MIAMI – China Southern (CZ) ranks third largest airline this winter due to the gradual resumption of air traffic in the country.
Since 2019, CZ has gone up by three places, with a 16% increase per year from year to year. The growth is linked principally to domestic flights, not international.
As such, China’s total domestic seats are up by 35% this winter, OAG data shows. However, the country’s international market remains a shadow of its former self, down by 87%.
Chinese airlines now account for seven of the world’s top-20 airlines, up from three last winter. They have 40% of the top-10 spots too, double YOY.
World Air Transport Statistics
Below are the top 20 airlines with the largest numbers of passengers:
|Ranking||Airline||Winter 2019 seats (two ways)||Airline||Winter 2020 seats (two ways)|
|1||American Airlines||109,274,517||American Airlines||71,107,058|
|2||Delta Air Lines||98,598,374||Delta Air Lines||69,538,116|
|4||United Airlines||81,643,978||United Airlines||57,343,848|
|6||China Southern||49,761,777||China Eastern||50,596,704|
|7||China Eastern||44,386,069||Air China||37,182,139|
|15||All Nippon||29,926,033||Xiamen Airlines||17,787,626|
|16||Air Canada||26,037,037||Turkish Airlines||17,728,438|
|17||Air France||25,445,725||Sichuan Airlines||16,556,963|
|18||British Airways||24,523,651||Japan Airlines||16,017,813|
The Rise of CZ Aided by the Collapse of Others
The growth of CZ’s traffic was facilitated by the collapse of other airlines’ by virtue of the blocks to flights to China imposed since March 2020.
While American Airlines (AA) and Delta Airlines (DL) remain firmly in the lead, companies such as Southwest Airlines (WN), LATAM (LA), Ryanair (FR) and Turkish Airlines (TK) have drastically seen their their passenger numbers collapse, though they still remain in the top 20.
Among leading European companies, such as Lufthansa (LH), British Airways (BA), easyJet (U2) and Aeroflot (SU), they are far from the rankings of the top 20, as Europe has been hard hit.
It should be noted that Spirit Airlines (NK) has risen from 27th to 19th place compared to last winter. And Alaska Airlines (AS), which has introduced several new routes since the start of the coronavirus, is now the 12th largest in the world, up from 19th, despite a quarter drop in capacity.
The carrier announced this week both San Diego to New York JFK, which complements its existing Newark service, and Los Angeles to Austin.
Of course, most of this reshuffling in the ranking is only temporary, although each region and country will take very different times to recover. There will be many obstacles on the road to recovery, but it will absolutely happen.