September Airline Industry Employment

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The 24 U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 0.7% more full-time equivalents (FTEs) in September 2021 than in August 2021, but still employed 8.8% fewer than in pre-pandemic September 2019. The September total number of FTEs (410,836) was up 2,871 from August (407,965) and down 39,618 from September 2019 (450,454). In September 2021, the airlines employed the lowest FTE total for the month of September since 2015 (397,326).

The September uptick resulted in part from increases of 2,343 FTEs at Delta Airlines and 1,150 at United Airlines. Only 4 of the 24 reporting airlines had fewer FTEs in September than in August, led by American Airlines (down 1,811 FTEs) and Alaska Airlines (down 850).

In September 2021, scheduled passenger airlines employed 62% of total airline industry FTEs, down from 63% at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

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