US regional airline employment dips in June

Washington DC
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US airlines hired 1.4% more workers in June 2012 than the same period a year earlier, according to new data from the US Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics. However some airlines, especially regional carriers, have decreased employment.

The 15 regional carriers that provided employment statistics in 2008 and 2012 reported 15.3% fewer full-time employees in June 2012 than in June 2008. Six of these carriers showed lower employment totals for June 2012 compared to that period a year earlier: Colgan Air, Mesa Airlines, Horizon Airlines, Republic Airlines, AMR's subsidiary Executive Airlines, and the soon-to-be defunct Delta Air Lines subsidiary Comair, which will shuts its doors at the end of September.

Comair showed a 27.5% drop in full-time employees between June 2011 and 2012, and Executive Airlines followed with a decrease of 22.8%. Pinnacle's merger with Mesaba kept it off that list, however its full-time employee count is now lower than the June 2011 totals for the two carriers combined.

Despite the decrease in some regionals' June statistics, Missouri-based GoJet Airlines saw an organic 59.6% increase in full-time employees in June from 2011 to 2012 and Shuttle America grew full-time employment organically by 28.8%.

Network carriers increased full-time employment among themselves by 1.4% in June 2012 from June 2011. However, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines reported lower numbers of full-time employees. American Airlines, which filed for bankruptcy in November, reduced full-time employees by 2.9% in June compared to June 2011. Employees at these network airlines make up 67.6% of the employees at all scheduled US airlines.

Delta eliminated positions after merging with Northwest Airlines, and reduced its full-time employee count by 1%. United Airlines, on the other hand, increased its full-time employee count after its merger with Continental Airlines, increasing a full-time employee count that was 7.5% higher than that of both pre-merged carriers combined.

Low-cost carriers largely increased their full-time employee counts with the exception of Frontier Airlines, which saw full-time employees drop by 15.6% in June 2012 compared to June 2012. Southwest Airlines increased full-time employees by 3.9% in June after its merger with Air Tran, which reflects an increase from the combined employment at both carriers pre-merger.

Scheduled commercial airlines in the US employed 390,923 full-time employees, 5,540 more than in June 2011. The statistics count two part time employees as one full-time employee.