US Public Airlines - Revenue per Passenger

After analyzing revenue per employee among S&P 500 companies, we focus on the airline sector in this report, and analyze how much Revenue was generated per Passenger carried on US public airlines in 2016.

Despite recent scandals, United topped the list, earning $256 per passenger. The other major international US carriers - United, Hawaiian, Delta and American Airlines all generated over $200 per passenger. Low-cost carriers, such as Allegiant and JetBlue as well as mainly regional airline groups such as Alaska Air and SkyWest had lower revenue per passenger, with Skywest generating only $58 per passenger. 

The following table shows the Revenue per Passenger for the top US public airline companies.


Next, we analyzed the relationship between Revenue generation and other operating metrics, such as number of aircraft, destinations, daily flights and available seat mile.  Even though the major carriers tended to rank highest in most Revenue per operating metric, there was variation depending on the data points analyzed.


For revenue earned per aircraft in 2016, Hawaiian ranked highest, earning around $46.3 million per aircraft operated, followed by United with $29.7 million and Southwest Airlines with $28.2 million. The regional carriers Alaska Air Group, Allegiant and SkyWest made up the bottom of the ranking, with SkyWest again earning the least with $4.5 million per aircraft or ten times less than top-ranked Hawaiian.

The graph below shows how much Revenue per aircraft the US airlines generated in 2016.


Next, we looked at Revenue per destination, and here, the world’s largest low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines performed best, recording almost $202 million in Revenue per destination. Southwest was followed by major airlines Delta, American, and United, earning $123m, $115m and $108m respectively. Smaller low-cost carriers JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines ranked lowest with $66 million and $39 million in revenue per destination respectively.

The following graph shows which US public airlines made the most revenue per destination flown.


The next metric we analyzed, Revenue per daily flight in 2016, revealed a mix of low-cost and major airlines at both top and bottom of the table. The top three ranked airlines were Hawaiian, United, and JetBlue with $13 million, $8 million and $7 million in revenue per daily flight respectively.  Delta was the worst performing major airline, earning only ⅓ of its major competitor United, or $2.6m in revenue per daily flight. SkyWest again ranked lowest, with only $970,000 in Revenue per daily flight. 

Below you will find a ranking of the top performing US public airlines by revenue per daily flight.


Finally, we analyzed Revenue per available seat mile (ASM) in 2016.  ASM refers to an airline’s passenger holding capacity and is usually calculated by multiplying the number of seats available with the number of miles flown. The top-ranked airlines for revenue per ASM were the major airline carriers, Delta and American Airlines, earning $0.16 and $0.15 respectively. United, Southwest, and Hawaiian tied in 3rd place, earning $0.14 revenue per ASM each. SkyWest and Spirit Airlines ranked lowest earning only $0.09 in revenue per ASM. 

The following table shows the Revenue per Available Seat Mile for the top 10 US public airlines.


Overall, United was the best performing airline in our analysis, ranking in the top 3 of all analyzed metrics except for revenue per destination.  Southwest was the best performing low-cost carrier, outperforming its low-cost competitors whenever ranked against them and often even outranking major airline carriers in revenue per destination and revenue per aircraft.  SkyWest was the lowest performer by a significant margin, ranking within the bottom 2 of 4 out of 5 metrics and earning the last spot in 3 of the metrics. 

For a detailed comparison across major carriers, United, Delta and American, please click here.

For a detailed comparison across low-cost carriers, Allegiant, SkyWest, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines, please click here.




About Craft:

Craft is a machine-learning powered data and analytics platform building the ‘Source of Truth’ on companies, and mapping the global economy. We organize data from thousands of sources to provide comprehensive, up-to-date sector and company profiles, ranging from early-stage to the largest companies in the world.

As the economy and nature of work continue to undergo a massive transformation, Craft’s mission is to provide context and freely available tools to help people discover and evaluate companies and opportunities. Our platform is used for market and sector research, customer lead generation, competitive analysis and career search.
We welcome your feedback. Please feel free to contact us at

Track the past, present and future of companies

Other blog posts you may be interested in

7th Apr 2017

Cloudera’s IPO – Do investors still have high hopes for big data?Thumb 108c8598ab6b1280

Cloudera Inc. filed for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) a week ago to raise up to $200 million in its long-awaited public debut. Read More