The Largest Airlines of the World

Modern aviation has taken leaps and bounds in connecting humans to almost every country and location, and airlines play a large part in this. According to the data collected by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), in 2019, 4.5 billion passengers flew on scheduled services, which averages 123.33 million daily passengers. 

The sheer number of flights that are operated worldwide is astonishing as well. In 2020, airline departures (both domestic and international) were projected to reach 40.3 million, which averages to 110 thousand flights a day. But the pandemic decimated the aviation industry, and the final number wasn’t even close. 

The airline industry is dominated by a few prominent names, such as Emirates Airlines in the middle east, Delta Airlines in the U.S., and China Southern Airlines in Asia. However, there are many more carriers than most passengers guess. In 2022, the total number of airlines (both domestic and international) amounted to 1,126, with the highest concentration in the European continent. 

I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled the globe on several airlines, from smaller regional airlines that charge $4 for a bottle of water to airlines that cross oceans and offer some of the best in-flight meals available.

Being heavily involved in the aviation industry also gives me a unique insight into the inner workings of the different types of airlines, their routes, philosophies, and fleet decisions. So let’s get into the largest Airlines of the world. 

The Largest Airlines of the World


We must look at the past to appreciate the evolution of airlines and the aviation industry. According to the International Airline Transport Association (IATA), the first airline originated in the United States. Most people, myself included, think it began in a bustling metropolitan area with dense crowds needing rapid transportation, but the first airline originated in a rather unconventional location. 

The Birthplace of the Airline

The world’s first airline to operate heavier-than-air winged aircraft was founded in St. Petersburg, Florida. The airline, aptly named St. Petersburg–Tampa Airboat Line, operated flights from St. Petersburg to the Hillsborough river in Tampa. The airline’s first flight took off on the 1st of January, 1914. 

Tony Jannus, a highly skilled pilot, held multiple records in the early 19th century and was the first federal air transport license holder. He flew the airline’s first flight with the mayor of St. Petersburg, Abe Pheil as his passenger.

Global Air Travel Today

The aviation industry has evolved at a breakneck pace. Manufacturers continue to build bigger, more fuel-efficient aircraft that carry more passengers further than before, and airlines use these machines to connect the world. 

Over 100,000 flights depart daily worldwide, and nearly 10,000 aircraft are airborne at any given time. Similarly, an average of six million people fly daily, with 500,000 in the air at any moment. 

Before 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic crippled the industry, there were more than three billion global airline passengers, after that figure dropped by 60 percent to only 1.8 billion. In the years since the recovery, airline traffic has steadily increased. International traffic increased by 152.7 percent when compared to 2021. 

The Ranking Criteria

The list of the largest airlines in the world is subjective and depends on the metrics we use to judge them. Plenty of lists rate airlines by the passengers flown, yearly revenue, total revenue passenger kilometers (RPK), destinations serviced, and fleet size. 

This list uses fleet size as the defining criterion to gauge the largest airline to avoid confusion. Fleet size is almost an all-encompassing metric. Aircraft leases are expensive, so airlines will only purchase them if profit follows. So, the bigger fleet, the higher RPK and passenger traffic.

Listing It Out

This list retrieves data from, which tracks fleet data in real time, allowing for a comprehensive look at the fleet size of the aircraft. The figure includes the aircraft currently in service and parked aircraft expected to return to service in the coming months. Aircraft that are on order have not been included in the total. The ordered column only includes new aircraft close to delivery or second-hand deliveries. Outstanding orders and options reported by airlines and manufacturers are not included. 

Top 10 Largest Airlines of the World

No. 1 – American Airlines

American Airlines website

The airline with the largest fleet in the world is also from the United States of America, and it is none other than American Airlines.

American Airlines was founded in 1930 when many smaller airlines merged under the parent company, the Aviation Corporation, and has steadily grown through multiple mergers and acquisitions.

The two most significant mergers occurred in 2001 and 2011, when American Airlines merged with Trans World Airlines (TWA), Inc and U.S. Airways. The latter made American Airlines the largest airline in the world.

