Why are Airline Names Plural? (e.g. Why is American Airlines not called American Airline)?

I’m curious about this. Why does American Airlines have that s at the end? Why don’t they call it American Airline, or British Airway, or Southwest Airline? Is it because there are multiple airplanes in that airline? Last time I checked there aren’t five airlines called British Airways. Could someone enlighten me?


I’d presume it’s because ‘airlines’ or ‘airways’ are kinda like routes and it shows that they have multiple routes. Idk lol


After a quick conductive search, I have found that Airlines will use Plural in their names to show that they fly to multiple routes, if you have “American Airline” that would mean that they would fly only one route, but if they have a Plural like “British Airways” or “American Airlines” it shows that said airline will fly on more than one route ;).

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This is an actually interesting question.

If we break down the words in smaller words (not syllables, we’re not analyzing a poem), we are able to understand the word, like so:
Airline -> Air-line -> meaning one air route.
Airway -> Air-way -> meaning one air route.

Airlines -> Air-lines -> meaning several air routes.
Airways -> Air-ways -> meaning several air routes.

Hope that clarifies.


Cause it sounds better think about it say United Airline over and over and then say United Airlines

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I agree I think “Singapore airline” just sounds weird and tacky


Well an “Airline” can fly multiple routes

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Using it as a noun has a different meaning, but when adding it to a name, it is implying that it flies several routes.

An airline can be a company whose job is air transportation.
But when used in a name (ex. American Airlines), it is stated that it is the air routes of America (if analyzed deeper). Otherwise, it is just known as American Airlines, the name of the airline.

Well “airlines” probably just sounds better to us cuz we’re used to it.

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The way English is used, we say:

American Airlines is an awesome airline.

Note the difference in singular-plural usage. This is just something I noticed and don’t have an explanation behind it.

Merry Christmas! 🎄

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I’d say that ‘airlines’ is relating to all the routes, and then by ‘airline’ in the second part it’s relating to all the airlines if that makes any sense. :)

Could be. Let’s see what the others have to say about this 🤔

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And it’s the plural for many routes as other people said.

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Well “airline” has become a normal term for us to use now. When airlines were founded, using “airlines” and “airways” would have been more related to the routes the carrier flies. Hence some airlines were called “Air Lines”.

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Emirates airline is not plural just to point out. The airline’s name is as a result of the marketing team. Very interesting.


I always thought it came down to that aviation was based off of the successful ocean liners back in the early days of flight and now a days as well. For example white star line only sailed across the Atlantic while nowadays carnival cruises is now the industry leader and as airlines slowly started taking over they gradually added the S onto the names as the airlines started opening more routes

Because if it was American Airline it would only fly one route xD

I guess Air Canada only flies one route then. Weird. Thought they were larger.

I think it’s more cultural and traditional than anything.

The company is still singular. It’s an airline, even if their name has an s on the end.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve see the above answers as the answer pretty much every time the question is asked. But you’ll never find an official source which dictates that the etymology actually stems from the flying of multiple routes. Nor would that answer hold water with Air Canada, which removed Air Lines from its name as it grew and flew more routes.

The answer may seem satisyfying, but it strikes me as a simplified mental resolution more than an official answer, even if it is the most common answer given here and elsewhere. I guess a Tap Room only has one tap? Pizza Hut sells but a single pizza (if you can call it that).

Corporate Air. Alligiant Air. More examples. I’m sure there are others. Maybe it’s the science in me, but an exception puts the lie to the “rule”.

The answer is probably as close as you’ll get, but that’s because “it’s just kind of how it is” is less calming to the mind.


Imagine a line in the air that connect to airports, same like airways.

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