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Top 10 Biggest Airlines in the World

Updated on March 9, 2017

Biggest Airlines in the World

Have you ever wondered "What is the largest airline company in the world"? I have asked myself that question many times, and I wanted to do a little research about that subject. I was very intrigued by the result I came up with. Some of the companies that I saw during my research, I was not expecting to see in the top largest airlines in the world. When I was researching, I focused more on how many passenger per year use those airlines. This list is constructed on that criteria. As I was researching I noticed some of the names on the top list of largest airlines, recently merged with other airlines, that put them on that list of the largest airlines in the world.

Air China Logo
Air China Logo | Source

Number 10- Air China

Air China is the tenth largest airline company in the world. The Headquarters is based in Beijing, China. The airline has recorded over 72.4 millions passenger in the last year and during my research this number is increasing every year. Since 2010 the airline has increased their total number of passenger of plus 12 million. Some of the largest hubs of the airline are located in: Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu. The Airline started operating in 1988 and currently holds flights to over 185 destinations around the world. The parent company is China National Aviation Corporation. As of today the airline has only one major fatal incident in 2002, where 129 out of 166 passenger died in Air China Flight 129 from Beijing to Busan, South Korea. The airline currently has 305 operating aircraft and has 164 on order to be added, and soon operating.

Air China Plane
Air China Plane | Source
China Eastern Airlines
China Eastern Airlines | Source

Number 9 - China Eastern Airlines

China Eastern Airlines holds the number 9 spot with the largest airlines in the world. The airline began its service in 1988. Some of the main hubs for the airline are located in Shanghai, Kunming. The airline hold a 73.1 million passengers annually. China Eastern hold flights to over 150 destinations around the world. The airline currently has 339 aircraft and another 165 on order. The airline has alliance with SkyTeam. The headquarters of the airline is based in Shanghai.

China Eastern Airlines Planes
China Eastern Airlines Planes | Source
Lufthansa Logo
Lufthansa Logo | Source

Number 8- Lufthansa

The German giant Lufthansa Airlines hold the number eight spot in the largest airlines in the world. The company was founded in 1953 and is the biggest German airline. Their headquarters is located in Cologne, Germany. Some of the main hubs are in Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, and Munich. The airline is affiliated with Star Alliance. Lufthansa currently caries over 74.7 million passengers each year. They currently have flights to over 215 destinations around the world. Lufthansa currently has 285 operating aircraft and 22 waiting to be done and soon in operation. An interesting fact the slogan of Lufthansa is "Nonstop You". Lufthansa is one of the very few airlines that offer inter continental flights that have a long non stop options.

Lufthansa A320 Plane
Lufthansa A320 Plane | Source
RyanAir Logo
RyanAir Logo | Source

Number 7 - Ryanair

The Irish giant airline company Ryanair hold the number 7 spot. Ryanair was founded in 1985 and the current headquarters is located in Dublind, Ireland. The airline currently hold over 179 destinations around the world. The main hubs of the airline are located in Dublin, and London. Ryanair currently has 298 aircraft and has another 175 in order, as the company is planning to expand in the future. The airline carried over 79.3 million passengers each year.

Ryan Air Plane
Ryan Air Plane | Source
US Airways Logo
US Airways Logo | Source

Number 6 - U.S. Airways

Founded in 1937 U.S. Airways changed its name to US Airways in 1996. The American company is based in Tempe, Arizona. The main hubs for the airline are located in Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington D.C. The airline currently carries over 82.5 million passengers around the world each year.The company currently has over 193 destinations all around the world. The company currently has an alliance with Star Alliance but their contract expires in MArch 2014, and the company will be allied with Oneworld. The airline currently has 349 operating aircraft. The company slogan is "Fly with US".

US Airways Planes
US Airways Planes | Source
China Southern Airlines Logo
China Southern Airlines Logo | Source

Number 5 - China Southern Airlines

In the number five spot of the largest airlines in the world is another Chinese company, China Southern Airlines. Founded in 1988, and its biggest hub is located in Beijing. China Southern's headquarters is in Guangzhou. The company is allied with SkyTeam. China Southern services around 86.5 million people each year, and is the fifth largest airline in the world, by passengers. China Southern flies to 193 different destinations around the world. They currently have 437 operating jets, and 62 planes that are on order. Their biggest aircraft is the Airbus A380 and it hold over 500 passengers.

Airbus A380
Airbus A380 | Source
American Airlines Logo
American Airlines Logo | Source

Number 4 - American Airlines

American airlines is holding the number four spot in the largest airlines in the world. They company was founded in 1930 under the name American Airways, but in 1934 it was changed to American Airlines. They have an alliance with OneWorld. American airlines on average each year they have more than 107.8 million passengers. The four main hubs for American Airlines are in Dallas, New York(JFK), Los Angeles, and Chicago. The headquarters is located in Fort Worth, Texas. The Airline currently has over 273 destinations around the world and they have a total of 620 aircraft. The company slogan is "The New American is arriving". In 2013 it was announced that US Airways and American Airlines will be merging.

American Boeing 737
American Boeing 737 | Source
Southwest Airlines Logo
Southwest Airlines Logo | Source

Number 3 - Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is considered to be the airline that offers the lowest airfares of any US based airline. The airline was founded in 1967. It's headquarters is located in Dallas, Texas. The company only serves in 89 destinations, but an interesting fact is that it has more than 3,400 flights per day. Southwest services over 134 million passenger each year. The company has over 570 aircraft in which most of them are the Boeing 737. Some of the big hub locations of Southwest Airlines are located in Chicago, Baltimore, Las Vegas, Denver, Atlanta, Dallas, and Los Angeles. Another interesting fact is that Southwest Airlines is voted the best safest company in 2012 and 2013, it has never had any passenger die, because of an aircraft crash.

Southwest Airlines Boeing737
Southwest Airlines Boeing737 | Source
United Airlines Logo
United Airlines Logo | Source

Number 2 - United Airlines

United Airlines is the second largest Airlines in the World. The company was founded in 1926. Its headquarters is located in Chicago, Illinois. After the merger with Continental Airlines, United has become one of the top contenders for the largest airline in the world. With a total of around 140.4 million people annually United has been rising ever since. Some of the biggest hubs for United Airlines are located in Houston, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. The company is currently allied with StarAlliance, but it will be merging with OneWorld in March of 2014. The airline currently has 695 aircrast and another 275 on order, and it also services over 373 different destinations around the world.

United Airlines Boeing 787
United Airlines Boeing 787 | Source
Delta Airlines Logo
Delta Airlines Logo | Source

Number 1 - Delta Airlines

I don't think that this surprises anyone, but Delta Airlines is the largest airline company in the world. It was founded in 1928. The current headquarters is in Atlanta, Georgia. Some of the biggest hubs of the airline are located in Atlanta, Detroit, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City. The company currently serves over 164.6 million people per year. Delta Airlines operate on average daily around 5,000 different flights. They serve over 247 different destinations around the world. The company has the largest amount of aircraft available out of any other airline in the world with a total of 727 aircraft. The company is currently allied with StarAlliance. The slogan of the company is" Keep Climbing". That I think explains a lot about the success of the company and what it is trying to achieve.

Delta Airlines Plane
Delta Airlines Plane | Source

Have you flown on any of those Airlines listed before?

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      i don't believe this

    • Learn Things Web profile image

      JC Jehan 

      4 years ago from California

      I'm surprised to see Ryanair on the list. That's impressive for an airline from such a small country.


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