November 2015 US passenger airline employment data released

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WASHINGTON, DC – US scheduled passenger airlines employed 3.4 percent more workers in November 2015 than in November 2014, the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. November was the 24th consecutive month that full-time equivalent (FTE) employment for U.S. scheduled passenger airlines exceeded the same month of the previous year and was the highest monthly total (400,234) since August 2008.

Month-to-month, the number of FTEs rose 0.3 percent from October to November, rising for the fourth consecutive month. Scheduled passenger airline categories include network, low-cost, regional and other airlines.

The four network airlines that collectively employ two-thirds of the scheduled passenger airline FTEs reported 3.7 percent more FTEs in November 2015 than in November 2014. Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines increased FTEs from November 2014 while United Airlines’ FTEs decreased. American Airlines, which has merged with US Airways, reported 5.5 percent more FTEs in November 2015 than American and US Airways reported separately in November 2014. July 2015 was the first month for which the two merged airlines submitted a combined report. Month-to-month, the number of network airline FTEs was up 0.2 percent from October to November. 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 six low-cost carriers reported 6.4 percent more FTEs in November 2015 than in November 2014. JetBlue Airways, Allegiant Airlines, Virgin America, Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines reported increases while Frontier Airlines reduced FTEs. Month-to-month, the number of low-cost airline FTEs rose 0.8 percent from October to November, rising for the eighth consecutive month. Low-cost airlines operate under a low-cost business model, with infrastructure and aircraft operating costs below the overall industry average.

The 12 regional carriers reported 2.1 percent fewer FTEs in November 2015 than in November 2014. Seven regional airlines – PSA Airlines, Compass Airlines, Mesa Airlines, Horizon Air, GoJet Airlines, SkyWest Airlines and Republic Airlines – reported increased employment levels. The others reported decreases. Month-to-month, the number of regional airline FTEs rose 0.1 percent from October to November rising for the second consecutive month. Regional carriers typically provide service from small cities, using primarily regional jets to support the network carriers’ hub and spoke systems.