Sunday, March 24, 2013

REVEALED: The world's 50 biggest airlines by capacity

United Airlines is the world's largest airline by Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) / Week
United Airlines is the world's largest airline by capacity
What is the best measurement to use for ranking the world’s biggest airlines? It’s a tough question (and one that often divides the aviation industry), but I’ve always thought that capacity is a useful starting point.

In fact, I’ve decided to use Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) Per Week as the basis for a forthcoming series of airline rankings on TheAviationWriter.com, with the data provided by Innovata, a global leader in travel data management and distribution solutions.

And what better way to kick-start the series than a list of the world’s top 50 global airlines? American airlines are leading the market in terms of global capacity, it seems, while Europe, Asia and the Middle East are also well represented.

Innovata has provided me with data from March 2013 for this particular ranking – you’ll find the top 50 below, with the ASK/week for each airline and the year-on-year percentage change.



What are your thoughts? Are the rankings as you would expect, or have some of the positions come as a surprise? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on FacebookTwitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you.


16 comments :

  1. One only hopes that this ASK is based on what is really available; and not on total number of seats of all A/C that any airlines has.
    ASK ought to be based on A/C really in operation & all flights operating as scheduled.
    Best Regards.
    Ijaz

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  2. Juditha-Jade PARKINSONMarch 25, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Not really surprising that the first 3 are airlines of the U.S.A. especially that the survey had been based on ASK/Week. I think it's a logical result. Big nation (a size of a continent), lots of travellers (flyers).

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  3. Interesting figures. How long before EK is the largest airline in the world (by ASKs)?! What will hold them back? Congestion/saturation at the Dubai hub if some of the airport demand is not shifted to Al Maktoum?

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  4. I'd like to see the same list with the % of how many seats are actually filled.

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    Replies
    1. Juditha-Jade PARKINSONMarch 25, 2013 at 4:37 PM

      Me, too. I remember in one of the posts of Aeroseek: Live Flight Tracker, the US airlines have to reduce the flight tickets on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for those travelling within the US and this is because they want to fill the seats on these days.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, and if you think Turkish Airlines or Air China which increased their routes a lot - but how well do they fill their seats? I flew in a half empty Air China plane from Munich to Beijing and back.

      Delete
    3. Juditha-Jade PARKINSONMarch 26, 2013 at 10:50 AM

      I hear you and actually, my friends here say the same about the other airlines in the list. :)

      Delete
  5. Which week in March was this for? Presuming week one. Percentage changes could be partially the result of holiday and school schedules, etc.. ASK is a good way to go, but of course, from my parochial perspective, ASM would be nicer!

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  6. Interesting discussion about what constitutes biggest or even why you would want a classification of that nature. The results simply say that a large number of airlines carry a lot of seats over a great distance.

    Here in Scotland I could count on a couple of fingers people who have flown United, China Southern or Air Canada. However I could count in hundreds the friends or colleagues who have flown easyJet and Ryanair who can be seen at almost every airport the length and breadth of Europe. They also fly with a high percentage of seats occupied and they are consistently profitable.

    I also see a big move away from British Airways when flying long haul. Emirates have done a marvellous job of rapidly becoming the world airline of choice. They can't sit on their laurels as airlines like Turkish also have great schedules and ambitious plans which are investment backed.

    Airlines should be in business to make money. To have any significance I believe the measures or records should be about percentage of seats filled and profitability. I would ask the question what is the biggest airline business and use these as my measures.

    Doug
    DKM Aviation (www.dkmaviation.co.uk)

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    Replies
    1. Your right.

      Just use Market Cap. Ryan Air has got it hands down

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  7. Good to notice that 8 out of Top 10 airlines are flying our E-Jets in their systems!

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  8. This research would have been better if the ratio : number of passengers versus number of seats in business and coach classes of service.
    Quality is better than quantity.

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  9. I would be more interested to know about an air carrier's operational efficiency at the EBITDA level since that is the true metric of determining the efficiency of an airline. ASKs are directly in proportion to the fleet size and the stage length of an airline which doesn't necessarily entail or presents any performance metric.

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  10. i think more important item here is the rate of increase. All we know that the world's center of gravity of flights is gliding towards east. As it is obvious on the rates. Regards.

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  11. It appears that AirAsia is missing from the list. Does it not make to be one of the top biggest 50 airlines?

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    Replies
    1. AirAsia is included in the list of 50 biggest low-cost carriers in the world, with 586,248,131 - here is the link: http://www.theaviationwriter.com/2013/05/top-50-low-cost-carriers-world.html

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