The Top 5 Airlines by Passenger Numbers 2018

Airlines in the aviation industry continue to actively compete to win new customers, to keep passengers loyal and improve the provided customer service to demonstrate quality in their offering. Competition remains high, with new airline players entering markets and existing ones continuously searching for new opportunities and potential partnerships that will secure their positions as leaders in their markets.

Overall, on an international basis, passenger traffic has increased by 6% during May 2018, compared to the same time period in 2017. The largest growth in international passenger traffic during the fifth month of the year was recorded in the Asia Pacific region, with 8% growth in results. Latin America came in second with a 7.5% growth of international passenger traffic, and Europe held third place, with 6.2% growth. Fourth place was followed by North America, with 4.9% growth. Africa and the Middle East also increased their international passenger numbers, by 3.8% and 0.8% respectively.

On a domestic basis, the top growing region was India, with the significant growth of 16.6%. China took second place, with 11.9% growth in domestic passenger traffic. Russia came in third, with 8.6% growth, followed by the US, who saw a jump of 5.5%. Brazil increased its domestic passenger numbers by 4.1%, while Japan and Australia saw 1.8 and 1.7% rises respectively.

The Top 5 Airlines by Passenger Numbers

Research from the end of 2017 shows the top five airlines by passenger numbers and the forecasts for the carriers’ development for 2018 are positive. Although the success of an airline may depend on a number of metrics and be segmented into financial and operational achievement, looking at passenger traffic alone, the five largest airlines in the world sorted by relevance from highest number of passengers to lowest are:

  1. Southwest Airlines

The world’s largest low-cost carrier holds the first position in the list of top 5 airlines by passenger traffic and has carried a total of 157.7 million travellers during 2017.

  1. Delta Airlines
Delta Airlines used to be number 1
Delta Airlines used to be number 1

The US carrier with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, flew a total of 145 million passengers during 2017. For a number of years, Delta Airlines held the top position as the largest airline in the world.

  1. Ryanair

The low-cost carrier carried 130 million passengers during 2017 and entered 2018 with a positive note despite a challenging period due to flight cancellations.

  1. American Airlines

The third top position in the list is held by American Airlines, the major USA carrier based in Texas, with a total of 144 million passengers carried during 2017. The carrier is the world’s largest airline in terms of fleet size, revenue and destinations offered to passengers. The carrier carried the largest number of international passengers during 2017.

  1. United Airlines
United Airlines just announced the purchase of 25 new Embraer E-175 and 4 new Boeing 787-9 aircraft
United Airlines just announced the purchase of 25 new Embraer E-175 and 4 new Boeing 787-9 aircraft

United Airlines finished 2017 with a total of 107.2 million travellers and is the third largest airlines in the world according to revenue statistics. The carrier operates a large domestic and international network and provides a top quality service with modern and recently produced aircraft.

It will be interesting to see how those carriers maintain or lose their positions as top in the world for passengers carried during 2018.

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