Among the 16 regional carriers, nine carriers reported
reduced employment levels compared to last year: Colgan
Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines, Mesa Airlines, Horizon
Airlines, Republic Airlines, Comair, Pinnacle Airlines,
SkyWest Airlines and Executive Airlines. The total
number of FTEs reported by Pinnacle – which recently
merged with Mesaba Airlines – was 24.4 percent fewer
than the total number of FTEs reported individually by
the two airlines prior to the merger. 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 67.5
percent of the total number of FTEs employed by all
scheduled passenger airlines in September, the six
low-cost carriers employed 18.0 percent and the 16
regional carriers employed 13.2 percent. The three
airlines with the most FTEs in September – United, Delta
and American – employed 57.2 percent of the total
passenger airline FTEs.
Top employers by group: The newly-merged United employed
the most FTEs (82,137) in September among the network
airlines, Southwest employed the most FTEs (46,048)
among low-cost airlines, and American Eagle Airlines
employed the most FTEs (10,082) among regional airlines.
Four of the top five employers in the industry are
Network Airlines - Recent Trend: The network airlines
employed 1,990 fewer FTEs in September 2012 than in
September 2011. Three of the five network carriers
increased FTEs from September 2011 to September 2012.
Five-Year Trend: The network airlines employed 7,769
fewer FTEs in September 2012 than in September 2008, a
2.9 percent decrease. American reported the biggest
percentage decline in FTE employment from 2008 to 2012,
10.2 percent, followed by Alaska Airlines, down 6.2
percent. September 2008 and September 2012 numbers for
United and Delta are not directly comparable because of
the intervening mergers. United reported 0.5 percent
fewer FTEs in September 2012 than United and Continental
reported separately in September 2008; Delta reported
1.9 percent more FTEs in September 2012 than Delta and
Northwest reported separately in September 2008.
Low-Cost Airlines - Recent Trend: The six low-cost
airlines' FTEs were up 2.5 percent in September 2012
from September 2011. All low-cost airlines except
Frontier reported year-to-year increases.
Five-Year Trend: The six low-cost carriers reporting
employment data in both 2008 and 2012 employed 11.3
percent more FTEs in September 2012 than in September
Virgin America reported the largest percentage increase
(108.7 percent), while Frontier reported a decline.
September 2012 numbers for Southwest are not directly
comparable to 2008 because of the intervening merger.
Southwest reported 7.3 percent more FTEs in September
2012 than Southwest and AirTran reported separately in
Regional Airlines - Recent Trend: Regional airlines
reported a 4.3 percent decrease in FTE employment in
September 2012 compared to September 2011. GoJet
Airlines and Shuttle America report the largest
percentage increases in FTEs from September 2011 to
September 2012 among airlines not involved in mergers.
Comair and Colgan reported the largest percentage
decreases. Atlantic Southeast Airlines and ExpressJet
Airlines reported separately in September 2011, as did
Pinnacle and Mesaba, while their reports were combined
in September 2012 as a result of mergers.
Five-Year Trend: The 16 regional carriers reporting
employment data in both 2008 and 2012 employed 14.0
percent fewer FTEs in 2012 than in 2008. Comair reported
the largest percentage decline followed by Colgan. GoJet
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.