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Industry trends, on the fly

on the fly: What are the latest North American airline growth trends?

April 17, 2023

A look at ASM capacity growth in North America.

Analytics on the fly


Since 2016, ultra-low-cost carriers (LCCs) in North America (the US, Canada, and Mexico) have led the industry in ASM capacity growth. The original low-cost pioneer Southwest, however, has trailed other major carriers on the continent. A big reason for this was its dependence on the B737-MAX, which experienced a lengthy grounding that prevented Southwest from adding capacity in 2019. The four ultra-LCCs at the top of this list are all Airbus operators.

In 2020, the pandemic forced all major North American carriers to shrink, though some more than others. Canada’s airlines were still shrinking in 2021 due to lingering border restrictions.

Note that major mergers are accounted for below (for example, US Airways data is included in American’s numbers, etc.). The final column shows a simple average of the annual growth rates since 2016. Also shown are simple averages for just 2016-2019 to avoid distortions from the Covid pandemic.

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