The Largest Airlines in the World
Just over a hundred years ago, flying was just a dream.
According to international aviation industry data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a total of 4.3 billion passengers traveled on scheduled flights last year.
Which is the largest airline in the world?
The answer to this question depends on the criteria.
That is why we decided to picture for you the largest airlines that will take them on their journey, i.e. the largest airlines based on the number of passengers carried.
Your journey can now begin!
1- American Airlines
The largest airline in the world,
US Airways, on the other hand, was founded in 1939 by the eminent du Pont family. One of the wealthiest clans in the U.S. since the mid-1800s ventured into the chemical and automotive industries, then into aviation.
Both companies had grown significantly over the years, and news of their merger raised antitrust concerns in 2013. However, a settlement was reached and the deal was closed. This created the airline with the largest fleet and the largest operating income.
American Airlines has more than 6,700 daily flights - one every 13 seconds! American takes passengers to 350 locations in 56 countries worldwide. About two-thirds of the fleet consists of Airbus A320 and Boeing 737-800 aircraft, and the total capacity is nearly 260,000,000 seats. It is expected to add 607 new aircraft to its fleet and further increase its capacity.
2- Delta Air Lines
Delta is also the oldest surviving U.S. airline. The original company - Delta Air Lines - started dusting crops in Georgia in 1924. In 1929, it was transformed into Delta Air Service and made its first passenger flight between Texas and Mississippi.
Headquartered in Atlanta, the company operates more than 5,400 flights daily from its eight hubs. It travels to 325 destinations in 52 countries on six continents.
3- Southwest Airlines
The company was founded in 1967. It started out as an intrastate airline with a plan to lower competitor prices. The founders chose to fly only within Texas to avoid federal price controls and market rules. Competition was unfortunate, of course, and lawsuits followed. However, these were resolved and operations started in 1971.
Today, in high season, Southwest offers 4,000 departures daily to 100 destinations in the United States and ten additional countries.
Southwest is the largest operator of Boeing 737 in the world - the airline has 750 aircraft, each averaging about 6 flights a day.
4- United Airlines
United, the fourth largest airline in the world, is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The fleet consists of 777 aircraft that bring 143,200,000 passengers to their final destination every year!
United is 92 years old. It was founded in Varna Air Lines in 1926 in Idaho. Later, Varney became the first private airmail flight contractor in the United States. United Airlines' fleet consists mainly of Boeing and Airbus aircraft. It takes its numerous passengers to 342 destinations.
The largest European airline,
In 2018, Lufthansa Group set a record with 142,000,000 passengers to its destination, making it the best European airline. Lufthansa has a fleet of 291 aircraft that travel to 220 destinations around the world.
The company, founded in 1953, took on the staff of its predecessor Deutsche Luft Hansa A.G. re-entered service when the flag carrier of Germany ceased operating after the defeat of Nazi Germany. In 1963 the new company had become the foreman of the image of West Germany abroad. Over the years, Lufthansa has continuously expanded and in 1997 became one of the 5 ancestors of the Star Alliance. And in 2017, Lufthansa became the first European airline to receive the esteemed Skytrax 5-star certification.
The Irish low cost airline is the second largest airline in Europe; it ranks sixth worldwide with its 119,800,000 passengers.
Ryanair serves a record number of routes around 1,831!
Ryanair's success story is astonishing. The Dublin-based company was founded not long ago, in 1984, to fight the British Airways / Aer Lingus duopoly on London-Ireland flights. When it was allowed to fly to Luton in 1986, it had two planes on two routes, but managed to carry the astounding 82,000 passengers in one year! The company's fleet consists of 439 aircraft serving 225 destinations in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
7- China Southern Airlines
With its 84.9 million, China Southern Airlines, headquartered in Guangzhou, is the 7th busiest airline in the world. This is one of the relatively young companies on the list. Southern gradually developed into Asia's largest airline in terms of fleet size, revenues and passengers carried. It offers more than 2000 flights a day and flies to more than 200 destinations. China Southern Airlines was the first mainland Chinese airline to join a global Star Alliance team of the airline.
8- China Eastern Airlines
This Shanghai-based Chinese airline ranks eighth in the top ten in the world with 80,900,000 passengers. It was created with China Southern and flagship Air China as the "Big Three" 30 years ago. The original goal was to serve countries in East Asia, but today it flies passengers to 248 regional, domestic and international destinations in Asia, North America and Australia.
China Eastern Airlines holds the record for the longest non-stop route - Shanghai to New York, which started in 2007.
The Luton-based airline is the second largest budget airline in Europe and the 9th largest airline in the world in terms of transported passengers: 73,100,000. EasyJet has a fleet of 320 aircraft flying to 136 destinations in more than 30 countries. The business strategy, along with market deregulation and strong demand, has led to rapid growth.
10- Turkish Airlines
The impressive rise of Turkish Airlines to one of the largest airlines.
With 62,800,000 passengers, the Istanbul-based airline ranks 10th. This is the largest airline in the world in terms of passenger destinations - it flies to 122 countries on six continents.
Turkish Airlines was founded in 1933 as a division of the Ministry of National Defense with a fleet of two five- and two-seat aircraft, two four-seat aircraft and one ten-seat aircraft. Later it was transformed into a domestic airline and after World War II, the airline went on to operate internationally.
Fleet expansion, marketing agreements and a rehabilitation project followed. All efforts have led to a gradual increase in the number of flight destinations, resulting in Turkish Airlines gaining the top position in the world today.