The 20 biggest airlines in the world, ranked

Over the past century, the airline industry has changed the way humans travel. It has effectively made the world a smaller place – making it possible for billions of people everywhere to explore the world.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), consumers spent an estimated $US871 billion, or roughly 1% of the global GDP, on air travel.

The trade group, which has a membership made up of 290 airlines, expects the total number of airline passengers around the world to reach 8.2 billion people by 2037 – that’s double today’s passenger count.

As a result of the industry’s growth, many of the world’s airlines have become household names. Through recent mergers, American, Delta, United, and Southwest have grown to become colossal mega-carriers.

Read more: The 11 longest flights in the world, ranked

This got us at Business Insider thinking about how they stack up against the largest airlines.

Fortunately, the good folks at OAG provided us the data sets that answered our question.

The London-based aviation-data-and-intelligence firm ranked the world’s airlines based on the total number of seats each carrier made available to customers during 2018. OAG also included the total number of aircraft in each airline fleet.

Some airlines on the list offer substantially more seats while operating fewer aircraft.

According to OAG senior analyst John Grant, this variation is because of the differences in the planes that comprise a carrier’s fleet and the seat configurations of each aircraft. As a result, airlines that operate larger aircraft and aircraft with higher seat density will be able to make more seats available to customers.

Here’s a closer look at the 20 biggest airlines in the world:

20. Alaska Airlines

Capacity: 54,574,295 seats.

Fleet size: 233 aircraft.

19. Aeroflot Russian Airlines


Capacity: 56,260,035 seats.

Fleet size: 253 aircraft.

18. Air France


Capacity: 58,888,616 seats.

Fleet size: 206 aircraft.

17. British Airways


Capacity: 63,253,213 seats.

Fleet size: 267 aircraft.

16. Air Canada


Capacity: 64,529,302 seats.

Fleet size: 180 aircraft.

15. LATAM Airlines Group


Capacity: 68,393,747 seats.

Fleet size: 309 aircraft.

14. All Nippon Airways (ANA)

Capacity: 72,674,568 seats.

Fleet size: 294 aircraft.

13. IndiGo

Capacity: 74,570,054 seats.

Fleet size: 206 aircraft.

12. Emirates


Capacity: 78,255,966 seats.

Fleet size: 271 aircraft.

11. Lufthansa


Capacity: 90,465,791 seats.

Fleet size: 338 aircraft.

10. Air China


Capacity: 90,531,776 seats.

Fleet size: 418 aircraft.

9. Turkish Airlines


Capacity: 93,109,025 seats.

Fleet size: 350 aircraft.

8. EasyJet


Capacity: 100,082,969 seats.

Fleet size: 317 aircraft.

7. China Eastern Airlines


Capacity: 122,917,175 seats.

Fleet size: 525 aircraft.

6. China Southern Airlines


Capacity: 131,972,745 seats.

Fleet size: 597 aircraft.

5. Ryanair


Capacity: 142,540,776 seats.

Fleet size: 439 aircraft.

4. United Airlines


Capacity: 193,981,547 seats.

Fleet size: 765 aircraft.

3. Southwest Airlines


Capacity: 209,526,838 seats.

Fleet size: 749 aircraft.

2. Delta Air Lines


Capacity: 233,758,798 seats.

Fleet size: 879 aircraft.

1. American Airlines


Capacity: 256,928,663 seats.

Fleet size: 956 aircraft.