But That Trend Might Not Last Much Longer
Given recent airline announcements of declining profits,
bankruptcies, and mergers... this may be the last we see of such
promising airline employment numbers for awhile.
On Tuesday, the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau
of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported US scheduled passenger
airlines employed 3.0 percent more workers in February 2008 than in
February 2007, the 13th consecutive increase in full-time
equivalent employee (FTE) levels for the scheduled passenger
carriers from the same month of the previous year.
The six network carriers all added FTEs from February 2007 to
February 2008. All low-cost carriers except ATA Airlines, and
regional carriers American Eagle Airlines, SkyWest Airlines,
ExpressJet Airlines, Horizon Air, Pinnacle Airlines, Mesaba
Airlines, Executive Airlines, Trans States Airlines, Shuttle
America and GoJet Airlines increased their FTEs compared to last
Scheduled passenger airlines include network, low-cost, regional
and other airlines. BTS notes 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.
The six network carriers employed 249,800 FTEs in February, 59.7
percent of the passenger airline total, while low-cost carriers
employed 22.9 percent and regional carriers employed 14.5
American Airlines employed the most FTEs in February among the
network carriers, Southwest Airlines employed the most among
low-cost carriers, and SkyWest employed the most among regional
carriers. Six of the top 10 employers in the industry are network
All the network carriers increased FTEs from February 2007 to
February 2008. The year-to-year increases were Delta Air Lines 7.8
percent, Alaska Airlines 6.4 percent, Continental Airlines 4.1
percent, United Airlines 1.0 percent, American 0.9 percent, and
Northwest Airlines 0.8 percent.
Among regional airlines, SkyWest and Mesaba reported the largest
increases in the group. SkyWest employed 9.4 percent more FTEs in
February 2008 than February 2007, while Mesaba employed 18.0
percent more. Regional carrier FTEs rose from 55,900 in February
2005 to 60,500 in February 2008, an increase of 8.3 percent.
Overall, the 12 regional carriers reporting employment data in
both 2004 and 2008 employed 15.5 percent more FTEs in February 2008
than in February 2004. Of that group, Pinnacle reported the biggest
gain, 80.6 percent, followed by SkyWest at 72.2 percent and
ExpressJet at 29.2 percent. Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Air
Wisconsin Airlines, Mesa Airlines and Executive Airlines reported
fewer FTEs in February 2008 than February 2004.
Airlines that operate at least one aircraft with the capacity to
carry combined passengers, cargo and fuel of 18,000 pounds -- the
payload factor -- must report monthly employment statistics. Data
are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air
carriers as of April 9.