What are the fastest-growing airlines in the world?

Routesonline analyses the world’s fastest-growing major airlines by capacity during August and reveals the carriers that have added the largest volume of seats during the month.

Iraqi Airways, the national carrier of Iraq, grew total capacity at the fastest rate of all major airlines in August 2017 after adding more than 150,000 available seats. 

According to figures from OAG, the airline's capacity grew at a rate of 58.6 percent to 411,859 seats, compared with 259,604 during the previous month. The increase came after the carrier upped the month-on-month frequency of its flights from 1,894 to 2,414. A total of 73 percent of Iraqi Airways' destinations in August were overseas. 

Iraqi Airways international route network (August 2017):

Iraqi August 2017

The growth of Iraqi Airways comes less than a year after Lufthansa Consulting signed an agreement with the Iraqi government to support the country’s economic growth and develop a modern aviation industry. The project has focused on restructuring the national carrier and the civil aviation authority (ICAA) and on optimising Iraq’s airports.

Singaporean low-cost long-haul airline Scoot ranked second in the list of fastest-growing carriers during August after increasing available seat capacity by 31.6 percent. Ata Airlines, the Iranian airline based in Tabriz International Airport, was third and Indian low-cost carrier (LCC) AirAsia India fourth. South Korean LCC Jin Air, which hopes to raise more than $250m through a stock market flotation later this year, completed the top five. 

The list of fastest-growing airlines ranks the capacity percentage growth of carriers with more than 250,000 available seats during August. 

In terms of overall capacity increase, SAS Scandinavian Airlines topped the table after adding 342,438 seats during August compared with July. The flag carrier of Sweden, Norway and Denmark upped its flight frequency from 22,603 to 24,809. Its Stockholm Arlanda-Copenhagen service was the route with most capacity at 120,772 available seats. 

Completing the top five were Delta Air Lines (335,700 increase), All Nippon Airways (281,441), Scoot (220,372) and United Airlines (182,014).

The data

World's top ten fastest-growing major airlines ( % capacity rise from July-August 2017)
  Jul-17 total capacity Aug-17 total capacity % growth 
Iraqi Airways 259604 411859 58.6%
Scoot 696450 916822 31.6%
Ata Airlines 219679 280436 27.7%
AirAsia India 398880 490320 22.9%
Jin Air 741366 910284 22.8%
Red Wings Airlines 310320 359840 16.0%
Braathens Regional Aviation 223479 254783 14.0%
Blue Panorama Airlines 267811 299745 11.9%
SAS Scandinavian Airlines 3068206 3410644 11.2%
Urumqi Airlines 241653 267848 10.8%
World's top ten airlines by total capacity growth (increase of available seats from July-August 2017)
Airline Jul-17 total capacity Aug-17 total capacity Capacity increase
SAS Scandinavian Airlines 3068206 3410644 342438
Delta Air Lines 20680995 21016695 335700
All Nippon Airways 6389877 6671318 281441
Scoot 696450 916822 220372
United Airlines 16898367 17080381 182014
Jin Air 741366 910284 168918
Saudi Arabian Airlines 3896775 4063519 166744
China Southern Airlines 10739694 10906349 166655
Norwegian Air Shuttle 1971714 2131680 159966
Iraqi Airways 259604 411859 152255

World Routes 2017

The 23rd World Route Development Forum
Barcelona, Catalonia • 23 - 26 September 2017

Confirmed speakers include: 

Willie Walsh

Willie Walsh



Olivier Jankovec

Director General
ACI Europe

Vincent Hodder

Vincent Hodder

Chief Commercial Officer 

View the programme

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