Biggest low cost carriers worldwide by revenue 2018

U.S.-based Southwest Airlines generated significantly more revenue than any other low-cost carrier in 2018, amounting to 22 billion U.S. dollars. The next-largest was Irish airline, Ryanair, with an estimated revenue of 9.3 billion U.S. dollars.

Low-cost carriers

Low-cost carriers have been rapidly increasing their share of the global airline industry in recent years, reaching 31 percent in 2018. While the largest low-cost carriers in terms of revenue are predominantly North American and European, the Asia Pacific region is home to the biggest fleet of aircraft operated by low-cost carriers.

Revenue versus passenger traffic

The largest low-cost airlines in terms of revenue are not necessarily the largest in terms of passenger traffic. While Southwest, Ryanair and EasyJet are the three largest on all measures, Asian low-cost carriers such as IndiGo, AirAsia and Lion perform better in terms of passenger traffic and seat capacity than their revenue streams would suggest. This is likely a combination of the lower overall price levels in the region, coupled with its high population. Accordingly, the two fastest growing low-cost carriers in terms of available seats are located in the region.

Leading low cost airlines worldwide in 2018, based on revenue

Revenue in billion U.S. dollars
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Supplementary notes

* Full-year estimates used based on nine-month data.

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