U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 9.1 percent fewer full-time equivalents in mid-October 2020 than a month earlier, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Mid-October’s total number of FTEs (368,162) was down 36,707 from mid-September 2020 (404,869 FTEs) and 91,871 from mid-March 2020. October was the lowest FTE total for any month dating from January 1990. The previous low was April 2010 (376,663 FTEs).
Mid-October’s FTEs declined nearly 86,000, an 18.9 percent drop from mid-October 2019 (454,070 FTEs).
The numbers reflect that airlines that took CARES Act funding from the government were not allowed to terminate employees until the end of September, but began to shrink their workforce once the restrictions were lifted.
The four big network carriers showed the following employment trends:
- 217,516 FTEs, 59.1 percent of total scheduled passenger airline FTEs
- Down 24.7 percent (71,264 FTEs) from October 2019 (288,780 FTEs)
- Down 20.3 percent (55,271 FTEs) from October 2016 (272,787 FTEs)
- Down 12.8 percent (32,049 FTEs) from mid-September 2020 (249,565 FTEs)
- Down 25.3 percent (73,693 FTEs) from mid-March 2020 (291,209 FTEs)