As of January 2023, The airline services 269 destinations in the United States and 81 international destinations across 48 countries and five continents. Including its regional partners, American Airlines operates more than 6,800 flights per day. In addition, the airline is one of the founding members of the OneWorld Alliance, which allows codesharing to destinations worldwide.

Like its American counterparts on this list, American Airlines uses a hub-and-spoke model, with its narrow-body and regional aircraft flying passengers to smaller airports. The airline has ten hubs, with its main base at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Fleet Details

As of the end of March 2023, American Airlines has a fleet of 936 aircraft, with another nine on order, of exclusively Airbus and Boeing aircraft. This switch to only two manufacturers is relatively recent after the airline retired smaller regional aircraft. Historically the airline had aircraft from various manufacturers, with its most purchased aircraft being the McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

Narrow-body models from Airbus and Boeing make up over 80 percent of the airline’s fleet, which is necessary because more than half the airline’s flights are domestic.

The Airbus models are from the A320 family, while the Boeing narrow-body models are exclusively B737s. The wide-body fleet consists of various models of Boeing 777s and 787 Dreamliners. This aircraft service both international and high-capacity domestic routes. 

American Airlines is the largest operator of the A319 and A321 variants of the A320 family, making it the largest operator of the A320 family worldwide. It’s also the fourth-largest operator of the Boeing 737 line and the second-largest operator of the 737-800.

The airline plans to add 700 narrow-body and wide-body aircraft by 2032. The fleet’s average age is 12.6 years old, with the oldest model being the A320 at 22 years and the youngest being the B787 Dreamliner at 5.3 years. 

Breakdown of Current Aircraft by Model

Model In ServiceParkedTotalOrderedAverage Age (Years)
Airbus A319-100129413319.0
Airbus A320-20047148 22.0
Airbus A321-2002108218 10.7
Airbus A321neo68270 1.9
Boeing B737-80028419303 13.4
Boeing B737 MAX 842 4254.1
Boeing B777-20046147 22.3
Boeing B777-300ER16420 9.1
Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner3223435.2
Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner22 22 5.5

No. 2 – Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines website

The second largest airline in the world by fleet size is Delta Airlines. It might be in place, but it’s not far off.

Delta Airlines was founded in 1925, 98 years ago, as the world’s first aerial crop dusting service and was named Huff Daland Dusters, Inc. The operation was renamed three years later when the company planned to rebrand itself as a passenger airline. Passenger operations officially began in 1929. 

Delta Airlines also mainly grew into the behemoth it is today by acquiring other airlines. The most significant acquisitions include Northeast Airlines in 1972, which allowed it to service Trans-Atlantic routes. In 1987, Delta bought out the struggling Western Airlines and, in doing so, acquired the infrastructure to begin trans-Pacific service. 

In 1991, it bought out almost all of Pan Am’s trans-Atlantic routes, making it the largest flight acquisition in airline history. The airline also purchased the Pan Am Shuttle program, which was later rebranded as Delta Shuttle.

Delta Airlines is the parent company of the following subsidiaries: Comair, Delta Connection, and Endeavor Air. The aircraft these subsidiaries own is not included in the count for the Delta Airlines fleet. 

As of March 2023,  Delta Airlines and its subsidiaries fly to over 325 destinations across 52 countries and six continents. The airline also operates over 5,400 flights daily, ferrying nearly 200 million passengers in 2022.

Like its national competitors, Delta Airlines has organized its routes based on the hub-and-spoke model. It has nine main operating bases. The main hub is the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Fleet Details

As of March 2023, the mainline Delta Airlines fleet has 936 aircraft, with another 11 on order. The fleet combines regional, narrow-body, and wide-body aircraft from Airbus and Boeing. Currently, the fleet has 481 Airbus aircraft (52 percent) and 440 (48 percent) Boeing aircraft. 

Historically, Delta Airlines is known for purchasing used aircraft and using them for quite a while, making the fleet the oldest fleet of any of its American competitors. The average age is a relatively high 14.8 years. The A320-200 is the oldest model, with an average age of 27.5. 

