Monday, June 8, 2015

The world's biggest airlines...except for the world's biggest airline

I ran across an April 30 article from entitled "The world's biggest airlines." The following statement appeared at the beginning of the article:

From Delta to Qantas, lists the world’s biggest publicly traded airline companies, based on revenue over the 2014 calendar year.

Delta was at the top, with US$40.36 billion in revenue, and was followed by the expected suspects - United Continental, Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, International Airlines Group ("(f)ormed by the merger between British Airways and Iberia"), Southwest, and the like.

As I perused the list, however, I realized that American Airlines did not appear. So I checked American's website, and found this press release, dated January 27 - three months before the Airport Technology list was published.

Strong demand throughout the year led to 2014 total revenue of $42.7 billion, up 5.6 percent versus 2013 on a combined basis and excluding special items.

$42.7 billion - higher than Delta. And that is for the 2014 calendar year, for a publicly traded company.

So I thought I'd check another source, Traveljee, which (in a March 2015 post) did list 5th place, with US$25.8 billion in revenue. Delta was third, below Lufthansa (first) and United Continental (second), with a listed revenue of $37.7 billion.

Neither Traveljee nor Airport Technology published the explicit criteria that they used to determine revenue, and it's possible that Traveljee didn't use the 2014 calendar year as its baseline. And it should be noted that my quote from the American Airlines press release specifically notes that "special items" are excluded.

But it's still odd that American didn't show up on Airport Technology AT ALL - or, conversely, that Airport Technology somehow assumed that American Airline's revenue was LOWER than the stated revenue for the 10th place airline on its list - Qantas, with US$14 billion.


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