BTS Releases November Passenger Airline Employment Data

U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 437,014 workers in November 2005, 6.4 percent fewer than in November 2004, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), reported that the seven network carriers employed 290,352 total full-time and part-time workers -- 9.0 percent fewer workers in November 2005 than a year earlier. The low-cost carriers reported 74,299 total employees, 2.0 percent fewer than November 2004, and the regional carriers reported 59,301 total employees, no percentage change compared to the previous year.

November 2005 was the 11th consecutive month that full-time equivalent employee (FTE) levels for the scheduled passenger carriers declined compared to the same month of the previous year.

Full-time employee numbers declined 7.0 percent and part-time employee numbers declined 2.0 percent in November 2005 from November 2004.

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. BTS is providing pre-2003 comparisons for network and low-cost carriers, as well as pre-2003 numbers for individual regional carriers that were required to report in earlier years.

Using Full-Time Equivalent Employee (FTE) calculations, employment at network carriers in November dropped 28.0 percent from 2001 to 2005. The biggest declines were at US Airways, down 47.7 percent; and United Airlines, down 34.4 percent. In FTE calculations, two part-time employees are counted as one full-time employee.

The seven low-cost carriers, excluding Independence, that were required to report employment data in 2001 and 2005 employed 15.8 percent more FTEs in November 2005 than in November 2001.

The seven regional carriers reporting employment data in both 2001 and 2005 employed 13.8 percent more FTEs in November 2005 than in November 2001. Of that group, Air Wisconsin reported fewer FTE employees in November 2005 than November 2001 and Horizon Air reported about the same number (Table 7).

The 6.7 percent drop in FTEs from November 2004 to November 2005 was the 11th consecutive month of year-over-year declines in airline employment levels for the scheduled passenger carriers. It was the largest decrease for that period. It was also the fourth consecutive month with a decline of more than 5 percent from the same month of the previous year.

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers as of Jan. 11.

The complete text release and data can be found at Additional airline employment data can be found on the BTS web site at