Wednesday, May 1, 2013

REVEALED: 50 Biggest Low-Cost Carriers In The World

Southwest Airlines is the world's biggest low cost carrier
Southwest Airlines is the world's biggest low cost carrier

Not too long ago, I published a list of the world’s 50 biggest airlines by passenger capacity, with data provided by Innovata (a provider of travel data management and distribution solutions).

The rankings used Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) Per Week as a measurement, with United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines all featured in the top 5. In fact, Emirates Airline was the only non-US entrant! Click here to view the entire list.

As a follow-up, I have partnered with Innovata once again, but this time around we will look at the world’s 50 biggest low-cost carriers.

Southwest Airlines, which featured at number 5 in the world’s biggest airlines list, does even better in these rankings… taking the top spot! Others in the top 10 include Ryanair, easyJet, JetBlue Airways, Lion Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Jetstar Airways.

Check below for the rankings, which are based on Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) Per Week using data from May 2013 (and I’ve also included year-on-year percentage change).

What are your thoughts? Are the airline 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 Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you.


  1. Surprised that Ryanair's data is so different in both lists

    1. I was surprised about that too, although I did check with Innovata and they've assured me the data is correct. I'm not sure what factors could have resulted in this difference, apart from perhaps seasonal variance?

  2. LCC is a very loosely defined term. In place of ranking them simply according to ASK/Week, it would have been more meaningful if the author would have compared their $ (earned) /RPK/Week. That would have taken many of the so called LCC off the list of 50 airlines.

  3. Great to see Air Arabia and Flydubai in the list.

  4. Juditha-Jade ParkinsonMay 3, 2013 at 7:05 AM

    Haven't flown with any of the 50 carriers mentioned your blog.
    However, some friends regularly take Ryanair to fly from Belgium to another European City but me, personally, haven't tried it. Maybe, in the future.

  5. The launch of Virgin "Little Red" this year makechanges to the Ny rank Im sure

  6. It would be fantastic if the Middle East LCCs increased their size and operations. Airlines like Turkish are a breath of fresh air to smaller countries in Europe. They are creating a hub at Istanbul with great routes and lower fares.

    The big carriers in the Middle East have brought wonderful quality to global services but they are expensive. A combination of genuine LCCs and quality airlines would be a great service to travellers and commerce alike.

  7. Marcelo CaraccioloMay 8, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Honestly Ryanair should be out of contest. Really poor service.

  8. Good day to all airlines
    I am glad to see air Arabia & fly dubai in the list.
    Just looking forward to see the other LCC in the same area.
    I am very proud of air Arabia to be in this list this is due to the top management are open minded and treat the staff the same.
    I congratulate all Airlines in the list and hope to see 0 ASK for all.
    Adel Faqihi

  9. Need of the hour throughout this world travelers is low cost carrier. Sooner the better.

  10. It does make very interesting reading.

  11. Sunil Zephaniah KanaparthiJuly 16, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Thanks for the information Robeel. It is good to note that Spice Jet is one among the top 50 in the world. Most of the LCCs provide very good customer service in terms of OTP and in flight courtesies. Wish that many such airlines would take wings in days to come.

  12. I'm amazed to find Norwegian Air Shuttle so high in the list.
    Also: I think Wizz Air and Vueling have evolved strongly. Quite a good performance.


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