539-74.9-27.7
11Executive1,6951,7541,8051,8231,385-18.3-24.0
12Compass6418459849961,10872.911.2
13PSA1,0629841,0121,0121,0842.17.1
14Colgan1,3231,2821,3691,579984-25.6-37.7
15GoJet364509565561950161.069.3
16Lynx##341411229N/AN/AN/AN/A
 Total60,69456,47752,22953,20151,463-15.2-3.3

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

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

** Pinnacle Airlines and Mesaba Airlines began reporting combined numbers in January 2012.

*** Effective with November 2009 reporting, Republic Airlines' employment numbers include FTE's from Midwest Airlines.  Midwest employment data were formerly included in the "Other Airlines" category.

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

## 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.

Thursday, September 27, 2012