Top 10 Biggest Airlines of the World 2023

The world is more connected than ever before, and airlines play a major role in bridging gaps between continents. Not just in terms of destinations, these airlines dominate in revenue, number of aircraft, and global presence. Let’s embark on a journey through the skies and explore the top 10 biggest airlines in 2023:

1. American Airlines

American Airlines was founded in 1926. Now, It has grown into one of the world’s leading airlines. Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, it serves millions of passengers yearly, flying them to numerous global destinations. With an extensive fleet and a wide-ranging network, it’s a preferred choice for many travellers.

  • Rank: 1st
  • Operating Country: USA
  • Founded in: 1926
  • Yearly Revenue: Approx $45 billion
  • Number of Aircraft: 950+
  • Operating Countries: 50+
  • Number of yearly passengers: ~ 135 million

The US-based airline, American Airlines, is a leader in the aviation industry, connecting millions worldwide and maintaining a strong financial footprint.

2. Delta Air Lines

Established in 1924 in Macon, Georgia, Delta Air Lines now transports millions of passengers every year. With a rich history and a reputation for quality service, Delta has earned its spot among the top global carriers.

Top 10 Biggest Airlines of the World 2023 - Delta Airlines
  • Rank: 2nd
  • Operating Country: USA
  • Founded in: 1925
  • Owned by: Delta Air Lines, Inc.
  • Yearly Revenue: Approx $50 billion
  • Number of Aircraft: 900+
  • Operating Countries: 60+
  • Alliance: SkyTeam
  • Number of yearly passengers: ~ 125 million
  • Based in: Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Delta is another giant from the US, known for its extensive flight network and commitment to premium services.

3. Lufthansa

Germany’s flag carrier, Lufthansa, was founded in 1953. Known for its top-tier service and reliability, it flies millions of passengers yearly to destinations across continents.

  • Rank: 3rd
  • Operating Country: Germany
  • Founded in: 1953
  • Yearly Revenue: Approx $40 billion
  • Number of Aircraft: 750+
  • Operating Countries: 100+

Europe’s largest airline, Lufthansa, has a legacy of impeccable service and a vast network connecting major global destinations.

4. United Airlines

Founded in 1926, United Airlines has its roots in Boise, Idaho. Today, based in Chicago, it serves millions, offering a vast network of destinations and a commitment to customer satisfaction.

  • Rank: 4th
  • Operating Country: USA
  • Founded in: 1926
  • Yearly Revenue: Approx $38 billion
  • Number of Aircraft: 800+
  • Operating Countries: 70+

Another gem from the US, United Airlines, stands out with its wide reach and commitment to sustainable flying.

5. Air France-KLM

Resulting from a merger in 2004 between Air France and KLM, this airline conglomerate is based in both France and the Netherlands. Together, they fly millions of passengers each year, combining the legacy and expertise of both airlines.

  • Rank: 5th
  • Operating Country: France/Netherlands
  • Founded in: 2004
  • Yearly Revenue: Approx $35 billion
  • Number of Aircraft: 550+
  • Operating Countries: 90+

A European conglomerate, Air France-KLM combines French elegance and Dutch efficiency, making it a favourite for international travellers.

6. Emirates

Started in 1985 in Dubai, Emirates has become synonymous with luxury in aviation. Serving millions of passengers every year, it offers a unique blend of comfort, service, and connectivity.

  • Rank: 6th
  • Operating Country: UAE
  • Founded in: 1985
  • Yearly Revenue: Approx $32 billion
  • Number of Aircraft: 250+
  • Operating Countries: 80+

The flag carrier of Dubai, Emirates, is synonymous with luxury in the skies and offers one of the most exquisite flying experiences.

7. China Southern Airlines

Established in 1988, China Southern Airlines is one of Asia’s major carriers. Based in Guangzhou, China, the airline has experienced rapid growth, transporting millions of passengers to multiple global destinations.

Top 10 biggest airliens - China Southern Airlines
  • Rank: 7th
  • Operating Country: China
  • Founded in: 1988
  • Yearly Revenue: Approx $30 billion
  • Number of Aircraft: 600+
  • Operating Countries: 40+

China’s biggest airline, China Southern, plays a crucial role in connecting the East with the West and everywhere in between.

8. Southwest Airlines

Founded in 1967, Southwest Airlines is a Dallas-based airline known for its budget-friendly fares and exceptional service. It has a significant domestic presence in the USA, serving millions of travellers yearly.

  • Rank: 8th
  • Operating Country: USA
  • Founded in: 1967
  • Yearly Revenue: Approx $28 billion
  • Number of Aircraft: 700+
  • Operating Countries: 10 (Primarily domestic USA with some international destinations)

Known for its friendly service and budget-friendly rates, Southwest Airlines holds a significant place in domestic travel within the US.

9. British Airways

A symbol of British aviation, British Airways was founded in 1974, though its origins date back further. Headquartered in London, it flies millions of passengers every year, offering British hospitality in the skies.

  • Rank: 9th
  • Operating Country: UK
  • Founded in: 1974
  • Yearly Revenue: Approx $27 billion
  • Number of Aircraft: 300+
  • Operating Countries: 70+

The UK’s flag carrier, British Airways, has a rich history and remains a top choice for travellers seeking a touch of British class.

10. Qatar Airways

Founded in 1993, Qatar Airways is based in Doha, Qatar. Recognized for its modern fleet and exceptional service, it serves millions of passengers annually, connecting the world through its Middle Eastern hub.

  • Rank: 10th
  • Operating Country: Qatar
  • Founded in: 1993
  • Yearly Revenue: Approx $25 billion
  • Number of Aircraft: 230+
  • Operating Countries: 80+

Known for its top-notch service and state-of-the-art fleet, Qatar Airways provides an unmatched travel experience from the heart of the Middle East.


In conclusion, The skies are filled with competition, but these airlines have secured their spots in the top 10 with relentless service, expansive networks, and a vision to connect the world seamlessly. Whether you’re looking for luxury, reach, or a blend of both, these giants have something to offer. Safe travels, and may you fly with the best!

In the vast expanse of the azure skies, where dreams take flight and borders blur, the top 10 biggest airlines of 2023 have soared above the rest, stitching the tapestry of our connected world. From the pioneering spirit of American Airlines to the luxurious embrace of Emirates, each of these airlines embodies a unique story, a distinct heritage, and an unwavering commitment to excellence.

It’s a testament to human endeavor how these giants have revolutionized travel, bringing continents closer and making the world a more reachable place. Each airline, whether it’s the historic legacy of British Airways or the rapid rise of China Southern Airlines, showcases the indomitable spirit of their regions, offering a glimpse into their cultures, values, and aspirations.

Navigating through unprecedented challenges, these airlines have not just been about transport; they have become symbols of hope, resilience, and global unity. They have transformed our travel narratives, ensuring that despite our different starting points, our journeys are interwoven with memories, stories, and experiences that transcend geographical boundaries.

As we reflect on the dominance of these airlines, we’re reminded of the countless individuals behind the scenes — the pilots, the cabin crew, the ground staff, and many more — whose collective efforts have placed these airlines at the pinnacle of global aviation.

In a world that’s constantly evolving, where the horizon beckons with new adventures and opportunities, these top 10 airlines serve as our trusty chariots, ever-ready to take us where we need to go. As we look up, we know that the wings of these giants will continue to cradle our dreams, aspirations, and journeys, painting the skies with their grandeur for years to come.

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