Discover the most comprehensive airline benchmark, including 15 of the world’s leading airlines. We put together figures and information from all areas such as fleet, network, operations, safety, and financials to provide you with an easy-to-access benchmark.
Airline Benchmark — Airline Overview
To understand an airline’s performance, it is required to put context to its data and figures. That’s why we put together the most comprehensive airline benchmark ever. We selected 15 leading airlines and gathered data from all relevant areas.
Before we dive into the details, here’s an overview of the contained airlines:
- Air France
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- China Eastern Airlines
- China Souther Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
For each of the airlines we put together benchmarks of the following areas:
|Network Benchmark||Served Destinations, Countries, Continents|
|Operations Benchmark||On-time performance, number of passengers|
|Fleet Benchmark||Number of aircraft (Overall & clustered)|
|Social Media Benchmark||Twitter Follower, Instagram Follower, Facebook Pag Likes|
|Safety & Quality Benchmark||Skytrax Ranking, Eco Score, Safety Index|
|Corporate Benchmark||Employees, Revenue, Net Income|
Benchmarked Airlines — Base Information
Here are some base information about each benchmarked airline.
|American Airlines||United States||North America||1926|
|British Airways||United Kingdom||Europe||1974|
|China Eastern Airlines||China||Asia||1988|
|China Southern Airlines||China||Asia||1988|
|Delta Air Lines||United States||North America||1929|
|Emirates||United Arab Emirates||Middle East||1985|
|Qatar Airways||Qatar||Middle East||1993|
|United Airlines||United States||North America||1926|
The network benchmark provides details about the number of destinations, countries, and continents an airline serves. The shown data is mainly based on 2020 information. Here are the core results:
- With 350 airports, American Airlines is the airline that serves the most destinations.
- Turkish Airline is the airline that serves the most countries (123).
|China Eastern Airlines||248||34||4|
|China Southern Airlines||216||47||5|
|Delta Air Lines||325||52||5|
In terms of an operations benchmark, we included punctuality and passenger figures. Punctuality figures are based on OAG and reflect 2018 values. Concerning passenger figures, we used several sources. Unfortunately, it was not possible to retrieve passenger figures for the identical year for each airline. Here are the key takeaways:
- LATAM is the most punctual airline, followed by KLM and Delta Air Lines.
- With 215 resp. 192 million passengers, American and Delta Air Lines, carry the most passengers.
|Airline||Punctuality (2018)||Passenger (mil.)|
|Air France||79.92%||46.8 (2019)|
|American Airlines||77.9%||215.18 (2019)|
|British Airways||76.18%||45.2 (2017)|
|China Eastern Airlines||72.86%||71.9 (2019)|
|China Southern Airlines||71.52%||126.2 (2017)|
|Delta Air Lines||83.56%||192.2 (2018)|
|Qatar Airways||80.32%||32.4 (2019)|
|Turkish Airlines||76.72%||75.1 (2018)|
|United Airlines||76.28%||162 (2019)|
We wanted to know the overall fleet size and the aircraft types operated with the airline fleet benchmark. Here are the essential results:
- Most of the top airlines solely rely on Airbus and Boeing aircraft.
- The U.S. carriers (United, Delta, and American) operate the largest fleets.
- With 888 aircraft, American Airlines operates the world’s biggest aircraft fleet.
|China Eastern Airlines||409||175||—||584|
|China Southern Airlines||352||271||3||626|
|Delta Air Lines||345||434||—||779|
Social Media Benchmark
Social media is becoming increasingly important for airlines around the globe. Therefore, we also included essential social media figures: In terms of Instagram and Twitter, we analyzed the number of followers, whereas, in terms of Facebook, we gathered the number of page likes. Here are the key takeaways:
- With 2.3 million, KLM is the king of Twitter.
- Some of the airlines don’t focus on Twitter (e. g. China Southern Airlines or LATAM).
- Emirates and Qatar show exceptional results on Instagram with 5.5 resp. 3.4 million followers.
- Qatar is also the king of Facebook, with almost 22.5 million page likes.
|Airline||Twitter Follower||Instagram Follower||Facebook Page Likes|
|China Eastern Airlines||115,000||19,000||4,370,000|
|China Southern Airlines||44,500||235,000||10,220,000|
|Delta Air Lines||1,500,000||1,079,000||3,280,000|
Safety & Quality Benchmark
To provide the most comprehensive airline benchmark, we also included safety and quality aspects. Therefore, we included the airlines’ Skytrax rank as one of the essential product quality indicators. Moreover, the eco score provides insights into the airline’s sustainability level. The safety index is based on JACDEC’s safety assessment and details an airline’s safety level. Again, here are the key takeaways:
- In terms of product quality, Qatar ranks 1st on Skytrax and accordingly 1st among the benchmarked airlines.
- Besides LATAM, airlines show a relatively week eco score.
- With 95.48%, Emirates is ranked the safest airline.
|Airline||Skytrax Rank||Eco Score (out of 100)||Safety Index|
|China Eastern Airlines||#75||64.0||84.39%|
|China Southern Airlines||#14||60.3||86.40%|
|Delta Air Lines||#41||61.8||89.04%|
As the final part of the airline benchmark, we looked at corporate figures, such as the number of employees, revenue, and net income. Here are the key takeaways:
- American Airlines and the Lufthansa Group are the biggest airlines in terms of employees.
- Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, American Airlines, and Lufthansa are the biggest airlines in revenue.
- United Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and British Airways show the strongest financial results regarding net income.
|Airline||Employees||Revenue ($ mil. 2019)||Net Income ($ mil. 2019)|
|China Eastern Airlines||75,000||—||983**|
|China Southern Airlines||100,000||21,701*||1,140*|
|Delta Air Lines||91,000||47,007||4,767|
The most Comprehensive Airline Benchmark — Do you miss an Airline or Information?
You think we’ve missed an airline or important information? Leave us a comment below and we’ll include it with the next update of the list.