Southwest Airlines is now the world’s largest airline by capacity.
As practically every airline in the world is affected by plummeting air travel demand, they are continuing to slash capacity wherever they can.
However, Southwest Airlines hasn’t cut as much as other airlines and has now become the world’s largest airline in terms of capacity.
On April 13, Southwest had 3 million available seats while the previous world’s largest airline, American Airlines, only had 2 million.
Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have both fallen down to just 1 million available seats.
Notably in this data, you can see that China Southern, China Eastern, and Air China have all increased their capacity in the past week as domestic demand in China begins to recover.
Overall however, they are still flying at around 50% of their original capacity compared to January 2020.
This data above shows the overall reduction in capacity for countries around the world, with the most severe reduction coming from Hong Kong and Spain at -94.2%
Why hasn’t Southwest cut as much capacity as other airlines?
As Southwest Airlines is primarily a domestic carrier flying within the United States, they saw a smaller decrease in demand compared to airlines flying more international flights.
Since mid-January, overall domestic capacity has only fallen by 57% while international has fallen by 88%.
Southwest 737: https://www.jetphotos.com/photo/9683511
Data by OAG/Forbes: https://www.oag.com/blog
During these unprecedented times, Southwest has risen from the 7th largest airline to the world’s largest. However, in terms of revenue, we won’t know who’s number one for a few weeks.
Additionally, Wizz Air is now Europe’s largest airline. The previous powerhouses, Ryanair, IAG (British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, etc.), Lufthansa Group, and Air France-KLM have all fallen down.