Employment Rose 2.1 Percent
By Mike Mitchell
April 2, 2012 - U.S. scheduled passenger airlines
employed 2.1 percent more workers in January 2012 than
they did in January 2011, the U.S. Department of
Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics
This is the 14th consecutive month that full-time
equivalent employee (FTE) levels for the scheduled
passenger carriers have been higher than the same month
of the previous year. FTE calculations count two
part-time employees as one full-time employee.
BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology
Administration, reported that the January FTE total of
388,778 for the scheduled passenger carriers was 7,829
more than that of January 2011.
These monthly increases reflect gradual improvement in
the industry's employment following declines that began
in July 2008. However, the January 2012 employment
growth rate was the lowest since June 2011.
network airlines, only Delta Air Lines, which has been
eliminating duplicate positions following its merger with
Northwest Airlines, decreased employment from January 2011 to
January 2012. United Airlines reported 81,352 FTEs in January
2012 in the first joint report following the merger with
Continental Airlines. The combined report was 4,248 more FTEs or
5.5 percent more than the 77,104 FTEs the two airlines reported
separately in January 2011.
low-cost carriers reported more FTEs in January 2012 than in
January 2011, except for AirTran Airways, Allegiant Air and
The low-cost carriers with more reported FTEs are Virgin America
Airlines, Spirit Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Southwest
15 regional carriers, the five carriers reporting reduced
employment levels compared to last year were Horizon Airlines,
Republic Airlines, Comair, Mesa Airlines and Executive Airlines.
passenger airline categories include network, low-cost, regional
and other airlines.
Carrier Groups: The five network airlines employed 67.5 percent of the scheduled passenger airline total in December, the seven low-cost carriers employed 17.7 percent and the 15 regional carriers employed 13.6 percent. The 2011 to 2012 increases for all carrier groups result from the relatively consistent profits for most of the industry.
Top employers by
group: The newly-merged United employed the most FTEs in January among
the network airlines, Southwest employed the most FTEs among low-cost
airlines, and American Eagle Airlines employed the most FTEs among
regional airlines. Four of the top five employers in the industry are
airlines employed 3,907 more FTEs in January 2012 than in January 2011.
Four of the five network carriers increased FTEs from January 2011 to
January 2012. January 2012 numbers for United are not comparable to 2011
because of the intervening merger.
The network airlines employed 19,140 fewer FTEs in January 2012 than in
January 2008. American Airlines reported the biggest percentage decline
in FTE employment from 2008 to 2012, down 10.1 percent, followed by
Alaska Airlines down 9.1 percent. January 2012 numbers for Delta and
United are not comparable to 2008 because of the intervening mergers.
operate a significant portion of flights using at least one hub where
connections are made for flights to down-line destinations or spoke
The seven low-cost
airlines' FTEs were up 5.7 percent in January 2012 from January 2011.
All low-cost airlines except Allegiant, AirTran and Frontier reported
The seven low-cost carriers reporting employment data in both 2008 and
2012 employed 10.7 percent more FTEs in January 2012 than in January
2008. Virgin America reported the largest percentage increase, up 158.7
percent but Frontier and AirTran reported declines.
are those that the industry recognizes as operating under a low-cost
business model, with lower infrastructure and aircraft operating costs.
airlines' FTEs were up 0.1 percent in January 2012 compared to January
2011. GoJet and Shuttle America report the largest percentage increases
in FTEs from January 2011 to January 2012 among airlines not involved in
mergers. Comair and Republic reported the largest percentage decreases.
Atlantic Southeast Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines reported separately
in January 2011 as did Pinnacle Airlines and Mesaba Airlines while their
reports were combined in January 2012.
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