Delta Airlines is planning a fleet overhaul soon and racked up orders for 290 aircraft. The airline’s latest large-scale order was in June of 2022 when it purchased 100 Boeing 737 MAX 10s and the option for 50 more. Boeing will start delivering these aircraft beginning in 2025. In addition, in January 2023, the airline ordered another 12 Airbus A220s.

Breakdown of Current Aircraft by Model

Model In ServiceParkedTotalOrderedAverage Age
Airbus A220-10045453.3
Airbus A220-30015151.6
Airbus A319-1005435721.2
Airbus A320-2005746127.6
Airbus A321-20012521274.3
Airbus A321neo2322530.5
Airbus A330-200921118.0
Airbus A330-3002923114.2
Airbus A330-9002012161.9
Airbus A350-9002352824.4
Boeing B717-2006356821.6
Boeing B737-8007527721.6
Boeing B737-900ER138251637.3
Boeing B757-200961511126.4
Boeing B757-3001511620.2
Boeing B767-3004414527.1
Boeing B767-400212122.3

No. 3 – United Airlines

United Airlines website

Coming in at number three is United Airlines. However, by 2030 it might unseat American and Delta airlines to take the number one spot. 

United Airlines can be traced back to Varney Air Lines, founded in 1926 in Boise, Idaho. However, United Air Lines emerged in 1931 when the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation’s subsidiaries included Boeing Air Transport, Pacific Air Transport, National Air Transport, and Varney Air Lines merged.

United Airlines is one of the oldest airlines in the world and is also a founding member of the Star Alliance, now the largest of the three global airline alliances by passenger count.

For the most part, United’s growth has been organic, without multiple mergers, to capture market share and increase the fleet size. In 2008, United was in advanced merger talks with both Continental and U.S. Airways, but Continental chose not to merge. However, it joined United Airlines’ Star Alliance, eventually leading to the two airlines merging two years later. 

United Airlines flies to over 342 domestic and international destinations across 74 counties and five continents. Since most of the airline’s traffic is domestic, United still uses the hub-and-spoke model. The airline has eight domestic and two international hubs, with the Chicago O’Hare International Airport as its main hub.

Fleet Details

As of March 2023, United Airlines has 882 aircraft in service. 815 are active, while the remaining 67 are parked but will resume service. The fleet combines narrow-body and wide-body aircraft from both Boeing and Airbus.

The fleet’s average age is 16.8 years, with the oldest model being the Boeing 767-300s at 27.1 years. Eight models have an average age of over twenty years, and these models will be retired soon to make way for newer aircraft the airline has ordered. 

United Airlines has big plans for fleet expansion and have made orders that will introduce 692 new aircraft before 2040. In addition, the airline set a record for a U.S. carrier’s largest purchase of wide-body aircraft when it purchased 100 Boeing 787 Dreamliners with the option to buy another 100. 

Breakdown of Current Aircraft by Model

Model In ServiceParkedTotalOrderedAverage Age (Years)
Airbus A319-1007478121.4
Airbus A320-2009279924.8
Boeing B737-7003734024.1
Boeing B737-800132914119.1
Boeing B737-90012 1221.6
Boeing B737-900ER1251113610.3
Boeing B737 MAX 1017
Boeing B737 MAX 84141291.7
Boeing B737 MAX 9555572.4
Boeing B757-2003374026.2
Boeing B757-300212120.6
Boeing B767-3003253727.1
Boeing B767-4001151621.6
Boeing B777-2006867423.9
Boeing B777-300ER22225.3
Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner111129.8
Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner371385.6
Boeing B787-10 Dreamliner201212.8

No. 4 – Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines website

Southwest Airlines is the first low-cost carrier on this list and one of the most successful airlines. Leading up to the pandemic, Southwest reported profits for 46 years consecutively and has been a leading force in bringing air travel to the lower end of the aviation market. The airline’s business model has become the default strategy for every low-cost carrier worldwide. 

The airline was so successful that the U.S. Department of Transportation created the term ‘ the Southwest Effect’ to describe the marked increase in air travel when Southwest Airlines entered a new market.

