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Super cheap Spirit Airlines had the biggest hiring hike of all U.S. carriers over the last year, while three of the five network U.S. airlines cut jobs year-over-year.

Data released today from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics highlight the change in full-time employees at each U.S. airline between October 2012 and October 2013.

United Airlines, Delta, Air Lines, and American Airlines cut between 0.2 percent and 5.5 percent of their staff during the one-year period.

Frontier had the largest decrease in full-time workers, 14.2 percent, likely in preparation of its sale to Indigo Partners, which plans to turn the airline into an ultra-low-cost carrier.

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Budget airlines increased their full-time staff the most year-over-year.

In addition to Spirit’s 24 percent increase in employees, Allegiant‘s full-time staff grew 12.9 percent and JetBlue‘s team grew 3.9 percent.

The staff changes are somewhat proportional to the airlines’ profits.

Budget airlines keep airfares low by tacking on fees for everything from carry-on luggage to cans of soda. Airlines that stick to this strategy the most are also consistently profitable and generating jobs.

Spirit reported its fourth straight profitable year in February 2013 and Allegiant reported its 40th consecutive profitable quarter in the same month.

The exception is Southwest Airlines, which cut 2 percent of its staff over the last year despite being on track for its 42nd year of profitability. This is most likely due to its continual integration of AirTran Airways, which it acquired in 2011.

And as much as the extra costs irk flyers, they are bringing the aviation industry into one of its healthiest financial periods ever. North American carriers will generate $5.8 billion in net income this year.

The following chart outlines the change in full-time employees, which counts two part-time employees as one full-time employee, for U.S. airlines in October 2012 and October 2013.

RankAirline20122013Percent Change (’12 to ’13)
1Spirit Airlines2,8123,48724
2Allegiant Air17,792,00912.9
3JetBlue Airways12,50612,9933.9
4US Airways30,36631,3643.3
5Alaska Airlines9,2059,4953.2
6Virgin America2,4332,4962.6
7United Airlines82,31282,141-0.2
8Delta Air Lines74,66373,492-1.6
9Southwest Airlines46,01545,074-2
10American Airlines62,70059,249-5.5
11Frontier Airlines4,0073,437-14.2

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Photo Credit: Spirit Airlines prepares to land at San Diego Airport. Ian Gratton / Flickr