Which airline has the largest fleet?
The top 5 airlines in 2019
There are different ways of comparing the size of airlines: from objective figures such as profitability, number of destinations, complex indicators such as Available Seat Kilometers (ASK) or Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPK) to subjective or purchased measurements such as passenger experience or star ratings. However, one number clearly describes the size of an airline - the size of the aircraft fleet. At the end of the year, the question can therefore be answered clearly: Which were the largest airlines in 2019 by number of aircraft?
Rank 5: China Southern Airlines - 626 aircraft
China Southern Airlines is currently the largest airline in Asia and one of the largest airlines in the world in terms of fleet size. The state-owned airline, founded in 1988, operates a large number of aircraft: from its smallest aircraft such as the Airbus A319 or the Boeing 737-700 to one of the most exclusive airline clubs, the Airbus A380 operator club. According to planespotters.net, China Southern Airlines will be flying with 626 jets as of December 1, 2019. With 3,000 daily flights to 224 destinations and 40 different countries, the Chinese airline has established itself as one of the largest airlines in the world. While most of the destinations are in Asia, China Southern Airlines' planes can be seen in cities like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Rome, San Francisco and many other world metropolises.
Rank 4: Southwest Airlines - 748 aircraft
The exclusively Boeing 737 operator, which has been using the aircraft type since the company's first flight in 1971, ended the year with 748 jets. Unfortunately, the airline was one of the hardest hit by the Boeing 737 MAX crisis as Southwest Airlines has 280 MAX jets to order. In the airline's latest financial results report, the Dallas Love Field (DAL) -based airline stated that it expects a total of 41 new deliveries from MAX in 2019. Now it will be 2020. Currently 34 of the 737 MAX aircraft are temporarily stored due to the grounding.
Rank 3: United Airlines - 789 aircraft
The full-service airline, which traces its history back to 1926, is one of the few to survive the aftermath of two major events in the U.S. aviation industry: the 1978 Deregulation Act and the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, though she filed for bankruptcy on December 9, 2002. Nevertheless, United survived despite the headwind and was able to position itself as one of the largest airlines in the world after the merger with Continental Airlines in 2010. As one of the big three US airlines, United ended the year with 789 aircraft with an average age of 15.7 years. The Chicago-based airline recently increased its backlog with a deal announced on December 4, 2019 for 50 Airbus A321XLR aircraft to replace the Boeing 757. The first new aircraft should serve United's international routes as early as 2024, as the US airline announced on December 3, 2019.
Rank 2: Delta Air Lines - 910 aircraft
Delta Air Lines' home airport, Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport (ATL), is the largest airport in the world by passenger volume. Delta has the second largest fleet in the world. The history of the Delta Air Lines fleet is quite curious. While numerous airlines are 737 MAX operators and have been severely affected by the current aircraft groundings, Delta was never convinced by Boeing. Q2 2019 was a record quarter for Delta, which is partly due to the fact that Delta does not operate the 737 MAX. The airline also remains one of the last remaining active operators of the MD-80 as other airlines have already retired their Mad Dogs. On June 27, 2019, Boeing delivered the last jet to Delta, a 737-900ER. From then on, the airline has only ordered Airbus jets, including the Airbus A220. As of December 1, 2019, Delta Air Lines has 910 aircraft, according to planespotters.net data.
Rank 1: American Airlines - 941 aircraft
American Airlines (AA) has been the largest aircraft operator in the world for some time. The Dallas / Fort Worth Airport has become one of the most important hubs in the United States and the world due to the size of AA. The airline began its history in 1926 and has achieved its enormous size through several mergers, including with Trans World Airlines in 2001 and US Airways in 2013, the US Airways brand having completed its last flight in 2015. At the time of the merger, US Airways had 344 aircraft and the two companies were already the largest airline in the world. American Airlines is also the airline that prompted Boeing to rebuild the 737 and announce the 737 MAX in 2011. The airline ended the year with 941 aircraft, including 24 grounded 737 MAX aircraft.
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