US cargo airlines employed 38% of the airline industry total in January with 283,374 workers, as cargo carriers subtracted 52 employees in February; FedEx was the leading air cargo employer and decreased employment by 503 jobs: US Dept. of Transportation

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April 11, 2022 (press release) –

Scheduled passenger airlines add 5,477 full-time equivalents for 10th consecutive month of job growth

U.S. Airline Employees Headcount (Full-time and Part-time Employees)

U.S. airline industry (passenger and cargo airlines combined) employment increased to 739,290 workers in February 2022, 5,799 (0.79%) more workers than in January 2022 (733,491) and 14,092 (1.87%) fewer than in pre-pandemic February 2020 (753,382).

U.S. scheduled-service passenger airlines employed 455,916 workers in February or 62% of the industry-wide total. Passenger airlines added 5,851 employees in January for a tenth consecutive month of job growth dating back to May 2021. Delta Air Lines led scheduled passenger carriers, adding 1,704 employees; Southwest Airlines added 1,307 employees, and United Airlines added 1,202. U.S. cargo airlines employed 283,374 workers in January, 38% of the industry total. Cargo carriers subtracted 52 employees in February. FedEx, the leading air cargo employer, decreased employment by 503 jobs.



U.S. Airline Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs)

BTS calculates FTEs by dividing the number of part-time employees by 2 and adding that figure to the number of full-time employees. The February industry-wide numbers include 631,172 full-time and 108,118 part-time workers for a total of 685,231 FTEs, an increase from January of 5,609 FTEs (0.83%). February’s total number of FTEs remains just 1.71% below pre-pandemic February 2020’s 691,457 FTEs.

U.S. cargo airlines employed 253,262 FTEs in January, up 478 FTEs (0.19%) from December. U.S. cargo airlines have increased FTEs by 18,048 (7.67%) since pre-pandemic January 2020.

The 22 U.S. scheduled passenger airlines reporting data for February 2022 employed 432,597 FTEs, 5,477 FTEs (1.28%) more than in January 2022. February’s total number of scheduled passenger airline FTEs remains 25,632 FTEs (5.59%) below pre-pandemic February 2020. Data by passenger carrier category can be found in the accompanying tables.



The February 2022 figure is the highest industry headcount since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the employment deficit between February 2022 and February 2020 is the smallest difference in corresponding-pre-pandemic month employment since April 2020. That is all the more noteworthy given that February 2020 had the highest February headcount in BTS records going back to 1990.



Reporting Notes

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers as of March 4, 2022. Additional airline employment data and previous releases can be found on the BTS website.

Passenger, cargo, and charter airlines that operate at least one aircraft that has more than 60 seats or the capacity to carry a payload of passengers, cargo, and fuel weighing more than 18,000 pounds must report monthly employment statistics. Regulations require U.S. airlines to report employment numbers for employees who worked or received pay for any part of the pay period(s) ending nearest the 15th day of the month.

See the tables that accompany this release on the BTS website for detailed data since 2015 (Tables 1-15) and industry summary monthly data since 1990. Additional individual airline numbers are available on the BTS airline employment web page. The web page provides full-time and part-time employment numbers by carrier by month from 1990 through February 2022.

The next update for U.S. airline employment is scheduled for May 5.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.

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Dan Rivard
Dan Rivard
- VP Market Development -

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