1. United AirlinesThe US-based airline has seen a decline in capacity for the last two years but still has a capacity of 7.1 billion available seat kilometres (ASKs) – down 8.4 per cent from August 2011 and 16.3 per cent from August 2010. In a new attempt to increase capacity, the airline announced earlier this week that that it plans to fit 152 of its planes with light weight seats that have slimmer backrests.
2. Delta Air LinesWith a capacity of over 6.8 billion ASKs as of August 2012, Delta, like United, has seen a drop in capacity of 5.5 per cent from August 2011 and 16.6 per cent compared to August 2010. Last week, Delta executives announced that the airline would further cut capacity in the third and fourth quarters by one to three per cent to control costs.
3. American AirlinesThe third US airline in the top three, American has also been cutting capacity, reducing 3.5 per cent from August 2011 and 8.4 per cent from August 2010 to over 4.9 billion ASKs in August 2012. American has now entered merger talks with US Airways, and if a concrete deal emerges, the combined entity could easily vie for the top ranking on the list.
4. EmiratesDubai-based Emirates is the first carrier on the list that has seen a massive rise in capacity, growing to 4.7 billion ASKs, up 19 per cent from August 2011 and almost 30 per cent from two years ago. The Centre for Aviation (CAPA) predicts that at this growth rate, Emirates may soon become the third largest airline by capacity.
5. LufthansaWith a minor capacity hike of 0.7 per cent from last year, the carrier ranks fifth on the list with a capacity of around 3.5 billion ASKs. Lufthansa, Germany’s largest airline, is currently undergoing a $1.9 billion savings programme to cut rising costs.
6. Southwest AirlinesUS-based Southwest Airlines follows behind Lufthansa with a capacity of around 3.2 billions ASKs. The discount airline has increased capacity by 1.8 per cent from August 2011, but reduced it by 4.8 per cent from 2010. In a bid to hike revenues, Southwest has now started adding more seats to its planes to increase the number of passengers, according to US media reports.
7. British AirwaysThe UK-based carrier has steadily increased capacity to around 3.11 billion ASKs, up 3.1 per cent from 2011 and 4.6 per cent from 2010. The capacity hike has also pushed the carrier up one rank on the list from last year. The airline lost its 17-year alliance with Australian carrier Qantas earlier this month, but has said that it will look for new partners in Asia.
8. Air FranceFollowing very closely behind British Airways, Air France dropped one rank from last year after it reduced capacity by 1.4 per cent from last year. Its capacity was 3.1 billion ASKS in August 2012. The struggling carrier is desperately trying to reduce costs after reporting a net loss of 809 million Euros in 2011 and 368 million Euros in H1 2012.
9. RyanairThe Irish low-cost carrier has beefed up capacity more than 20 per cent in the last two years and has capacity of 2.77 billion ASKs. On an expansion spree, Ryanair is currently bidding to acquire rival carrier Aer Lingus, and is also planning to bid for a 25 per cent stake in UK’s Stansted airport.
10.China SouthernThe Chinese carrier had moved up one spot on the rankings since last year, after its increased capacity by 11.5 per cent. China Southern boasts capacity of 2.7 billion ASKs as of August 2010, up 17.6 per cent from 2010. The airline recently announced that it did not retire any aircraft in the first six months of the year, and that it expects to have 51 additional aircraft by the end of 2012, as compared to last year.
Biggest’ is defined by capacity; global carriers are ranked by by available seat kilometres (ASKs).
Source: Innovata’s August 2012 data, CAPA
Gravity always wins!
Your list is great but you missed Turkish Airlines. Somewhere i've found that they win the biggest European award for the best airlines 2 times for 2011 & 2012. What do yo think>
Have a nice flight :0
We did not miss Turkish Airlines as we are talking about "Biggest Airlines" in the world and not about the most awards. There is no doubt that TA is a growing airline and maybe it will make the list next year as far as being "Biggest Airline. We are looking for a survey that shows "10 Best Airlines in the World" and hopefully Turkish Airlines will be there.
How about Japan Airlines?
Little did I know when I posted the top ten airlines that there are hundreds of different lists around. It all boils down to how they measure the size of the airline.
In the posted survey Biggest’ is defined by capacity; global carriers are ranked by by available
seat kilometres (ASKs).
In another one with a totally different list it was based on Product and Service Quality and on and on it goes.
It is impossible to post all surveys so I suggest you all read this Flight Global story.
World Airline Rankings: Regional picture
Then start posting your own surveys and we will have a lively discussion about the merit of the findings. Remember that the first survey was based on available seat kilometres (ASKs).
How about China Eastern Airlines? BTW, how to measure the size of an airline? Thanks!
By scheduled passengers carried,China Eastern Airlines is 8th biggest airlines in the world.please refer this link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World's_largest_airlines