Airlines' employment numbers up 17th straight month

Southwest leads low cost carriers

ORLANDO, Fla. - Despite cutbacks and the elimination of "redundant positions," United, Delta and American airlines employed more than half (57.7%) of the airline industry's full-time employees, leading a modest 1.3 percent boost in workers on airline payrolls in April 2012 versus April 2011.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics, that marks the 17th straight month that "full-time equivalent employee levels for scheduled passenger carriers have been higher than the same month of a previous year."

The full time numbers are slightly misleading because the bureau calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the April FTE total of 388,500 for the scheduled passenger carriers was 5,089 more than that of April 2011.

Among the six low-cost carriers, Allegiant Airlines, Virgin America Airlines, Spirit Airlines and JetBlue Airways reported an increase in full time employees (FTE's).

Frontier Airlines was the only low-cost carrier reporting fewer FTEs. Southwest Airlines reported 46,124 FTEs in April 2012 in a joint report following its merger with AirTran Airways. The combined report was 2,417 more FTEs or 5.5 percent more than the 43,707 FTEs the two airlines reported separately in April 2011.

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