BTS Releases December Passenger Airline Employment Data; December 2013 Employment Up 0.3 Percent from December 2012

U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 380,809 workers in December 2013, 0.3 percent more than in December 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. December was the first month that full-time equivalent (FTE) employment for U.S. scheduled passenger carriers was higher than the same month of the previous year after 15 consecutive months of declines. 

BTS reported that the December 2013 FTE total for scheduled passenger carriers was 1,233 more than in December 2012. Scheduled passenger airline categories include network, low-cost, regional and other airlines. 

The five network airlines that collectively employ two-thirds of the scheduled passenger airline FTEs reported 0.4 percent more FTEs in December 2013 than in December 2012, the first month with more FTEs than the same month of the previous year for the group after 16 months of declines. United Airlines and American Airlines reduced FTEs from December 2012 while US Airways, Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines increased FTEs. 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.

Of the six low-cost carriers, four - Spirit Airlines, Allegiant Airlines, Virgin America and JetBlue Airways - reported an increase in FTEs from December 2012 while two - Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines - reported a decline. Low-cost airlines operate under a low-cost business model, with infrastructure and aircraft operating costs below the overall industry average.

See Passenger Airline Employment press release for summary tables and additional data. Historical employment data can be found on the BTS web site.