World’s top 25 airlines by capacity as of March 2011

Delta Air Lines continues to be the world’s largest airline measured by available seat-kilometre (ASK) capacity, offering a whopping 28.3 billion seat-kilometres per month. They are followed by American Airlines and in a change, Emirates airline has overtaken United Airlines for the third spot.

World's Top 25 Biggest airlines by offered seat capacity
United is one of only two airlines that is offering a reduced seat capacity in March 2011 when compared to March 2010, the other is Japan Airlines (JAL) which essentially imploded last year, reducing capacity by more than 22% and sliding from 16th to 25 rank.

The two new entrants to the top 25 list are also the airlines with the largest capacity growth in the “Top 25” group. Qatar Airways with a 20.3% growth comes in at 22nd position, and Turkish Airlines (THY) led the growth story to rank at 24th position.

In comparison the India’s largest airline, Jet Airways, offers a capacity less than half the size of lowest ranked Japan Airlines. Just under 3 billion ASKs for March 2011. Co-incidentally Jet leased out most of its luxurious Boeing 777-300ER fleet to 21st rank Thai Airways and to Turkish Airlines who successfully used the aircraft to rapidly ramp-up capacity, build their brand image resulting in a capture of significant traffic.

Makes one ponder if the lack of growth of Indian carriers is primary due to government regulations, taxation, and over-control? Or due to a lack of vision and execution by the Indian airlines? Or do foreign carriers have that something extra (vision, risk appetite, desire, service execution, etc.)?

What is your view? Post a comment.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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