How the Airlines Rank

Copa Airlines Ranked Number One - Photo Courtesy of Bernal Saborio

Copa Airlines Ranked Number One – Photo Courtesy of Bernal Saborio

June 6, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)

Every year, Aviation Week ( ranks the Top Performing Airlines (TPA). This year, smaller and mid-sized airlines were among some of the best ranking in the Top-Ten overall category. Aviation Week bases their rankings on four criteria: financial health, earnings performance, capital efficiency and business model performance.


Mid-size airline, Copa Airlines, ranked number one, having the highest overall score. Aviation Week reports that Copa is a stronger contender every year in the TPA rankings and this year they were in the Top-Ten spot in all five of the TPA’s categories. Based in Panama, Copa Airlines has a geographic advantage, as Panama City is a connection-hub for other U.S. and Latin American airlines. Aviation week reports operating in a stable country with a good economy, combined with an “effective business plan,” is the reason for their success. The second highest-ranking airline is Allegiant Air. Allegiant ranked number one last year but was edged out by Copa this year. Allegiant flies primarily to leisure destinations, uses older aircraft, and has a low-cost business model, which keeps them a leader in U.S. air carriers.


How did the U.S. Airlines Rank?

Top 10 North American Airlines:


  1. Allegiant Air
  2. Spirit Airlines
  3. Alaska Airlines
  4. West Jet
  5. Delta
  6. Air Transat
  7. Southwest Airlines
  8. Republic Airways
  9. Chorus-Jazz Air
  10. American Airlines


U.S. carriers, Delta and American Airlines, had significant increases in the ranking compared to last year’s report, whereas United has struggled to make it in the Top 10. The TPA rankings can’t quite tell how the American Airlines – US Airways merger will affect American Airlines’ business yet. There will be more conclusive data on next year’s ranking report.


Internationally, in the Asia-Pacific category, the number one airline was Japan Airlines (JAL) which underwent bankruptcy and reorganization three years ago and turned their business around. They are able to edge out the competition by being able to keep operating costs low. In the Top-10 European category, EasyJet was number one. EasyJet is a low-cost provider that has gained popularity among business travelers. Number one in Latin America was Copa.








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