The effect shows that when a low-cost carrier enters a new market offering lower prices, incumbent airlines are forced to match those prices, which causes an increase in air travel due to ample supply. 

Southwest flies to a total of 121 destinations across 11 countries. Southwest is the first airline on this list that doesn’t use the hub-and-spoke model and instead uses a point-to-point system. The airline makes over 4,000 departures a day.

Fleet Details

Southwest airlines built its fleet around a unique philosophy. The airline operates only Boeing B737 models making it the largest B737 operator in the world. It also made the largest purchase of Boeing B737 MAX 7s when it converted 70 aircraft of the 280 MAX 8 order, which brings the total to 100 aircraft. 

The oldest model in the fleet is the B737-700 which has an average age of 18 years. Southwest will begin retiring its B737-700 aircraft in tandem with its B737 MAX deliveries, resulting in the total fleet remaining roughly the same size.

The airline uses only one model because the high commonality allows virtually any crew to operate any aircraft without restrictions. Another advantage is the reduced training costs because the systems and flight characteristics between generations are similar, which makes simulator training unnecessary.

Southwest Airlines has 785 aircraft in service, of which 759 are active while 26 are parked.

Breakdown of Current Aircraft by Model

Model In ServiceParkedTotalOrderedAverage Age (Years)
Boeing B737-7003962341918.0
Boeing B737-80020162077.6 
Boeing B737 MAX 735
Boeing B737 MAX 8163163462.2

No. 5 – China Southern Airlines

China Southern Airlines website

China Southern Airlines is the first international airline on the list. It is the largest airline in China by fleet size, passengers transported, and revenue. 

The airline was founded in July 1988 in Baiyun District, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, after the government restructured the Civil Aviation Administration of China, which also controlled the country’s airlines. The CAAC split into three leading airlines, one of which is China Southern.

China Southern used most of the 1990s and 2000s the airline focused on expanding its domestic operations to turn a profit, and largely succeeded. After that, however, the carrier realized that the high-speed rail would reduce traffic and concentrate on the international market. 

Much of the 2010s was spent focusing on global growth. The airline changed its route strategy from a point-to-point model to a more traditional hub-and-spoke model. The airline also focused on expanding to Asia, Europe, and Oceania. Service to North America was affected by the positioning of its hub in Guangzhou. 

The airline flies to 216 destinations, 151 domestic and 65 international, across four continents. China Southern’s only base is at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport.

Fleet Details

Based on data retrieved in March 2023, China Southern has 651 aircraft in service, 615 are active, and 36 are parked. The fleet includes narrow and wide-body aircraft from Boeing and Airbus. In addition, it is the first and only airline on the list with Chinese-built COMAC ARJ21 Xiangfeng aircraft. The airline currently has 15 units with plans to include more going forward. 

The fleet’s average age is 9.0 years, which is young compared to many other airlines. The airline’s oldest model is the Airbus A319-100 at 16.2 years. The average age should reduce further once manufacturers fulfill the orders the airline has made. Because the fleet is young, the airline has yet to make plans to retire many aircraft or make massive purchases like the others on the list. However, organic growth will result in more orders in the future. 

Breakdown of Aircraft by Model

Model In ServiceParkedTotalOrderedAverage Age (Years)
Airbus A319-1009 916.2 
Airbus A319neo4 41.0
Airbus A320-200103310611.8 
Aibus A320neo39 394.0 
Airbus A321-2009549912.0 
Airbus A321neo5325513.3
Airbus A330-2001041413.6
Airbus A330-300251267.0
Airbus A350-90016 1642.4
Boeing B737-7002332615.4
Boeing B737-800157416110.0
Boeing B737 MAX 8111324264.7
Boeing B777-300ER1411516.5
Boeing B777F15 159.1 
Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner10 109.6 
Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner17 1734.1 
COMAC ARJ21141151.2 

No. 6 – China Eastern Airlines

China Eastern Airlines website

The world’s sixth-largest airline is China’s second-largest airline. It also comes second to China Southern Airlines regarding passenger traffic and fleet size. 

