The Top 10 Airlines in Latin America
In a nutshell, air travel in Latin America has seen a substantial amount of growth in the last couple of years. The industry-wide revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) increased by 9.5% year-on-year in March 2018 (the fastest pace since March 2017) and well above the five-year average rate (6.8%). Overall, global RPKs grew by 7.2% in year-on-year terms during the first quarter of 2018, which is broadly in line with the pace seen in the same period a year ago according to the Air Passenger Market Analysis.
In 2017, the leading Latin American airlines transported around 225.8 million passengers within Latin America, and the data was collected from the following airlines: Aerolíneas Argentinas (includes Austral), Aeromar, AeroMéxico, AeroMéxico Connect, Avianca, Copa Airlines, CopaAirlines Colombia, GOL, Insel Air, LATAM Airlines Group, and Volaris. Given that data, the top Latin American airlines were determined by the highest number of passengers accommodated over the period of a year.
LATAM Airlines Group S.A. is the parent company for the Santiago, Chile-based LAN Airlines and Sao Paulo, Brazil-based TAM, along with affiliate carriers in Peru, Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador.
The combined carriers serve 140 destinations in 24 countries and cargo services to about 144 destinations in 26 countries, with a fleet of 328 aircraft and approximately 53,000 employees.
Gol Airlines is based in Sao Paulo, Brazil and is a low-cost carrier. Gol has been in business for 15 years, and it offers what it calls the most extensive and convenient route network in South America and the Caribbean,
Gol completes nearly 900 flights a day to 62 destinations, both domestic and international, in 13 countries.
3. Avianca Airlines
Avianca is a Colombia-based carrier that was originally founded in 1919 and is a part of Avianca Holdings S.A. It serves more than 100 destinations in 27 countries in South America and Europe, with hubs in Bogota, El Salvador, and Lima.
4. Azul Linhas Aereas
This Barueri, Brazil-based carrier was formed in May 2008 by David Neeleman, the founder of New York-based JetBlue Airways. The low-cost airline claims to have the largest airline network in Brazil in terms of cities served. Azul Linhas has service to more than 100 destinations and began flying to the United States in 2015.
5. Aerolineas Argentinas
Formed in 1949, Argentina’s flag carrier is based in Bueno Aires and has been run by the government since 2008. The carrier serves more than 30 domestic and more than 20 international destinations in Europe, the Americas, and Australasia with a fleet of 54 aircraft.
Mexico’s flag carrier airline operates more than 600 flights a day to more than 80 cities on four continents. Aeromexico serves 45 destinations in Mexico, 16 in the United States, 16 in Latin America, three in Europe, three in Canada, and two in Asia.
Its fleet of more than 120 aircraft includes the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, 777 and 737 jets, the Embraer ERJ-145, E170, E175, and E190s.
The flag carrier of Ecuador, founded in 1962, serves nearly 6,000 passengers a day, using a fleet of 20 aircraft: 10 Airbuses (A330, A320, A319), four Embraer E190s, three ATR 42-500s, and three Kodiaks.
This carrier, formerly known as TACA Airlines, is a subsidiary of Avianca Holdings S.A. It serves 50 destinations around the world with a fleet of 58 aircraft.
This Panama-based carrier, founded in 1947, operates 326 daily flights to 73 destinations in 31 countries in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean. It operates a fleet of 103 Boeing and Embraer jets.
This Medellin-based carrier started flying in May 2012 and currently serves 16 destinations in Columbia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and the United States. Viva Columbia currently operates 14 Airbus A320-200s, with more on the way.