Top Competitors of Delta Airlines

Author- | Posted- | Updated: December 19, 2019 |

Delta Airlines: Leading Competitors in the US

Delta is one of the leading Airlines based in the United States. It has its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Based upon the number of passengers it carried throughout the year, Delta was the second-largest airline in the United States. According to the Department of Transportation, Delta Airlines carried around 152 million passengers throughout 2018. Its business is based on a hub and spoke model.

Delta has also partnered several other airline brands and entered into international agreements. Some of the leading partners of Delta Airlines include Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Air France, KLM, Aeromexico, Korea Airlines and Westjet. Delta has an industry-leading network which covers more than 300 destinations spread across more than 50 countries. Delta offers around 5000 daily departures as well as more than 15,000 affiliated departures. It was founded in 1925 and since then the company has grown into one of the largest global airline companies.

The operating revenue of Delta in 2018 reached $44.4 billion (Annual report, 2018). The US airline industry has grown highly competitive. Even after the deregulation in 1978, there are a number of barriers including high taxes as well as several other legal obstacles that are an obstruction to faster growth and profitability. There are many competitors in the market and higher competition leads to higher operational costs as well as higher pressure related to customer acquisition, revenue, and profitability. This is a list of some of the leading competitors of Delta Airlines.

Southwest Airlines:

Southwest Airlines is the largest airline company based in the U.S. which has operations across 40 US states and several more international destinations. The headquarters of Southwest Airlines is in Dallas Texas. The company does not employ a hub and spoke model like Delta. Instead, it uses a point-to-point service model. Southwest Airlines is known for its affordable pricing. To keep its fuel prices low, Southwest uses only Boeing 737 aircraft. Southwest Airlines is owned by Southwest Airlines Co. The operations of Southwest started in 1971 when it had only three Boeing aircraft. In 2018 Southwest was the largest domestic career, carrying the highest number of total passengers of all airlines operating in the United States. According to the Department of Transportation, Southwest carried around 163.6 million passengers. The US airline industry has grown highly competitive. Southwest and Delta are two of the biggest Airlines operating from the United States.

In 2018, Southwest employed 58,803 people. Its net revenue for 2018 was $21.97 billion and net income $2.5 billion. Southwest Airlines has a fleet size of 750 Boeing 737 aircraft. Its CEO is Gary Kelly.

American Airlines:

American Airlines is also one of the leading airline companies based in the United States. It is owned by American Airlines Group Inc (AAG). Like Southwest, American is also a leading competitor of Delta Airlines. AAG also owns other subsidiaries apart from American Airlines including the Envoy aviation group, PSA Airlines, and Piedmont Airlines. The group is headquartered at Fort Worth, Texas. Together the regional Airlines subsidiaries of American Airlines Group and its third-party regional carriers operate as the American Eagle. The group operates around 6,700 flights every day to around 350 locations spread across 50 countries.

In 2018, the entire American Airlines group carried more than 204 million passengers. According to the department of transportation, American Airlines alone carried more than 142 million passengers. As of December 31, 2018, the American Airlines group operated 956 aircraft. Apart from these, the regional subsidiaries and third-party carriers of the group operated 595 aircraft. In this way, the total number of aircraft the American Airlines group operates is 1,551. American Airlines is also among the founding members of the One World Alliance which includes British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM Airlines Group, Malaysia Airlines, and several more. The total operating revenue of the American Airlines Group for 2018 was $44.5 billion. Last year the group employed around 128,900 people.

United Airlines:

United Airlines is also one of the largest airlines based in the United States and a leading competitor of Delta Airlines. It is owned by United Continental Holdings Inc. Based on the department of transportation data, United Airlines carried more than 113 million passengers during 2018. United Airlines and United Express operate around 4900 flights together every day to 358 airports across five continents. Together the two operated around 1.7 million flights in 2018 which carried more than 158 million passengers. United is also among the founding members of the Star Alliance. This alliance provides its service to 195 countries and has 26 member Airlines. In the third quarter of 2019, United Airlines operated 788 and United Express 560 aircraft respectively. The net operating revenue of United Continental Holdings for the year 2018 was $41.3 billion and net income $2.13 billion. UAL and its subsidiaries employed more than 92,000 people in 2018, more than 23,000 of which were flight attendants.

Jetblue:

Jetblue was incorporated in Delaware in 1998. Its operations began in 2000. It is one of the leading airline companies located in the United States. Jetblue is also among one of the major competitors of Delta Airlines. Based on available seat miles, Jetblue was the sixth-largest carrier in the US during 2018. Overall Jetblue carried more than 42 million passengers throughout 2018 with around a hundred daily flights connecting more than 105 destinations across America, Caribbean, and Latin America. In 2018 Jetblue employed more than 22,000 people. Its fleet included 63 Airbus A321 aircraft as well as 138 Airbus A 320 aircraft and 60 of Embraer E 190 aircraft. The net operating revenue of Jetblue for 2018 was $7.7 billion and net income $188 million.

