LCCs Market in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Over the last decade, the growth of the low-cost carrier (LCC) segment has been a fundamental development in the aviation industry. The low-cost business model, based on high seating density and aircraft utilization at low fares, has triggered key changes in the vigorously competitive industry. With both short- and long-haul flights, LCCs are the driving force in the passenger air transportation business. According to Airbus Group, the global market share of low-cost carriers is expected to grow to 21 percent in 2034.


In the United States, LCCs hold almost 30 percent of the domestic market. Overall, Southwest was ranked first among the leading airlines in the U.S., with a market share of 19.1 in 2016, followed by legacy carriers Delta and American Airlines. With flights to more than 97 destinations, Southwest transported passengers over 124 billion miles, had a capacity of around 148.5 billion available seat miles (ASMs) and reported net profits of over 2.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. JetBlue Airways was ranked fifth, with a domestic market share of 5.5 percent and operating revenue streams of 6.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2016.

Of particular interest is the emergence of the ultra-low cost carriers (ULLCs), like Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines or Allegiant Air in the U.S. domestic market, all of which are benefiting from the low jet fuel prices. Based on its ultra-low cost business model, Spirit Airlines provides unbundled base fares with the option of booking other ancillary air-related products. It’s currently serving 59 destinations in the United States, Caribbean and Latin America. The company reported operating revenue streams of over 2.3 billion U.S. dollars from transporting passengers over more than 21 billion miles in 2016.

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Low-cost carrier market in the United States - Important statistics

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