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Industry trends, on the fly

on the fly: How have the world’s largest airlines grown since the pandemic?

September 6, 2022

A look the world’s largest airline group’s capacity trends (Q3-2022).

Analytics on the fly

How have the world’s largest airlines grown since the pandemic?


Which are the world’s largest airline groups? How many of them have grown capacity since the pandemic? To help answer these questions we have analyzed the world’s top 25 largest airlines ranked by seat capacity for the third quarter of 2022, as of mid-August. We also show how these 25 airlines rank by growth since 2019, before the pandemic.

Cirium data from Diio, the industry’s premier airline planning system used by aviation professionals around the world, shows that American, the largest airline by seats, is still considerably smaller now than it was at this time in 2019.

Europe’s Wizz Air, IndiGo, and Ryanair, by contrast, have increased their capacity substantially. Turkish Airlines, Southwest, and the combined JetBlueSpirit have also grown since the pandemic. China Southern’s capacity is up slightly, boosted by growth at its Xiamen Airlines affiliate. Emirates, on the other hand, is still almost a third smaller than it was.

Just as China Southern’s figures include Xiamen Airlines, Lufthansa’s include all its subsidiaries, including Swiss, Austrian, Brussels, Eurowings, etc. Air China includes Shenzhen Airlines. Air France/KLM includes Transavia. Ryanair includes all its distinct operating certificates. And so on.

What about joint ventures like Wizz Air’s Abu Dhabi operation? We opted not to include that below. But with the Diio, the choice is yours. In fact, Diio’s Airline Grouping function allows you to create and save groupings of airline codes, making it convenient to pull data for collections of airlines. For this analysis, for example, we created a grouping that includes both JetBlue and Spirit (IATA codes B6 and NK). The grouping is now saved and available for any future queries. In addition, Diio has some pre-saved groupings, like those incorporating all members of each alliance (Star, oneworld, and SkyTeam).

Source: Diio by Cirium, data ran on Aug. 15, 2022

NEXT WEEK: How does Copa Airlines keep flying high?

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Rachel Humphries
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