The 23 U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 0.3% fewer full-time equivalents (FTEs) in mid-June 2020 than in mid-May 2020:

  • Mid-June’s total number of FTEs (410,594) was down over 1,000 FTEs from mid-May 2020 (411,817 FTEs) and down more than 49,000 FTEs from mid-March 2020. It was the lowest FTE total for any month since May 2016 (410,338 FTEs).
  • Mid-June 2020 FTEs were down more than 39,000 FTEs (-8.7%) from June 2019 (449,775 FTEs). 

Regulations require U.S. airlines to report employment numbers for employees who worked or received pay for any part of the pay period(s) ending nearest the 15th day of the month. U.S. airline employment reports are filed monthly with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. See the tables that accompany this release on the BTS website for detailed data since 2015 (Tables 1-15) and industry summary data since 1990.

Employees at U.S. Scheduled Passenger Airlines Month of June, 1990-2020 (Full-Time Equivalents)Notes: 

FTE calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

All 23 scheduled service passenger airlines (mid-June)

  • 410,594 FTEs
  • Down 8.7% (39,181 FTEs) from June 2019 (449,775 FTEs)
  • Down 0.4% (1,739 FTEs) from June 2016 (412,333 FTEs)

Four network airlines (mid-June)

  • 246,550 FTEs, 60.0% of total scheduled passenger airline FTEs
  • Down 14.8% (42,683 FTEs) from June 2019 (289,233 FTEs)
  • Down 9.2% (24,953 FTEs) from June 2016 (271,503 FTEs)
  • Down 0.4% (1,099 FTEs) from mid-May 2020 (247,649 FTEs)
  • Down 6.0% (15,750 FTEs) from mid-April 2020 (262,300 FTEs)
  • Down 15.3% (44,659 FTEs) from mid-March (291,209 FTEs)

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. Note that beginning with January 2018 data, Virgin America’s numbers are included with Alaska Airlines in the network category.

Five low-cost airlines (mid-June)

  • 98,420 FTEs, 24.0% of total scheduled passenger airline FTEs
  • Up 2.9% (2,752 FTEs) from June 2019 (95,668 FTEs)
  • Up 18.9% (15,624 FTEs) from June 2016 (82,796 FTEs)
  • Down 0.2% (221 FTEs) from mid-May 2020 (98,641 FTEs)
  • Down 0.2% (201 FTEs) from mid-April 2020 (98,621 FTEs)
  • Down 0.1% (111 FTEs) from mid-March 2020 (98,531 FTEs)

Low-cost airlines operate under a low-cost business model, with infrastructure and aircraft operating costs below the overall industry average.

10 regional airlines (mid-June)

  • 56,517 FTEs, 13.8% of total scheduled passenger airline FTEs
  • Down 0.3% (179 FTEs) from June 2019 (56,696 FTEs)
  • Up 11.2% (5,694 FTEs) from June 2016 (50,823 FTEs)
  • Up 0.3% (151 FTEs) from mid-May 2020 (56,366 FTEs)
  • Down 4.4% (2,625 FTEs) from mid-April 2020 (59,142 FTEs)
  • Down 7.4% (4,486 FTEs) from mid-March 2020 (61,003 FTEs)

Regional carriers typically provide service from small cities, using primarily regional jets to support the network carriers’ hub and spoke systems.

Top Employers by Group

  • Network: American       101,657 FTEs
  • Low-Cost: Southwest      61,118 FTEs
  • Regional: SkyWest          17,459 FTEs

Four other airlines

Other carriers generally operate within specific niche markets. They are: Hawaiian Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, Silver Airlines and Eastern Airlines.

Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

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