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BTS Releases May Passenger Airline Employment Data

May 2006 Employment Down 5.0 Percent from May 2005

US scheduled passenger airlines employed 5.0 percent fewer workers in May 2006 than in May 2005, the 17th consecutive month that full-time equivalent employee (FTE) levels for the scheduled passenger carriers declined compared to the same month of the previous year, the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported Tuesday.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), reported that the May 2005 to May 2006 decline in FTEs was the ninth month in the last 10 in which FTEs declined more than 5 percent from the same month of the previous year. In FTE calculations, a part-time employee is counted as one-half a full-time employee.

December 2004 was the last month in which scheduled passenger airlines employed more FTEs than in the same month the previous year. December 2004 was the last of seven consecutive months of increases from the previous year. Scheduled passenger airlines include network, low-cost, regional and other airlines.

Many regional carriers were not required to report employment numbers before 2003, so year-to-year comparisons involving regional carriers, or the total industry, are not available for the years before 2003. Using the available numbers from network, low-cost, regional and other airlines, the 403,000 FTEs employed in May 2006 were the lowest total since at least the beginning of 2003.

The seven network carriers employed 266,000 FTEs in May, 66.0 percent of the passenger airline total, while low-cost carriers employed 17.1 percent and regional carriers employed 13.6 percent. The network carriers have employed fewer FTEs each May compared to the previous year since 2002, the only carrier group to do so.

American Airlines employs the most FTEs among the network carriers, Southwest Airlines employs the most among low-cost carriers and American Eagle Airlines employs the most among regional carriers. Seven of the top 10 employers in the industry are network carriers.

FMI: www.bts.gov

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