World’s largest commercial airlines

Keeping up to date with airline news is a key factor if you want to know the industry in depth. Knowing about the world’s largest commercial airlines will give you an idea of how the industry works and how big it is.

With the pandemic and its slow recovery in tourism and air travel, airlines have had to adapt to keep up and continue to grow. IATA expects the number of passengers departing to and from Europe to fully recover by 2024. In this context it is important for airlines to regain their usual flow of routes and passengers.

World’s largest commercial airlines by number of aircraft

  1. American Airlines

American Airlines is the world’s largest airline. The American giant has a fleet of 881 aircraft. It is also the largest operator of Airbus A320s in the world.

This airline was born from the merger of US Airways and AMR, the result of the bankruptcy of the latter in 2011. Since their official merger in 2013 until now they offer flights to 48 countries and move more than 165 million passengers.

american airlines

  1. United Airlines

Second on the list of the world’s largest commercial airlines is United Airlines, which has a fleet of 834 aircraft. The airline is present in six continents around the world.

It is also a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s largest strategic airline alliance. Currently, the airline has a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft with an average age of 17.1 years.

United Airlines

  1. Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines is the third largest commercial airline in the world. With a fleet of 781 aircraft, Delta Airlines operates flights to more than 60 countries, serving 375 destinations.

Together with Aeromexico, Korean Air and Airfrance, they form SkyTeam, a global airline alliance offering flights around the world.

delta airlines

  1. Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is an American low-cost airline with a fleet of 750 aircraft. Its fleet consists only of Boeing 737 aircraft, making it the largest Boeing 737 fleet in the world.

One of the curiosities of this airline is its business model. The airline is very profitable, since it flies many short routes, with rotations at secondary airports in major cities.

southwest airlines

  1. China Southern Airlines

In fourth place, among the world’s largest commercial airlines, we find a Chinese airline (the first non-American). Its fleet currently consists of 647 aircraft with an average age of 8.8 years.

China Southern Airlines is the largest Chinese airline in fleet, size, revenue and passenger traffic.

china southern

  1. China Eastern Airlines.

China Eastern Airlines ranks sixth on the list with a fleet of 609 aircraft. This airline operates mainly flights in Asia and in North America and Australia. It is the second largest Chinese airline in terms of passenger traffic.

  1. Air China

Air China is one of the world’s largest commercial airlines with a fleet of 476 Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Air China is the state-owned airline of the People’s Republic of China.

The airline’s main routes are in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America from its hub in Beijing and also covers Asia, Australia and Europe from Shanghai.

air china

  1. Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines ranks eighth on the list with a fleet of 343 aircraft. Its growth has been very significant since 2019 when it had only 233 aircraft. The airline offers flights to more than one hundred destinations in the Americas, specifically in the United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Costa Rica and Mexico.


  1. Turkish Airlines

The Turkish airline has 324 aircraft and a regular network of flights to more than 322 destinations in Turkey, Europe, Asia, Africa and America. In addition, it is an airline that has won numerous awards for Best Airline in Europe awarded by Skytrax the years 2011, 2012,2013,2014; Best In-flight Meals awarded by SkyScanner in 2010, Best Airline in Southern Europe awarded by Skytrax in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.


Turkish Airlines


  1. Ryanair

The famous Ryanair ranks tenth in the list of the world’s largest airlines with a fleet of 271 aircraft. It is famous for being the European low-cost airline, making it one of the most profitable airlines in the world.