Continental/United: first, second or third biggest airline in the world

So where will a merged Continental and United Airlines sit in the world order of airlines?


Continental united.jpgWell in passenger traffic terms, if you base it on RPKs for 2009 for the respective carriers pre-merger, Continental/United comes out top of the lot, marginally ahead of Delta following its merger with Northwest. But in passenger terms it would come in second behind them – carrying more than a hundred million passengers annually, but around 15 million less than Delta. And in revenue terms they sit in third place behind Europe’s Lufthansa and Air France-KLM. But the merged carrier would still dwarf what a merged British Airways and Iberia would look like.  (Figures from Flightglobal Insight; all data based on 2009 calendar year – 2009/10 financial year results not released yet for Air France/KLM and BA/Iberia)


         2009                RPKs (m)       Passengers       Revenues

Continental/United     312,258          101.7m            $28.9bn

Delta                        304,025          116.0m            $28.1bn

Air France/KLM         202,045          71.5m              $30.5bn 

American Airlines      196,904          85.7m              $20.0bn

Lufthansa*                164.475          88.5m              $31.0bn 

BA/Iberia                  161,927          52.8m              $19.1bn

*Lufthansa traffic figures include FY 2009 data for Austrian Airlines, bmi, Brussels Airlines and Swiss International Air Lines  



2 Responses to Continental/United: first, second or third biggest airline in the world

  1. Carl Muller 6 May, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    What exchange rate are you using for euro/$ conversion? The benchmark average I use does not push Air France or Lufthansa above %30B

  2. Graham 7 May, 2010 at 4:03 pm #

    Good question Carl, for Lufthansa the exchange rate used was 0.718505 based on €22.28bnAir France-KLM is a bit more complicated, since the figure is derived from adding their four quarterly results in 2009 together and uses a different exchange rate for each quarter as follows

    Jan to Mar 09; 0.65456 based on €5.01bn
    Apr to Jun 09: 0.72475 based on €5.17bn
    Jul to Sep 09: 0.6981 based on €5.61bn
    Oct to Dec 09: 0.67785 based on €5.20bn

    Does that help?

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