The 10 Airlines With the Biggest Fleets in the World


In the global economy, fast, convenient air travel is key to keeping big business going. That, combined with the growing number of global citizens with disposable income, and the ever-present need people feel to go somewhere new, has led to growth for the air travel industry. Increasingly, passengers from The Middle East, Latin America, the Carribean, and Africa are taking to the skies, helping increase the number of airplane passengers to 2.9 billion in 2012.

There has also been a growth in the number of budget airlines, which offer cheap flights for those who are willing to give up some of the small luxuries associated with flying.

Sacrificing hot meals, comfortable seats, leg room, and even free ticket-printing can combine to a big reduction in costs. It can allow a frugal flyer to use the savings to splurge on visiting popular tourist destinations, shop, or to get decent and comfortable accommodations. But are the savings worth it all the time?

Maybe, maybe not. While the budget airlines offer cheaper rates, larger airlines have their own perks. They usually offer a larger coverage area, as well as premium services that well-to-do customers can’t get with the minimalist airlines. It doesn’t hurt that, in the event of something going wrong with one of the planes, airlines with larger fleets are better equipped to find a last-minute replacement. If you hate delays, it might still be better to go with the bigger airlines, if only for their sheer size.

Here is a list of the 10 largest airlines in the world, ranked by number of planes owned.

10. China Eastern Airlines – 349

China Eastern Airlines is owned by China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited. A major Chinese airline, it is headquartered at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport in Changning District in Shanghai, China. It is China’s second largest carrier in terms of passenger numbers, and operates regional, domestic, and international routes. In 2012 alone, it flew more than 73 million international and domestic passengers. In 2011, China Eastern Airlines and its subsidiary Shanghai Airlines became members of SkyTeam, a global alliance of 19 top-quality airlines that flies to 1,024 destinations.