China Eastern Airlines was the first airline established after the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) was split into three. China Eastern was officially established on the 25th of June 1988, making it the oldest of the three airlines by a week.

The airline’s central hub and headquarters are at the Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport in its Changning District, Shanghai home district.

Most of the early 1990s were spent steadily improving the airline’s profitability. In 1997, China Eastern acquired the unprofitable China General Aviation. This marked the airline’s growth through acquisitions from the late 1990s to the early 2000s.

In 1998, the airline started a joint cargo venture called China Cargo Airlines in collaboration with China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO). China Eastern absorbed China General Aviation, followed by Great Wall Airlines, China Yunnan Airlines, and China Northwest Airlines from 2001 to 2003.

As of 2023, China Eastern departs from 191 destinations, 157 domestic and 34 international, across 29 countries and four continents. It’s the most recent member of the Sky Team alliance. 

Fleet Details

As of March 2023, China Eastern’s fleet comprises 614 aircraft, 596 are in service, and 18 are parked. However, the total number is expected to rise to 630 soon after the manufacturers deliver the most recent batch of aircraft. 

China Eastern’s fleet comprises both Airbus and Boeing wide-body and narrow-body aircraft. It’s the first airline on the list to operate the COMAC 919 aircraft. The COMAC 919 is the Chinese-built competitor to the A320 and B737. The airline has purchased five aircraft, one already in service. 

In May 2022, China Eastern issued stock to fund purchasing new aircraft. The airline has budgeted up to $4.38 billion for a fleet revamp, including purchasing 100 aircraft from the A320neo family. The airline’s fleet is relatively new, with an average age of 8.5 years. 

Breakdown of Aircraft by Model

Model In ServiceParkedTotalOrderedAverage Age (Years)
Airbus A319-1003413510.0 
Airbus A320-200165316811.5 
Aibus A320neo9219342.6 
Airbus A321-200743779.7 
Airbus A330-200291309.9 
Airbus A330-300241258.5
Airbus A350-9001511642.8 
Boeing B737-700373711.5
Boeing B737-80010241067.7
Boeing B737 MAX 83365.3
Boeing B777-300ER20207.2
Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner3324.2
COMAC C919110.9

No. 7 – Air China

Air China website

The final piece of China’s big three, Air China, was also established in July 1988.  At its inception, Air China was responsible for the country’s international travel. It was given the CAAC’s long-haul aircraft and intercontinental routes. In the early 2000s, China began consolidating its airlines, and Air China absorbed China Southern Airlines, China National Aviation Holdings, and China Southwest Airlines. 

Air China is based in Beijing’s Shunyi District and uses the Beijing Capital International Airport as its primary hub. The airline serves 173 destinations, 131 domestic and 42 international, across 36 countries. Air China is a member of the Star Alliance codesharing agreement.

Fleet Details

In July of 2022, Air China said in its stock filings that it plans to buy 96 A320neo family aircraft at a list price of $12.2 billion. The airline expects to receive these aircraft within the next four years. 

In August 2022, Air China announced its intention to purchase 22 Airbus and COMAC aircraft. Four A320neo, nine A350s, and nine COMAC ARJ21s. The exact models have not been specified, but based on the plane the airline already operates, we can assume that the following models will be added: A320neo-200, A350-900, and ARJ21-700. 

Air China closed a reported $4.6 billion deal to purchase the Boeing 787 Dreamliners for its medium-haul fleet renewal in the same time frame. However, the specific model is unclear at this time.

