With a combined market cap of nearly $130 billion, the seven largest domestic airlines carry a vast majority of air passengers in the U.S. They service hundreds of destinations all over the globe, flying more than 740 million revenue passenger miles (RPMs)—which is what you get when you multiply the number of paying customers by the distance traveled—in 2014 alone.
Read on to explore the seven largest airlines in the U.S.! Peanuts not included.
Delta is the largest airline in the world in terms of scheduled passengers carried. As one of the few global carriers to fly to all six permanently inhabited continents, Delta operates the largest fleet of Boeing 757s in the world, at nearly 140 jets.
Southwest has consistently paid a quarterly dividend since 1976 and has enjoyed more than 40 straight years of profitability—an industry record. In 2016, it ranked number seven on Fortune magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” list.
American employs approximately 100,000 people worldwide. It’s the least expensive stock in the airlines industry, at 4 times enterprise value to EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), according to the Wall Street Journal. After merging with American in 2013, US Airways’ final flight occurred on Saturday, October 17, 2015.
United is the world’s largest airline in the world in terms of number of destinations served and is the largest U.S. carrier to China. In 2013, it became the first U.S. carrier to offer satellite-based Wi-Fi.
For five straight years, Alaska has been ranked as the most fuel-efficient domestic airline by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), receiving a fuel efficiency score (FES) of 1.14. For eight straight years, it’s received J.D. Powers’ highest rating in its 2015 North America Airline Satisfaction Survey. The airline carries more passengers between Alaska and the bottom 48 states than any other airline.
Over 90 percent of JetBlue’s passengers fly point-to-point, meaning there are no connecting flights. The carrier plans to add between 10 and 12 additional seats to every jet in its fleet, a move that’s expected to generate $100 million in extra revenue by 2019. JetBlue became the first domestic carrier to expand its services to Cuba once diplomatic relations were relaxed between the Caribbean island and the U.S.
The ultra-low-cost carrier is known for its healthy balance sheet: It has over $750 million in cash versus $530 million in debt. About a third of Spirit’s revenue is generated through ancillary, or non-ticket, fees. In 2014, Spirit grew its capacity the fastest among U.S. carriers, increasing traffic 18 percent.
Interested in learning how you can invest in the airline industry? Here are three easy steps: