Airline Employment Trends

Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports growth in airline employment trends for the thirteenth consecutive month.


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According to a recent release by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 2.7 percent more workers in December 2011 than they did in December 2010.

The latest employment figures mark the 13th consecutive month that full-time equivalent employee (FTE) levels for the scheduled passenger carriers have been higher than the same month of the previous year.

The December FTE total of 389,728 for the scheduled passenger carriers was 10,077 more than that of December 2010. The current airline industry growth trend reflects gradual, yet consistent improvement in the industry’s employment following declines that began in July 2008.

Only Delta Air Lines, which has been eliminating duplicate positions following its merger with Northwest Airlines, reported decreased employment from December 2010 to December 2011.

Leading the pack was Continental Airlines with 14.5 percent more FTEs in December 2011 than in December 2010, the largest increase among the network carriers. US Airways followed Continental with a 2.9 percent increase.

Network airlines operate a significant portion of flights using at least one hub where connections are made for flights to down-line destinations or spoke cities.

At the budget-conscious end of the industry, all seven low-cost airlines reported more FTEs in December 2011 than in December 2010, except for Allegiant Air and Frontier Airlines, which reported a 1.2 percent decrease and a 4.9 percent decrease, respectively.

Among the 17 regional carriers, the six carriers reporting reduced employment levels compared to last year were Horizon Airlines, Republic Airlines, Comair, Mesaba Airlines, Mesa Airlines and Executive Airlines.

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