TransportAirlines

U.S. airlines remain biggest for one more year; Emirates set to become biggest next

Skift Take

The U.S. aviation industry isn’t likely to retain its spots at the top of the list for long as players from Asia and the Middle East expand quickly and move up in global ranking.

— Samantha Shankman

United Airlines, following its merger with Continental, has ended 2012 as the world’s biggest airline measured by available seat kilometres for the current week, ahead of second placed Delta, whose capacity fell 0.3% year on year, according to Innovata. Fast growing Dubai-based carrier Emirates is the world’s third biggest airline by this measure, and could be in second place by the end of 2013 if the past year’s growth rates are maintained.

Southwest Airlines remains easily the largest LCC, while Lion Air and Jetstar have each climbed the LCC top 10, to sixth and seventh places respectively, overtaking Westjet. Atlanta Airport (just) remains the world’s largest, ahead of Beijing Capital Airport, in terms of seat throughput for the week, but this ranking seems certain to reverse in 2013.

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