Employment Remains 8.7% Above Pre-Pandemic September 2019

U.S. Airline Total Number of Employees (both Full-Time and Part-Time)

U.S. airline industry (passenger and cargo airlines combined) employment increased to 807,865 workers in September 2023, 2,939 (0.37%) more workers than in August 2023 (804,926) and 64,765 (8.72%) more than in pre-pandemic September 2019 (743,100).

U.S. scheduled-service passenger airlines employed 533,238 workers in September 2023 or 66% of the industry-wide total. Passenger airlines added 2,938 employees in September 2023 for a twenty-nineth consecutive month of job growth dating back to May 2021. Southwest led scheduled passenger carriers, adding 882 employees; United Air Lines added 736, and Delta Airlines added 708.

U.S. cargo airlines employed 269,870 workers in September 2023, 34% of the industry total. Cargo carriers lost 18 employees in September. FedEx, the leading air cargo employer, decreased employment by 149 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 September 2023 industry-wide numbers include 695,156 full-time and 112,709 part-time workers for a total of 751,511FTEs, an increase from August of 2,513 FTEs (0.34%). September 2023’s total number of FTEs remains just 9.80% above pre-pandemic September 2019’s 684,443 FTEs.

The 26 U.S. scheduled passenger airlines reporting data for September 2023 employed 506,337 FTEs, 2,750 FTEs (0.55%) more than in August 2023. September 2023’s total number of scheduled passenger airline FTEs is 55,883 FTEs (12.41%) above pre-pandemic September 2019. Data by passenger carrier category can be found in the accompanying tables.

U.S. cargo airlines employed 240,532 FTEs in September 2023, down 207 FTEs (0.09%) from August 2023. U.S. cargo airlines have increased FTEs by 10,728 (4.67%) since pre-pandemic September 2019.