U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 6.4 percent fewer pilots and 7.2 percent fewer maintenance workers in 2009 than in 2008 while total industry jobs declined by 4.1 percent, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today.
BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the seven large network carriers employed 4.2 percent fewer pilots and 9.4 percent fewer maintenance workers in 2009 than in 2008. A separate group of the seven largest low-cost carriers employed 0.3 percent fewer pilots but 9.5 percent more maintenance workers from 2008 to 2009.
Delta Air Lines added 190 pilots, a 3.0 percent increase, the only network airline pilot increase from 2008 to 2009 while United Airlines had the greatest percentage decrease in pilot employment of the network airlines, -12.1 percent. Northwest Airlines had the largest increase in maintenance workers of any network airline from 2008 to 2009 while United Airlines had the largest decrease.
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.