These Are The Biggest Asian Airlines

Asia is the world’s largest continent, stretching from the borders of Europe, all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Due to their positioning, Asian airlines serve some of the world’s most important and increasingly popular routes. 

China Southern Airlines
Which are the largest airlines in Asia? Photo: Pixabay

There are 48 countries in Asia, with most operating their own domestic or international airlines. Here is a look at the ten biggest Asian airlines, determined by the number of passengers served.

10. Japan Airlines

The flag carrier of Japan boasted 43.6 million passengers on its flights during 2018. This is up from 4.2 million in the previous year, an indication of growth for the country’s ever popular tourism. Japan Airlines serves 92 destinations from its main hubs in Tokyo.

9. All Nippon Airways (ANA)

Japan’s other powerhouse serves fewer destinations than Japan Airlines, but it serves more customers per year. 49.8 million travelers flew on All Nippon Airways flights last year. The firm also nearly hit the same number in 2017 with 49.2 million.

8. Lion Air Group

The low-cost carrier is Indonesia’s largest privately run airline. Lion Air Group also holds the largest market share in its country with 41.6%. The company serves over 50 million customers per year through its various brands.

Lion Air Boeing 737
Lion Air serves more than 50m passengers per year. Photo: PK-REN via Wikimedia Commons

7. Emirates

The Dubai based outfit provided flights to 58.6 million passengers in 2018. This amount is more than any other Middle Eastern carrier. Emirates also serves 161 destinations with its 268 airliners.

6. IndiGo

India’s low-cost airline is the country’s only representative in this list. IndiGo holds a strong 47.0% domestic market share as of August 2019. 61.9 million flyers boarded the carrier’s planes during the whole of last year.

5. Air Asia Group

The Malaysian operator had already served 41.24 million passengers by June this year. If numbers continue like that, Air Asia will beat its record of 73.0 million customers in 2018. The company was only founded 25 years ago but it has gone on to contend as one of Asia’s largest airlines.

Air Asia has already had a groundbreaking year and is on course to pip last year’s passenger record. Photo: AirAsia.

4. Hainan Airlines

Based in Haikou, the carrier is the first Chinese representative on this list. 79.9 million people used Hainan Airlines last year, mainly to get to regional airports around China. The carrier boasts a fleet of 238 airliners, including 157 Boeing 737s.

3. Air China

The flag carrier of China is the first on this list to serve over 100 million passengers in a year. 109.7 million flyers used Air China’s services to get around the world last year. The state owned company is based in Beijing and mainly operates daily flights around the continent, North America and Western Europe.

2. China Eastern Airlines

Another Chinese carrier is next on the list with 121.1 million customers flying in 2018. China Eastern Airlines operates over 240 international, domestic and regional routes from its Shanghai headquarters.

1. China Southern Airlines

It is a Chinese clean sweep for the top four as China Southern Airlines rounds up the list. The Guangzhou based carrier had already served over 100 million people by August. With these numbers, the carrier is likely to at least match last year’s result of 139.8 million passengers served.

China Southern Airlines
China Southern is Asia’s largest carrier. Photo: Airbus

Regional dominance

With Chinese airlines dominating the top of the list for most passengers served, it is important to mention local factors. China’s operations are mostly backed by the state and the country has the largest population in the world. The combination of these aspects naturally means that Chinese carriers would dominate when it comes to the number of passengers flown.

There are many factors that can impact the size of an airline, including fleet size, destinations served and revenue. However, when it comes to the number of customers, China is in control. Are there any surprises for you in this list?