U.S. Cargo and Passenger Airlines Lost 1,492 Jobs in December 2023

Infographic - U.S. Airline Employment Trends
U.S. Cargo and Passenger Airlines Lost 1,492 Jobs in December 2023

Employment Remains 8.4% Above Pre-Pandemic December 2019

U.S. Airline Total Number of Employees (both Full-Time and Part-Time) 

U.S. airline industry (passenger and cargo airlines combined) employment decreased to 812,698 workers in December 2023, 1,492 (0.18%) fewer workers than in November 2023 (814,190) and 63,208 (8.43%) more than in pre-pandemic December 2019 (749,490). 

U.S. scheduled-service passenger airlines employed 535,672 workers in December 2023 or 66% of the industry-wide total. Passenger airlines lost 242 employees in December 2023. Spirit Air Lines led scheduled passenger carriers, adding 667 employees; Delta Air Lines added 237, and United Air Lines added 171.

U.S. cargo airlines employed 272,380 workers in December 2023, 34% of the industry total. Cargo carriers lost 1,193 employees in December. FedEx, the leading air cargo employer, decreased employment by 498 jobs.

Scheduled passenger airlines lost 87 full-time equivalents in December 2023

U.S. Airline Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs)

BTS calculates FTEs by dividing the number of part-time employees by 2 and adding that figure to the number of full-time employees. The December 2023 industry-wide numbers include 697,558 full-time and 115,140 part-time workers for a total of 755,128 FTEs, a decrease from November of 1,551 FTEs (0.20%). December 2023’s total number of FTEs remains just 9.39% above pre-pandemic December 2019’s 690,313 FTEs.

The 26 U.S. scheduled passenger airlines reporting data for December 2023 employed 509,048 FTEs, 87 FTEs (0.02%) fewer than in November 2023. December 2023’s total number of scheduled passenger airline FTEs is 55,385 FTEs (12.21%) above pre-pandemic December 2019. Data by passenger carrier category can be found in the accompanying tables.

U.S. cargo airlines employed 241,562 FTEs in December 2023, down 1,392 FTEs (0.57%) from November 2023. U.S. cargo airlines have increased FTEs by 9,209 (3.96%) since pre-pandemic December 2019.