Airline Career Opportunities Fall For the Month Of July
By Bill Goldston
September 22, 2009, U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported today that scheduled air carriers employed 5.9 percent fewer workers in July compared to the month prior. This represents a 13th consecutive decrease in full-time equivalent employee levels for the scheduled passenger carriers from the same month of the previous year.
U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. 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 July FTE total of 386,900 for the scheduled passenger carriers was 25,800 below July 2008 and the lowest total for any month since 1993.
All the network airlines decreased employment from July 2008 to July 2009 as did low-cost carriers AirTran Airways, Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines. Regional carriers American Eagle Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines, Comair, Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Pinnacle Airlines, Horizon Air, Mesa Airlines, Air Wisconsin Airlines, Colgan Airlines and PSA Airlines also reported reduced employment levels compared to last year.
Scheduled passenger airline categories include network, low-cost, regional and other airlines. The seven network airlines employed 260,459 FTEs in July, 67.3 percent of the passenger airline total, while low-cost carriers employed 16.3 percent and regional carriers employed 14.6 percent.
American Airlines employed the most FTEs in July among the network airlines, Southwest Airlines employed the most FTEs among low-cost airlines, and American Eagle employed the most FTEs among regional airlines. Seven of the top 10 employers in the industry are network airlines.
Beginning with October 2007 data, US Airways' numbers are combined with numbers for America West Airlines in the network category. For previous months, America West's numbers were included with the low-cost airlines.
FTEs at the group of seven network airlines decreased 7.1 percent in July 2009 compared to July 2008, the 11th consecutive monthly decrease from the same month of the previous year. The network airlines employed 19,900 fewer FTEs in July 2009 than in July 2008.
Within the group, all network carriers decreased FTEs from July 2008 to July 2009: Northwest Airlines, 12.5 percent; United Airlines, 11.0 percent; Delta Air Lines, 4.4 percent; American, 6.9 percent; Alaska Airlines, 6.0 percent; US Airways, 4.4 percent; and Continental Airlines, 4.0 percent.
FTEs at four network carriers declined during the four years from July 2005 to July 2009. The network airlines employed 27,800 fewer FTEs in July 2009 than in July 2005 even though America West's numbers were not combined with US Airways in the network category until October 2007.
The biggest percentage decline was at Northwest, down 32.3 percent, a reduction of 12,100 FTEs, followed by United at 16.8 percent. The other 2005 to 2009 FTE decreases were Delta, down 12.2 percent, and American, down 15.4 percent. The increases were at Continental, 7.2 percent; Alaska, 5.3 percent; and the recently combined US Airways, 43.5 percent.
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.
Low-cost airline FTEs increased 0.9 percent in July from July 2008. This was the fifth month over month employment increase since the America West and US Airways reports were combined in October 2007 following five consecutive monthly decreases. Low-cost airline FTEs had decreased each month for 12 consecutive months through September compared to the same month of the previous year, but the previous year numbers included America West while the recent data did not.
Four low-cost airlines reported year-to-year increases: Virgin America, 20.4 percent; Allegiant Airlines, 13.1 percent; Southwest, 1.9 percent; and JetBlue Airways, 3.4 percent. AirTran, Spirit and Frontier reported year-to-year FTE decreases.
The six low-cost carriers reporting employment data in both 2005 and 2009 employed 18.2 percent more FTEs in July 2009 than in July 2005. Allegiant report reported the largest percentage increase, up 13.1 percent. Spirit reported the largest decrease, down 18.3 percent. Frontier and AirTran also reported four-year decreases.
Low-cost airlines are those that the industry recognizes as operating under a low-cost business model, with lower infrastructure and aircraft operating costs.
Regional airline FTEs were down 6.9 percent in July 2009 compared to July 2008, the 11th consecutive month with a decline from the same month of the previous year.
ExpressJet, down 23.8 percent, and Atlantic Southeast, down 17.4 percent, reported the largest decreases in the regional group. Compass Airlines, up 31.8 percent, and GoJet Airlines, up 39.8 percent, reported the largest increases in the group. Regional carrier FTEs declined 7.5 percent from July 2005 to July 2009.
The 12 regional carriers reporting employment data in both 2005 and 2009 employed 7.5 percent fewer FTEs in July 2009 than in July 2005. PSA reported the largest percentage decline, down 42.4 percent, followed by Atlantic Southeast, down 33.2 percent, and Air Wisconsin, down 20.4 percent.
Shuttle America Airlines reported the biggest four-year gain, 193.9 percent, followed by Mesaba Airlines at 19.7 percent and SkyWest at 10.2 percent.
Regional carriers typically provide service from small cities, using primarily regional jets to support the network carriers' hub and spoke systems. 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 Continental Micronesia and Hawaiian Airlines serving the Hawaiian Islands.
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