The aviation industry has always been a turbulent one, with airlines constantly on their toes to try and turn a profit. While the last two years have been tough, to express the least, it is not able to look back at the most profitable airline and airline groups before the pandemic.
Here are the top five
The carrier reports a net income of $1.69 billion in 2019, on the back of an income of $45.7 billion that year. Since the pandemic, America has simplified operations and is hoping to decrease long-term costs, hopefully aiding its profit margins in the future as well.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines may not be well-known outside North America, but the low-cost pioneer has a history of delivering profitable results. In 2019, Southwest said a net income of $2.3 billion, continuing a five-decade streak of profitability. While the pandemic has dragged the carrier into the red for the first time in memory, there is little doubt they will bounce back soon.
If you don’t know this Spanish group, you might be forgiven. IAG is the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, Vueling, and several other European airline companies. The group brought in €2.4 billion ($2.5bn) in 2019, with premium travel and summer requests driving up numbers across its airline portfolio. The massive profits put IAG ahead of its main European competitors, but the pandemic has brought a toll on the group, and its recovery is looking long-winded for now.
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Chicago-based United Airlines said a net income of $3 billion in 2019, cementing its status as one of the biggest players in the aviation industry. This was backed by a staggering $41 billion in income for the carrier, as corporate travel and strong international demand showed no signs of slowing. While the pandemic has changed things drastically, United will undoubtedly be expecting to return to its glory days as soon as possible.
Delta Air Lines
The prize for the most profitable airline in the world goes to none other than Delta Air Lines. The Atlanta-based megacarrier recorded net revenue of $4.76 billion in 2019 with an income of $47 billion, a huge margin of 10%.
Given the pressures of fuel costs and several other factors, Delta’s 10% gain margin is considered a benchmark and sets the airline apart from its competition in the US. With the pandemic now receding, Delta will be hoping its long-term bets will start to pay off and it can return to massive profits soon.
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