Skywest Airlines: 

 Skywest Airlines is also one of the leading competitors of Delta Airlines. It is one of the 10 biggest airline companies based in the United States. Skywest Inc is the holding company for Skywest Airlines as well as Skywest leasing company. Its fleet has nearly 500 aircraft. Based on the department of transportation data, Skywest carried around 39 million passengers during 2018. Skywest operates more than 2300 flights on a daily basis. It offers commercial flying services to various cities in North America. The route network of Skywest covers more than 250 destinations. Skywest has partnered with United, Delta, American, and Alaska Airlines to carry more than 40 million passengers each year. The headquarters of Skywest Airlines is in Saint George, Utah. The company employed around 15,900 employees in 2018. Its net operating revenue for 2018 was $3.2 billion and net income $280.4 million.

Alaska Airlines:

Alaska Airlines is also one of the leading airline groups based in the US. It is also a major competitor of Delta Airlines. Alaska Air Group (AAG) is a Delaware Corporation incorporated in 1982. It operates two airlines – Alaska and Horizon. Alaska Airlines was incorporated in 1937 in Alaska. However, the Alaska Air Group later acquired Horizon Air in 1986 and then Virgin Air in 2016. Last year, Virgin America and Alaska merged to become a single legal entity. However, Alaska and Horizon have continued to operate as two separate Airlines. Alaska Airlines with its regional partners offers flights to 115 destinations with more than 1200 daily flights and extensive route that covers the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica. In 2018, Alaska Air Group carried more than 46 million passengers. Based on the department of transportation data, Alaska Airlines alone carried more than 33.5 million passengers in 2018. The Alaska Air Group employed around 23,000 people. Its net operating revenue for 2018 was $8.3 billion and net income $437 million (Alaska Annual Report, 2018).

Spirit:

In recent years, the US airline industry has experienced fast growth in the number of ultra-low-cost carriers. Spirit Airlines is among the four leading Ultra-low-cost Carriers operating from the United States. The headquarters of Spirit Airlines is in Miramar, Florida. The fleet of Spirit Airlines is composed of only Airbus aircraft models. Its fleet is also considered to be one of the most fuel-efficient fleets in the entire US airline industry. Spirit offers more than 500 daily flights to 72 destinations across 62 countries which include the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Spirit Airlines was founded in 1964 when it was named Clippert trucking company. Its operations began in 1990 and the company was renamed spirit Airlines inc in 1992.

Spirit is also one of the leading competitors of Delta Airlines. Data provided by the department of transportation shows that spirit Airlines carried 28.7 million passengers during 2018. Its network covers 279 markets with 72 airports in the US, Latin America, and the Caribbean. its fleet has only A 320 family aircraft which has helped the company achieve operational efficiency and cost advantage by reducing fuel expenses. By the end of 2018, the fleet of Spirit Airlines had grown to 128 single-aisle aircraft. In 2018, the company employed 7,110 people and its net revenue was $3.3 billion. The net income of Spirit for 2018 was $155.7 million.

Frontier:

 Frontier Airlines is also one of the major competitors of Delta Airlines. It is one of the four leading Ultra-low-cost carriers in the United States. The headquarters of Frontier Airlines is in Denver, Colorado. Frontier employs more than 3,000 people. It is the 8th largest commercial airline in the US aviation industry. Frontier operates flights to more than 100 destinations all across the US as well as 6 more countries. Frontier airline was founded in 1994. It has 98 aircraft in its fleet. The network of Frontier covers 112 destinations. The parent company of Frontier is Indigo Partners LLC. The operating revenue of the company in 2018 was $2.156 billion and its net income was $83 million. Based on data from the Department of Transportation Frontier carried 19.4 million people in 2018. It is one of the top 10 Airlines operating in the United States and also among the leading competitors of Delta Airlines.

Republic: 

Republic Airlines is a regional Airline subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings which operates as American Eagle, Delta connection, and United Express. Republic is also a leading competitor of Delta Airlines. It has its headquarters in Indianapolis. The fleet of Republic Airlines includes 200 Embraer 171/175 aircraft. Republic Airlines offers scheduled passenger service across a hundred cities in 40 US states as well as Canada, the Caribbean, and Central America. It offers more than 1000 flights daily. Another important thing about Republic Airways is that it provides fixed-fee flights. Republic employs more than 6000 people. Based on data from the department of transportation, the Republic carried more than 18.6 million people during 2018.

Abhijeet Pratap

Abhijeet has been blogging on educational topics and business research since 2016. He graduated with a Hons. in English literature from BRABU and an MBA from the Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi. He likes to blog and share his knowledge and research in business management, marketing, literature and other areas with his readers.