DOT Reports Drop in Airline Employment

U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 0.6 percent fewer workers in September 2010 than in September 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports.

This is the 27th consecutive decrease in full-time equivalent employee (FTE) levels for the scheduled passenger carriers from the same month of the previous year. FTE calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

BTS reported that the September FTE total of 377,676 for the scheduled passenger carriers was 2,248 below that of September 2009. Five network airlines – American Airlines, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, Continental Airlines and United Airlines – decreased employment from September 2009 to September 2010.

The sixth network carrier, Delta Air Lines, after completing its merger with Northwest Airlines, is reporting combined employment numbers in 2010 and reported 8.4 percent more FTEs in September 2010 than the combined totals of both carriers for September 2009.

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, the DOT said.

All seven low-cost carriers reported more FTEs in September 2010 than in September 2009. They are Spirit Airlines; Frontier Airlines; Virgin America Airlines; Allegiant Air; JetBlue Airways; AirTran Airways; and Southwest Airlines.

Regional carriers Atlantic Southeast, Comair, Horizon Air, Mesa Airlines, Mesaba Airlines, Shuttle America Airlines, and Lynx Airlines reported reduced employment levels compared to last year. Scheduled passenger airline categories include network, low-cost, regional and other airlines.

The six network airlines employed 377,676 FTEs in September, 67.7 percent of the passenger airline total, while seven low-cost carriers employed 17.0 percent and 18 regional carriers employed 13.9 percent.

Delta employed the most FTEs in September among the network airlines, Southwest employed the most FTEs among low-cost airlines, and American Eagle Airlines employed the most FTEs among regional airlines. Six of the top 10 employers in the industry are network airlines.


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