U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 2.7 percent more workers in September 2018 than in September 2017:
- September’s 440,460 full-time equivalents (FTE) was the second highest monthly employment total since August 2004 (443,412 FTEs) exceeded only by July 2018 (443,475).
- September was the 59th consecutive month that U.S. scheduled passenger airline FTEs exceeded the same month of the previous year
Scheduled Passenger Airline Full-Time Equivalent Employees, Month of September, 1990-2018 FTEs in thousands (000)
FTE calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.
Bureau of Transportation Statistics
All 21 scheduled service passenger airlines
- 440,460 FTEs
- Up 2.7 percent (11,787 FTEs) over September 2017 (428,673 FTEs)
- Up 14.6 percent (55,959 FTEs) over September 2014 (384,501 FTEs)
Four network airlines
- 284,976 FTEs, 64.7 percent of total scheduled passenger airline FTEs
- Up 2.6 percent (7,172 FTEs) over September 2017 (277,804 FTEs)
- Up 11.3 percent (28,843 FTEs) over September 2014 (256,133 FTEs)
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. Note that beginning with January 2018 data, Virgin America’s numbers are included with Alaska Airlines in the network category.
Five low-cost airlines
- 92,326 FTEs, 21.0 percent of total scheduled passenger airline FTEs
- Up 2.5 percent (2,288 FTEs) over September 2017 (90,038 FTEs)
- Up 29.3 percent (20,898 FTEs) over September 2014 (71,428 FTEs)
Low-cost airlines operate under a low-cost business model, with infrastructure and aircraft operating costs below the overall industry average.
10 regional airlines
- 55,135 FTEs, 12.5 percent of total scheduled passenger airline FTEs
- Up 4.3 percent (2,264 FTEs) over September 2017 (52,871 FTEs)
- Up 9.0 percent (4,561 FTEs) over September 2014 (50,574 FTEs)
Regional carriers typically provide service from small cities, using primarily regional jets to support the network carriers’ hub and spoke systems.
Top Employers by Group
- Network: American 102,189 FTEs
- Low-Cost: Southwest 58,559 FTEs
- Regional: SkyWest 14,303 FTEs
Two other airlines
Other carriers generally operate within specific niche markets. They are: Hawaiian Airlines and Sun Country Airlines.
Airlines that operate at least one aircraft that has more than 60 seats or the capacity to carry a payload of passengers, cargo and fuel weighing more than 18,000 pounds must report monthly employment statistics.
Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers as of November 8.