Which are the world’s most profitable airlines, according to latest results and projections for the 2015 financial year? The first shock is that the seven most profitable are all US or European carriers.
The only Middle Eastern carrier on the list of the world’s Top 10 most profitable airlines is Emirates, and it comes in at number eight.
Rounding out the list after Emirates are two Chinese carriers, the only Asian airlines to reach the Top 10.
Of the various ways to work out profitability, the simplest is the sheer amount of profit made. That’s the formula InsiderMonkey.com took when it combined data from Yahoo Finance with information on airlines’ investor relations pages to assemble a list of the planet’s most profitable airlines, comparing the profits these companies made (or expect to make) in 2015.
The list of most profitable carriers on that basis includes a few surprises. Several US carriers that filed for bankruptcy protection since 2000 feature in the Top 10, namely American Airlines (which filed in 2012), Delta Air Lines (2005), and United Airlines (2002).
Here, in descending order, are the Top 10 Most Profitable:
- American Airlines Group
USD 4.18 billion.
Headquartered in Forth Worth, Texas. AMR Corporation and US Airways group merged in 2014 under the name American Airlines Group.
- International Airlines Group
USD 3.5 billion
British Airways and Iberia merged in 2011 under the International Airlines Group umbrella. The brands stay separate.
- Delta Airlines
USD 2.83 billion
Headquartered at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and one of the oldest American airlines.
- United Continental Holdings
USD 2.65 billion
United and Continental Airlines merged into United Continental Holdings in 2010. The airline is headquartered in Chicago.
- Southwest Airlines
USD 1.58 billion
The world’s biggest low-cost carrier is based in Dallas, Texas and flies to nearly 100 destinations.
USD 1.3 billion (estimated)
Irish carrier Ryanair expects to earn between EUR 1.18 and EUR 1.23 billion during its current fiscal year ending 31 March 2016. Ryanair and Lufthansa rank 6 and 7 on the list but the ranking is based on estimates and could go either way.
USD 1.25 billion (estimated)
The German carrier expects to earn at least EUR 1.5 billion in adjusted EBITDA (adjusted earnings excluding interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation). Lufthansa and Ryanair rank 6 and 7 on the list but the ranking is based on estimates and could go either way.
- Emirates Airlines
USD 1.2 billion
Dubai-based Emirates Airlines is a commercial partner of Qantas and flies to 148 destinations. It is the world’s biggest international carrier.
- Air China
USD 1.15 billion (estimated)
Beijing-based Air China is expected to announce a profit of about USD 1 billion during the first nine months of 2015.
- China Eastern Airlines
USD 1.05 billion
China Eastern Airlines, based in Shanghai, is expected to announce about CNY 5.3 billion (or about USD 860 million) in the first 9 months of this year.
Written by Peter Needham