There’s a reason why airlines have positioned themselves for a solid performance in 2010: in addition to charging all those extra fees, they have been cutting positions (and thus expenses). In July alone, the industry in the United States trimmed 2.3 percent of its workforce relative to July 2009. That made 25 consecutive months of net job losses in the domestic airline sector.
According to the Department of Transportation‘s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 378,100 people were employed full-time by the airline industry in the United States in July 2010, a decline of 8,700 from July 2009. Five of the six network carriers cut positions, with Delta adding headcount only because of its Northwest acquisition. Only two low-cost carries reported net cuts for this period (Southwest and AirTran).
According to the Associated Press, maintenance and ticket agent positions are getting hit most:
While the number of in-flight airline employees like pilots and flight attendants is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration, the bulk of airline employees-maintenance crews, reservations and ticket agents-work on the ground and aren’t subject to federal minimums. Airlines are operating with less staff to save money, but they’re also outsourcing maintenance and other work to other countries where labor is cheaper.
[photo by aflcio via Flickr]