Last updated: 09:33 AM ET, Mon April 27 2015

Domestic Carriers Are Workin' It

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | April 27, 2015

Domestic Carriers Are Workin' It

When airline advocates talk about the amount of money the industry brings in to the U.S. economy, they aren’t kidding.

U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 388,983 workers in February 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), which released the figures on Thursday.

That’s not only a 1.8 percent increase in the number of workers employed in the same month in 2014, but February also marked the 15th consecutive month that full-time equivalent (FTE) employment for U.S. scheduled passenger airlines exceeded the same month of the previous year and was the highest monthly total since August 2012.

And that’s just the airlines themselves. All totaled – airport workers, airplane manufacturers, engine manufacturers, etc. – commercial aviation accounts for 11 million U.S. jobs and $1.5 trillion in economic activity, according to Airlines for America.

Directly, for the airlines, the number of FTEs rose 0.6 percent on a month-to-month basis from January to February, following a one-month decline. 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 1.4 percent more FTEs in February 2015 than in February 2014. Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and US Airways increased FTEs from February 2014 while United Airlines reduced FTEs.

United Airlines employed the most FTEs (78,380) in February among the network airlines, Southwest employed the most FTEs (46,784) among low-cost airlines, and Envoy Air employed the most FTEs (10,936) among regional airlines.

Airlines that announce mergers typically begin joint reporting following U.S. Department of Transportation approval and issuance of a single economic certificate. American and US Airways, following their January 2013 merger announcement, will report separately until the Department approves single carrier reporting and a single economic certificate is issued.


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