Breakdown of Aircraft by Model

Model In ServiceParkedTotalOrderedAverage Age (Years)
Airbus A319-1003213316.8
Airbus A320-20041 419.7
Aibus A320neo481492.9
Airbus A321-2006016711.1
Airbus A321neo30302.0
Airbus A330-2002052513.5
Airbus A330-300271289.1
Airbus A350-9002212372.8
Boeing B737-7001711816.4
Boeing B737-8008579210.2
Boeing B737 MAX 841216234.9
Boeing B747-40012326.8
Boeing B787-84378.3
Boeing B777-300ER244289.0
Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner113146.2
COMAC ARJ21141151.4

No.7 – Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines website

Turkish Airlines is Turkey’s national carrier and one of the world’s oldest airlines. In May of 2023, the airline will celebrate its 90th anniversary. It was founded by the Ministry of National Defense and had a fleet of five aircraft. In the pre-WWII era, the state steadily added aircraft to increase the seating capacity of the fleet from 28 seats in 1933 to 185 seats in 1944.

It wasn’t until after WWII that the airline took shape. The airline took delivery of 30 Douglas DC-3s and 3 Douglas C-47s, which increased the seating capacity to 845. The improved capability of the aircraft also allowed the airline to increase its destinations served to 19 cities. 

Most airlines on this list have a large domestic operation, which is why they have such an extensive fleet. Turkish Airlines is the exception to that rule. 129 countries, 337 cities, and 342 destinations, more than any other carrier worldwide.

Turkish Airlines has joined the Star Alliance member to ferry passengers to destinations it does not serve. The airline is based at Istanbul Airport, the country’s main international airport. 

Fleet Details

To operate the way it does, Turkish Airlines uses a point-to-point system rather than a hub-and-spoke system. It is the first airline on the list to do so. 

Using a point-to-point system changes the overall make-up of the fleet, causing it to lean more towards aircraft with a longer range and capacity than other airlines. The fleet has a mix of narrow and wide-body aircraft but a more even split between the two compared to other airlines higher up on the list.

Turkish Airlines uses a mixture of Airbus and Boeing aircraft, ranging from smaller A320s and B737s to A350s and B777s. Its most popular narrow-body aircraft is the A321 which it uses to serve its thinner medium-hall routes. Conversely, the airline’s most popular wide-body aircraft, the A330, handles its high-capacity medium to thin long-haul routes.

The airline’s fleet is also relatively young, with an average age of 8.1 years, which indicates that it won’t be revamping its fleet as drastically as some other airlines on the list. Instead, it’ll continue to add aircraft steadily. 

Breakdown of Aircraft by Model

Model In ServiceParkedTotalOrderedAverage Age (Years)
Airbus A319-1006611.9
Airbus A320-2001011115.1
Airbus A321-2006156610.6
Airbus A321neo3363912.5
Airbus A330-2002032312.7
Airbus A330-300343379.2
Airbus A350-900121281.6
Boeing B737-800382408.3
Boeing B737-900ER151510.0
Boeing B737 MAX 820204.0
Boeing B737 MAX 9553.9
Boeing B777-300ER322349.5
Boeing B777F884.2
Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner161633.1

No.8 – Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines website

The beginnings of Alaska Airlines can be traced to McGee Airways in 1932. McGee Airways was bought, sold, merged with smaller airlines, and renamed multiple times until it adopted the name Alaska Airlines in May 1944.

Like most other airlines, Alaska Airlines began expanding after WWII, thanks to the availability of military surplus Douglas DC-3s, DC-4s, and Curtis-Wright C-46 Commandos.

The airline was successful during the 1940s because of its international charter flights. However, in 1949 the airline was shut down by authorities for multiple safety violations. Additionally, it was prevented from continuing its international charter flights. 

Alaska Airlines has been a trailblazer in providing in-flight services to customers. It is the first airline in the world to provide in-flight entertainment and remove plastics from its catering. The airline has also partnered with Twelve, a sustainable fuel company, to reduce emissions by 90 percent without mechanical changes to the fleet. 

Since the 1950s, the airline has stayed in business by overcoming various trials and tribulations. As a result, its growth has been primarily organic, with its only major merger being the purchase of Virgin American. It flies to 115 destinations across five countries. 

Fleet Details

Alaska Airlines’ business model is centered around domestic flights. As a result, their fleet is exclusively made of narrow-body aircraft, most designed for short-haul flights, while other medium-range models like the B737-900ER are used for international flights.

