Fewer Pilots and Maintenance Workers Employed by US Airlines in 2009

The report, released on Wednesday, said that 6.4% fewer pilots and 7.2% fewer maintenance workers were employed during the year. Figures for the seven large network carriers were 4.2% and 9.4% respectively, while the seven largest low-cost carriers employed 0.3% fewer pilots but 9.5% more maintenance workers from 2008 to 2009.

Delta Air Lines was the only network airline to increase the number of pilots employed, taking on an additional 190 pilots, a 3.0% increase, while United Airlines shed 12.1% of its pilots.

Low-cost carriers JetBlue, Southwest and Virgin America added pilots from 2008 to 2009 while the other low-cost carriers reduced pilots. Spirit Airlines had the largest decrease in pilot employment followed by Allegiant Airlines. Virgin America had the largest increase in maintenance workers of any low-cost airline from 2008 to 2009 while AirTran had the only reduction.

Airlines in the US that operate at least one aircraft with the capacity to carry combined passengers, cargo and fuel of 18,000lbs - the payload factor - and have annual operating revenue of more than USD20m must report annual employment data.

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