Busiest low cost carriers worldwide by passenger traffic 2018

Southwest Airlines transported some 163.6 million passengers on its flights in 2018, making it the busiest low-cost carrier in the world that year.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is a major American airline headquartered in Dallas, Texas and the world’s most profitable low-cost carrier. The airline reported over 21.9 billion U.S. dollars in revenue and over 133 billion revenue passenger miles in 2018. As of November 2018, the airline had 225 daily departures at its main hub, Chicago Midway International Airport.

LCC business model

In the airline industry, ancillary revenue is a major financial constituent for low-cost carriers and ultra-low-cost carriers all over the world. Unbundled sources, such as baggage fees or on-board activities like food or Wi-Fi, represent the highest share of revenue for low cost airlines like Ryanair in Europe or Spirit Airlines in the U.S.. The success of this business model can not only be seen in the airline’s profitability but also in the increasing demand for this type of service in the aviation industry. As low-cost carriers continue to increase their market share in the air transportation sector, passengers are more inclined to choose what they want to pay for when flying.

Leading low cost carriers worldwide in 2018, ranked by passenger traffic

Passengers in millions
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Sources

Release date

2019

Region

Worldwide

Survey time period

2018

Supplementary notes

* Value is an estimate.

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