The airline’s fleet is relatively young, with an average age of 8.7 years. However, its oldest model is the B737-700 at 22.8 years, so these aircraft will soon be replaced. In addition, the airline recently made an order for over 50 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. 

Breakdown of Aircraft by Model

Model In ServiceParkedTotalOrderedAverage Age (Years)
Airbus A321neo9110 5.0 Years
BoeingB 737-70014 14 22.8 Years
Boeing B737-80056561 15.0 Years
Boeing B737-90012 12 21.0 Years
Boeing B737-900ER78179 7.2 Years
Boeing B737 MAX 942 4261.7 Years
Embraer ERJ-17573275 4.8 Years
Total284929368.7 Years

No.9 – JetBlue

JetBlue website

JetBlue takes the number nine spot, and not by much. The airline is officially 24 years old but only began operations in 2000. JetBlue is one of the many budget airlines which used Southwest Airlines’ plan of operations to great success. 

JetBlue has been a single entity for the last 24 years. However, the status quo might soon change. The airline is attempting a hostile takeover of Spirit Airlines, should the merger occurs, the airline will become the fifth largest airline in the United States, overtaking Alaska Airlines.

The merger has been challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation, stating that the merger is not in the interest of the public.

Fleet Details

Like other budget airlines, Fleet Details JetBlue’s fleet comprises narrow-body aircraft from the A320 family, the only exception being the Brazilian-built Embraer ERJ-190 regional aircraft. The average age of the JetBlue fleet is 12.5 years old, with the A320-200 being the oldest model at 17.6.

Breakdown of Aircraft by Model

Model In ServiceParkedTotalOrderedAverage Age (Years)
Airbus A220-300151511.2
Airbus A320-2001201013017.6
Airbus A321-200621636.8
Airbus A321neo242422.4
Embraer ERJ-19046248 14.9

No.10 – RyanAir

RyanAir website

Lastly, Ireland’s RyanAir – another budget airline – is at number ten. The airline  refers to itself as an “ultra-low-cost carrier.” This list rates Ryanair independent of its sister airlines in the Ryanair Holding group. 

The entire Ryanair group is infamous for its bad fiscal practices, poor working conditions for employees, steep extra charges, and terrible customer service. However, the company welcomes the bad press and uses it for publicity. 

Regardless of all these issues, it’s the biggest domestic airline in Europe. In 2016, the airline carried more passengers than any other airline, beating Emirates and Lufthansa. Ryanair services 229 destinations across 37 countries and continues to be one of the largest international airlines worldwide. 

Fleet Details

Ryanair’s business model is a perfect copy of Southwest Airlines’ model, save for the terrible customer service. The airline exclusively operates Boeing B737 aircraft. The oldest model in its fleet is the B737-700 averaging 24.2 years old. Ryanair aims to replace the older models with B737 MAX aircraft. 

Breakdown of Aircraft by Model

Model In ServiceParkedTotalOrderedAverage Age (Years)
Boeing B737-700123124.2
Boeing B737-800219622513.6
Boeing B737 MAX 8505071.6

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Why are Most of the Largest Airlines in the United States?

Answer: The United States has the most air traffic in the world. The country is large and lacks high-speed travel, such as a bullet train system. The country is also densely populated, with a total of 333,287,557 citizens. Most live in coastal cities, so people traveling cross-country turn to domestic air travel. 

Question: What are the Most Popular Models Amongst the Airlines?

Answer: The most sold models in the world are narrow-body aircraft. The Airbus A320 and Boeing B737 families are the best-selling commercial jetliners in the world. The A320neo is the most popular Airbus model, but the A321neo isn’t far behind. B737 MAX 8 is the most popular MAX model by far.

Question: Why are Narrow-Body Aircraft More Popular than Wide-Body Aircraft?

Answer: Manufacturers design narrow-body aircraft for high-density short-haul and medium-haul flights. Narrow-body aircraft sell more than wide-body aircraft because most of the world’s flight routes are short-haul. Some airlines exclusively focus on long-haul routes. Emirates, Singapore Airlines, and Cathay Pacific are examples of airlines operating an all-wide-body fleet.

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