Among the 14 regional carriers, six carriers reported
reduced employment levels in March compared to last
year: ExpressJet Airlines, Mesa Airlines, Horizon
Airlines, Pinnacle Airlines, Air Wisconsin and Executive
Airlines. 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 67.0
percent of the total number of FTEs employed by all
scheduled passenger airlines in March, the six low-cost
carriers employed 18.4 percent and the 14 regional
carriers employed 13.2 percent. The three airlines with
the most FTEs in March – United, Delta and American –
employed 56.6 percent of the month’s total passenger
airline FTEs. These three airlines carried 39.6 percent
of total passengers traveling on U.S. airlines in
February, the most recent month available.
Top employers by group: United employed the most FTEs
(82,835) in March among the network airlines, Southwest
employed the most FTEs (45,791) among low-cost airlines,
and American Eagle Airlines employed the most FTEs
(11,244) among regional airlines. Four of the top five
employers in the industry are network airlines.
The network airlines employed 8,594 fewer FTEs in March
2013 than in March 2012, a 3.3 percent decrease. Three
of the five network carriers reported an FTE increase
from March 2012 to March 2013.
airlines employed 9,941 fewer FTEs in March 2013 than in
March 2009, a 3.8 percent decrease. American reported
the biggest percentage decline in FTE employment from
2009 to 2013, 15.6 percent, followed by US Airways, down
1.6 percent. March 2009 and March 2013 numbers for
United and Delta are not directly comparable because of
the intervening mergers. United reported 2.2 percent
more FTEs in March 2013 than United and Continental
reported separately in March 2009; Delta reported 0.3
percent more FTEs in March 2013 than Delta and Northwest
reported separately in March 2009.
The six low-cost airlines’ reported 0.1 percent fewer
FTEs in March 2013 than in March 2012. All low-cost
airlines except Frontier and Southwest reported
The six low-cost
carriers reporting employment data in both 2009 and 2013
employed 10.8 percent more FTEs in March 2013 than in
Virgin America reported the largest percentage increase
(70.9 percent), while Frontier reported a 13.2 percent
decline. March 2013 numbers for Southwest are not
directly comparable to 2009 because of the intervening
merger. Southwest reported 5.6 percent more FTEs in
March 2013 than Southwest and AirTran reported
separately in March 2009.
Regional airlines reported a 4.6 percent decrease in FTE
employment in March 2013 compared to March 2012. GoJet
Airlines and Republic Airlines reported the largest
percentage increases in FTEs from March 2012 to March
2013 among airlines not involved in mergers. Executive
and Pinnacle reported the largest percentage decreases.
14 regional carriers reporting employment data in both
March 2009 and March 2013 employed 12.4 percent fewer
FTEs in 2013 than in 2009. For airlines not involved in
mergers, Executive reported the largest percentage
decline followed by Mesa. The ExpressJet/Atlantic
Southeast combination reported 6.5 percent fewer FTE’s
in March 2013 than the two airlines reported separately
in March 2009.
The Pinnacle/Mesaba combination reported 39.5 percent
fewer FTE’s in March 2013 than the two airlines reported
separately in March 2009. GoJet reported the biggest
four-year percentage gain.
Airlines that operate at least one aircraft with
capacity of more than 60 seats or the capacity to carry
combined passengers, cargo and fuel of more than 18,000
pounds – the payload factor – must report monthly
The “Other Carrier” category generally reflects those
airlines that operate within specific niche markets such
as Hawaiian Airlines serving the Hawaiian Islands.