Employment in the U.S. aviation industry - Statistics & Facts

Published by E. Mazareanu, Feb 25, 2019
The U.S. aviation industry is comprised of a very extensive air transportation network with some of the world’s busiest airports that served a general aviation fleet of over 213,000 aircraft and close to 681 million passengers boarded by the largest U.S. air carriers in 2017.

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In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 29 most important statistics relating to "Employment in the U.S. aviation industry".


Employment in the U.S. aviation industry spreads outside of air transportation and also includes manufacturers of aircraft and parts, as well as Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) workers who regulate and oversee the country's airways and aviation system. In 2017, the average number of U.S. passenger airline full-time equivalent employees amounted to around 582,240 people. Around 89,100 of them were employed by a low-cost airline in that same year.

Most people involved in air transport work for the relative handful of major air carriers and only a minority is actually employed in specialized fields such as an airport pilot, technician or aircraft mechanic. In 2016, the number of pilots in the United States certified by the FAA was recorded to be at around 584,362. In the U.S., pilot certification is split into five categories: student pilot, recreational pilot, private pilot, commercial pilot, and airline transport pilot. The majority of aviation workers perform tasks unrelated to aircraft operations such as: flight services, baggage handling, fueling, food services etc.

As of December 2017, American Airlines was acknowledged to be both the leading passenger airline in the U.S. by number of full-time employees and also having the best paid pilots in the whole U.S. commercial aviation. American Airlines pilots earned an average annual salary of about 280,000 U.S. dollars as of August 29, 2016.

Employment in the U.S. aviation industry

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Low cost carriers

Full service carriers

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