General Question

Mamradpivo's avatar

How do they rate the size of airlines?

Asked by Mamradpivo (9665points) March 19th, 2009 from iPhone

I jut saw a sign advertising the new Delta/Northwest as the world’s largest airline. What is that based on? Is it revenue? Number of passengers? Number of flights? Fleet size? Destinations?

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5 Answers

TitsMcGhee's avatar

Fuck Delta; fly American.

Delta fucked me over a lot, and don’t even get me STARTED on US Airways.

babiturtle36's avatar

I dont have an answer, but just wanted to add that I love love love Continental Airlines

seekingwolf's avatar


I totally agree. Delta sucks. Fly jetBlue.

They canceled our flight, citing “high winds” but it was a clear day outside! no clouds! We found out later they just didn’t want to fly us because the plane wasn’t filled up all the way. We were stuck in the terminal for over 24 HOURS without a stay at a hotel and they refused to fetch our luggage from the plane sitting outside…even though we said we needed it because our MEDICATIONS were in there! My bro and sis have autism and need their medications and we told them this and they just said “well, we can call the paramedics for you.” The nerve!

The sales people were rude to us and totally inconsiderate. I don’t appreciate being lied to. Delta seriously sucks and I go out of my way not to fly with them. Go with jetBlue, at least they have satellite TV.

seekingwolf's avatar

To answer the question, I think the “largest airline” is the one with the most passengers. To have the most passengers, you would need to have the largest availability as well as a lot of planes and flights. Revenue is no indicator though because you can be a large company and still be losing profit.

marinelife's avatar

Q: How does the airline industry measure its volume of business?

Airline payload, in other words revenue-earning traffic, essentially consists of passengers, freight and mail.

Passenger traffic is measured in passenger boardings, or more commonly passenger-kilometres, which are calculated by multiplying the number of passengers by the distance each one flies. This statistic is normally referred to as Revenue Passenger-Kilometres, or RPK, since non-revenue traffic, for example airline staff travelling on duty, is not included.

Freight and mail traffic, similarly, may be measured in tonnes, but more usually tonne-kilometres. Freight and mail together constitute cargo, which is sometimes presented as a single statistic.

The entire payload may be expressed as Revenue Tonne-Kilometres by multiplying the number of passengers by a notional weight (which includes their baggage) and adding it to the cargo traffic before making the distance calculation.

Passenger capacity is normally measured either as Available Seat-Kilometres (ASK), calculated by multiplying the number of saleable seats by the sector distance. An aircraft’s overall carrying capacity is measured in Available Tonne-Kilometres. It is not normal practice to measure cargo capacity because this will vary from flight to flight depending on the passenger load. It is also very sensitive to cargo density – passenger aircraft will normally run out of cargo space before they reach their weight limits.

The relationship between traffic and capacity is called load factor and is of critical importance to airlines.

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