Job growth soaring for American Airlines, Southwest

Employment is up at North Texas-based American Airlines and Southwest Airlines as both carriers outpaced their competitors in job growth, according to figures released Thursday.
Fort Worth-based American (Nasdaq: AAL) employed 59,905 fill-time workers and 7,427 part-timers in the United States in June, for a total of 67,332, up 6.4 percent from a year ago. Southwest (NYSE: LUV) employment rose 4.9 percent to 46,808 full-timers and 1,674 part-timers, totaling 48,482 nationwide.
Only Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) with 84,728 total U.S. employees, and Chicago-based United Airlines (NYSE: UAL) with 84,059, employed more
The job numbers for American Airlines would have made it the largest employer if the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics would have included the 35,339 that the agency still considers employees of US Airways. That airline and American have merged, creating a mega-airline with more passengers than any other in the world, but they have still been reporting job numbers separately, BTS spokesman Dave Smallen said.
June was the last month for which there will be separate reports, Smallen said. Joint reporting is based on the granting of a single Department of Transportation/FAA operating certificate rather than the announced date of a merger, he said.
The employment gains come at a time of relative prosperity for the airlines but also a time when Southwest and some of the other carriers are dealing with labor problems. Federal investigators, meanwhile, are probing whether the country’s largest airlines violated competition rules, and shareholders’ concerns of a stall in the market have stock prices in descent.
American posted a record profit of $1.7 billion in the second quarter of 2015 and Southwest also set a record, with net income of $608 million. Southwest and American in July also broke their all-time records for traffic.

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