US and European carriers continue to dominate the global airlines industry, but who are the world’s biggest airlines? Here’s a ranking of the ten biggest publicly-traded airline companies, based on 2017 revenues.
Lufthansa Group – $42.61bn
Lufthansa Group reported revenue of $42.61bn (€35.57bn) in 2017, an increase of 12.4% compared to 2016. Its net profit reached $2.83bn, surging 33.1% over the preceding year, driven by the strong performance of its Network Airlines, Point-to-Point Airlines and Lufthansa Cargo. The airline carried 130 million passengers in 2017.
The group’s business is divided into three segments, namely Network Airlines, Point-to-Point Airlines and Aviation Services. The Network Airlines segment includes Lufthansa German Airlines, SWISS and Austrian Airlines, while the Point-to-Point Airlines segment constitutes Eurowings, Germanwings, Eurowings Europe and Brussels Airlines.
Lufthansa’s fleet constituted 728 aircraft with an average age of 11.4 years in 2017. It offers services to 308 destinations in 103 countries across the world.
American Airlines Group (AAG) – $42.2bn
American Airlines Group (AAG) recorded revenue of $42.2bn in 2017. Mainline and regional passenger revenues accounted for $36.1bn out of the total amount. The net income reported by AAG for the same period was $1.9bn.
AAG runs 1,545 aircraft and operates 6,700 flights a day to approximately 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. The airline carried approximately 200 million passengers in 2017.
AAG has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas / Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington DC in the US, with its headquarters being based in Fort Worth.
Delta Air Lines – $41.24bn
Delta Air Lines’s revenue in 2017 totalled $41.24bn, seeing an increase of 4% compared to 2016. The airline carried approximately 186.4 million passengers in 2017. It operates 1,500 flights a day to more than 335 destinations.
Delta has hubs in Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis / St Paul, New York, Salt Lake City, and Seattle in the US, as well as Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Mexico City, London in the UK, São Paulo in Brazil, Seoul in South Korea and Tokyo in Japan.
Headquartered in Atlanta, US, Delta operates a mainline fleet of 867 aircraft and employs more than 80,000 personnel globally.
United Continental Holdings – $37.73bn
United Continental Holdings (UAL) reported revenue of $37.73bn at the end of 2017, which displays a 3.2% increase compared to the previous year. The airline served more than 148 million passengers in 2017.
Established by the merge of United Airlines and Continental Airlines in May 2010, UAL operates more than 4,500 flights a day to 354 destinations worldwide. The airline’s fleet comprises 1,295 aircraft, including 545 aircraft operated by United’s regional carriers.
Based in Chicago, US, UAL is a member of Star Alliance, which includes 28 member airlines that offer services to 191 countries.
Air France-KLM – $29.06bn
In 2017 Air France-KLM generated revenues of €25.78bn ($29.06bn), seeing an increase of 3.8% from 2016. A total of 98.7 million passengers travelled with the airline in 2017.
Formed in 2004 through a merger between Air France and KLM, the airline currently operates 552 aircraft and employs 80,595 staff across the world.
Air France-KLM serves 314 destinations in 116 countries through more than 80 strategic partners and its five carrier brands Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Transavia, Joon, and HOP!.
Emirates Group – $27.9bn
The Emirates Group recorded revenue of AED102.4bn ($27.9bn) in 2017, an increase of 8% compared to 2016. The airline carried 58.5 million passengers across its global network.
Commencing operations with just two aircraft in 1985, the airline now operates 265 aircraft and flies to 155 destinations in more than 80 countries, making it the biggest airline in the Middle East.
The group is wholly owned by the Government of Dubai and employs 41,007 personnel.
International Airlines Group (IAG) – $27.51bn
International Airlines Group (IAG)’s 2017 revenue reached €22.97bn ($27.51bn), which was 1.8% higher than in 2016. IAG is the holding company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and Level.
The group operates 547 aircraft flying to 268 destinations across the world. It handles approximately 105 million passengers a year across its airlines.
Headquartered in London, IAG comprises primary airlines in the UK, Spain and Ireland, and employs 63,994 personnel.
Southwest Airlines – $21.17bn
Southwest Airlines reported revenue of $21.17bn in 2017, an increase of 3.7% compared to 2016. Approximately 157 million passengers boarded Southwest’s aircraft in 2017.
Southwest primarily provides services to 14 international destinations through 16 international gateway cities within the 48 connecting states in the US.
The airline operates more than 4,000 flights each week across a network of 100 destinations in the US and ten other countries.
China Southern Airlines – $19.62bn
China Southern Airlines recorded revenue of CNY127.8bn ($19.62bn) at the end of 2017, an increase of 11.2% compared to 2016. The airline carried more than 126 million passengers in 2017.
The carrier operates more than 2,000 flights a day to 224 destinations in 40 countries. It also serves 1062 destinations in 177 countries through its SkyTeam member airlines.
China Southern Airlines runs a fleet of more than 750 passengers and cargo transport aircraft and employs more than 96,000 personnel.
Air China – $19.04bn
Air China, the national flag carrier of China, reported revenue of CNY124bn ($19.04bn) in 2017 at an increase of 7.7% from 2016. The airline, along with its subsidiaries and associates, carried more than 101 million passengers in 2017.
Air China serves 420 passenger routes, including 101 international, 16 regional and 303 domestic routes, connecting 185 cities in 40 countries.
Headquartered in Beijing, the airline operates a fleet of 655 aircraft, with an average age of 6.53 years. Air China employs 7,858 personnel, while its subsidiaries have an employee base of 55,648.