How crisis reshuffled biggest airlines in the world?


At the end of 2020 airlines conducted 40% less weekly flights than at the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, in some regions the figure was considerably smaller.

According to Cirium Airline Insights Review 2020, approximately 200,000 scheduled flights were conducted in the last week of the year, which makes 59% of flights conducted in the first week.

Yet the high number is mostly thanks to the East Asian and Pacific region, which saw spectacular recovery to almost 73% of pre-crisis flights. Meanwhile, other regions saw a drop to less than 60%, with North American airlines conducting 55% and European – just 39% of January flights.


In comparison with 2019, Asia-Pacific flight volume shrunk by almost 45% in 2020, slightly less than in North America (over 42%), Europe (over 55%) and other regions. As a result, it remained the largest market, even gaining on the other regions slightly.


World’s biggest airlines 2020

Despite that, 4 out of 5 largest airlines still remain North American: Southwest Airlines (LUV), American Airlines (A1G) (AAL), Delta Air Lines and SkyWest Airlines all conducting over 500,000 scheduled flights in 2020, with China Southern Airlines (ZNH) coming at the fifth place. 


Ryanair, the largest European airline, conducted just over 200,000 flights. Qatar Airways positioned itself as the largest Middle Eastern airline with over 81,000 flights, while Azul Airlines became Latin America’s top carrier with 138,500 flights. 

As the data shows, the worldwide air travel market still has a long way till full recovery, but the discrepancies between different regions are significant.

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