U.S. Cargo and Passenger Airlines Added 2,544 Jobs in March 2023; Employment Remains 8.2% Above Pre-Pandemic March 2019

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U.S. Cargo and Passenger Airlines Added 2,544 Jobs in March 2023; Employment Remains 8.2% Above Pre-Pandemic March 2019

Wednesday, May 10, 2023
BTS 23-23
Contact: BTSNews@dot.gov


Infographic for March 2023 U.S Airline Industry Employment and Full-time Equivalent Employees


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

U.S. airline industry (passenger and cargo airlines combined) employment increased to 793,779 workers in March 2023, 2,544 (0.32%) more workers than in February 2023 (791,235) and 59,895 (8.16%) more than in pre-pandemic March 2019 (733,884). 

U.S. scheduled-service passenger airlines employed 512,927 workers in March 2023 or 65% of the industry-wide total. Passenger airlines added 4,477 employees in March 2023 for a twenty-third consecutive month of job growth dating back to May 2021. United led scheduled passenger carriers, adding 1,289 employees; Southwest added 977, and Delta added 954.

U.S. cargo airlines employed 276,072 workers in March 2023, 35% of the industry total. Cargo carriers lost 1,927 employees in March. FedEx, the leading air cargo employer, decreased employment by 1,861 jobs.

Line chart showing total U.S. Airline industry employment for March 2021 through March 2023

Scheduled passenger airlines add 2,746 full-time equivalents in March 2023 for 23rd consecutive month of job growth



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 March 2023 industry-wide numbers include 682,977 full-time and 110,802 part-time workers for a total of 738,378 FTEs, an increase from February of 2,746 FTEs (0.37%). March 2023’s total number of FTEs remains just 9.43% above pre-pandemic March 2019’s 674,746 FTEs.

The 26 U.S. scheduled passenger airlines reporting data for March 2023 employed 486,551 FTEs, 4,280 FTEs (0.89%) more than in February 2023. March 2023’s total number of scheduled passenger airline FTEs is 41,843 FTEs (9.41%) above pre-pandemic March 2019. Data by passenger carrier category can be found in the accompanying tables.

U.S. cargo airlines employed 247,135 FTEs in March 2023, down 1,546 FTEs (0.62%) from February 2023. U.S. cargo airlines have increased FTEs by 21,265 (9.41%) since pre-pandemic March 2019.

Line chart showing employees at U.S. scheduled passenger airlines in month march 2019 through 2023

Reporting Notes

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers as of May 4, 2023. Additional https://transtats.bts.gov/Employment/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 March 2023.

Missing carriers: 2HQ (Elite), and WL (World Atlantic dba Caribbean Sun).