U.S. passenger airlines saw their ranks of full-time employees increase 1% in August year over year to 384,478, and the highest percentage job growth occurred amongst low cost carriers.
In fact, while the new data from the DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reveal that the six low cost carriers saw their employment ranks rise 3% as a group, the airlines that have become known as ultra-low cost carriers among them notched the highest employment growth rates.
In August 2014, Allegiant saw its employee ranks jump 15.5% year over year to 2,248; the number of Spirit full-time employees increased 11.9% to 3,774, and Frontier’s full-time employee numbers climbed 7.9% to 3,832.
The job growth numbers provide more impetus to the rise of these fee-happy low cost carriers, which often charge fees not only for checked bags, but for carry-ons and even overhead bin space. Their low fares are proving popular among a segment of travelers, and are spurring growth in their roster of full-time employees.
Rounding out the field of low-cost carriers, Virgin America (3.8%), JetBlue (3.5%) and Slouthwest-AirTran (1.3%) all produced increased numbers of full-time employees in August 2014 compared with the same period a year ago, but their growth spurts didn’t match those of Alliegiant, Spirit or Frontier.
While the number of full-time employees among low cost carriers increased 3% in August 2014, according to the BTS data, network carriers saw their employee numbers rise just 0.1% to 256,095.
Meanwhile the regional airlines as a group posted a 2.5% year over year increase in full-time employees in August 2014, according to the BTS. Four of them, including Chautauqua Airlines, Endeavor Airlines, Envoy Air and Shuttle America, reported reduced full-time employee numbers while nine notched increases.
August was the ninth consecutive month in which there was a year-over-year increase in full-time employees for the 27 scheduled passenger airlines. David Smallen, a DOT spokesperson, said passenger airline hiring is a trend that started in December 2013.
United continued as the largest employer among U.S. passenger airlines in August, employing 79,263 full-timers.
The rankings of the top 10 airline employers remain the same in August 2014 versus August 2013, the BTS found.
Top 10 Airlines, August 2014, Ranked by Number of Full-Time Employees
|Rank||Airline||Total FTE Employees||Carrier Group**||Top 10 Airlines August 2013|
|5||US Airways||31,530||Network||US Airways|
**Envoy operated as American Eagle prior to April 2014
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Statistics