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US passenger airline employment grew 3.9 percent in January 2017

Mar 20, 2017

US scheduled passenger airlines employed 3.9 percent more workers in January 2017 than in January 2016, the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. January was the highest monthly FTE total (417,833) since November 2007 (419,313) and was the 39th consecutive month that US scheduled passenger airline full-time equivalent (FTE) employment exceeded the same month of the previous year.

Month-to-month, the number of FTEs rose 0.4 percent from December to January (Table 1A). 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 2.3 percent more FTEs in January 2017 than in January 2016. Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines increased FTEs from January 2016. Month-to-month, the number of network airline FTEs declined 0.1 percent from December to January.

The network airlines employed 7.1 percent more FTEs in January 2017 than in January 2013. 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 9.7 percent more FTEs in January 2017 than in January 2016. The carriers – Allegiant Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Virgin America and Southwest Airlines – all increased FTEs from January 2016. Month-to-month, the number of low-cost airline FTEs was rose 1.0 percent from December to January. The six low-cost airlines employed 24.2 percent more FTEs in January 2017 than in January 2013. Low-cost airlines operate under a low-cost business model, with infrastructure and aircraft operating costs below the overall industry average.

The 11 regional carriers reported 1.9 percent more FTEs in January 2017 than the 12 regional carriers operating in January 2016. Nine regional airlines – Compass Airlines, Endeavor Air, PSA Airlines, Mesa Airlines, GoJet Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, Envoy Air and Horizon Air – increased FTEs from January 2016. In addition, Republic Airlines reported 2.0 percent more FTEs in January 2017 than the combined total that Republic and Shuttle America reported in January 2016. The others reported decreases. Month-to-month, the number of regional airline FTEs rose 1.6 percent from December to January. The 11 regional carriers reporting in January 2017 employed 1.6 percent more FTEs than the 14 carriers reporting in January 2013. Regional carriers typically provide service from small cities, using primarily regional jets to support the network carriers’ hub and spoke systems.

US passenger airline employment grew 3.9 percent in January 2017



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