Visualizing Well-Known Airlines by Fleet Composition
How many airplanes do the world’s major airlines utilize in their fleets, and which models do they prefer?
Some prefer newer planes, such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner which came into service in the 2010s. Others prefer large planes, like the Airbus A380 , the world’s largest passenger aircraft. A few carriers, like Air France–KLM, opt for variety. The airline uses 16 different active models. This contrasts with Southwest Airlines, which utilizes a single model in its fleet.
This series of graphics visualizes some of the world’s most well-known airliners by fleet composition, using fleet data from Planespotters.net as of May 26, 2022.
How Many Planes Are in Airline Fleets?
Each plane in a fleet is tracked in meticulous detail, from its start of service date and age, to its registration number and current status.
Above we visualized the parent airline’s current fleets, which includes planes that are either in service or parked for future service. They do not include retired planes (the historic fleet) or future planes on order.
From conglomerates to flag carriers, here are some of the world’s most well-known airline fleets:
U.S. based airlines were far and away the largest aircraft carriers, with American Airlines being the world’s largest airline by fleet size since 2019. Interestingly, Delta Airlines was the largest by revenue in 2020, despite a smaller fleet size.
Asia’s largest airline has been China Southern, in both fleet size, revenue, and passengers carried. Together with China Eastern and the flag carrier Air China, it is part of China’s “Big Three” airlines.
But smaller airlines aren’t any less important, or lucrative. The slightly smaller fleet size of International Airlines Group (IAG), which was formed from a merger between flag carriers British Airways and Iberia, includes planes that fly on the world’s highest grossing routes. They’re joined on the list by other smaller fleets including UAE airliner Emirates, Singapore Airlines (often ranked as the world’s best airline), and Air Canada.
Boeing, Airbus, and Other Aircraft Manufacturers
The story of airline fleets usually breaks down to the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers, Europe’s Airbus and America’s Boeing.
By outlasting key competitors and mergers in a difficult industry, the duopoly has solidified a grasp on the commercial aircraft sector. In 2019, they were estimated to control a combined 91% of the global commercial aircraft market.
Which manufacturers do the world’s popular airlines utilize? Here’s a breakdown of the same airlines from above, this time by manufacturer share:
|Share of Airline Fleets by Manufacturer (Oct 2021)||Airbus||Boeing||Other|
|All Nippon Airways (ANA)||18.7%||81.3%||0.0%|
Notably, European and Asian airlines have emerged as slightly bigger Airbus customers, while American carriers favor Boeing. There are also standouts, such as Southwest Airlines’ utilization of just one make, the Boeing 737.
And a few carriers used aircraft from other manufacturers as well. Brazil’s Embraer saw usage in IAG and Air France–KLM, making up 17% of the latter’s total fleet. Bombardier‘s CJR planes, formerly produced by the Canadian manufacturer but now owned by the Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, saw use by IAG, Air France–KLM, and Lufthansa. The Airbus A220 was also originally a Bombardier plane before being acquired by the European manufacturer in 2018.
China Southern Airlines was the only other airline to feature a different manufacturer’s plane in its active fleet, the ARJ21. Also known as the Xiangfeng (literally “soaring phoenix”), it was developed by Chinese state-owned manufacturer Comac and first introduced into service in 2016.
What Will Airlines Use in the Future?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Airbus was starting to outperform Boeing in market share.
In 2019, the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX model after two crashes saw 387 active aircraft grounded and 1,200 canceled orders, a debacle that could go down as the most costly corporate blunder in history.
Soon after, Airbus took the global market share lead in new orders, with the Airbus A320 becoming the world’s highest selling family of aircraft in October 2019. But the COVID-19 pandemic quickly followed and severely impacted the entire aviation industry.
As countries, airliners, and manufacturers look to bounce back and recover, fleet compositions are sure to change in coming years.
Sharpen Your Thinking with These 10 Powerful Cognitive Razors
Here are 10 razors, or rules of thumb, that help simplify decision-making, inspired by a list curated by the investor and thought leader Sahil Bloom.
Improve Your Decision-Making with These 10 Cognitive Razors
The average adult makes about 35,000 conscious decisions each day.
Given this sheer volume of choice, how do we ensure we’re making the right decisions, day in and day out, without becoming exhausted?
Using insights from investor and thought leader Sahil Bloom, this graphic shares 10 cognitive razors, or rules of thumb, that can help you simplify your decision-making.
We’ve organized Bloom’s favorite cognitive razors into three overarching categories, which we dive into in further detail below.
Location, Location, Location
The first theme is location, and the importance of being at the right place at the right time.
The Luck Razor falls into this category because it highlights the importance of putting yourself out there. According to the Luck Razor, when choosing between two paths, pick the one with the largest “luck surface area,” or the path that offers you the most opportunity to get lucky.
This is because when you’re networking, meeting people, and building new relationships, you’re much more likely to stumble upon an opportunity than if you were sitting on your couch, not taking action.
The Rooms Razor follows a similar theme because it emphasizes the importance of your surroundings. It stresses that, if you have a choice between two rooms to walk into, choose the one where you’re most likely to be the dumbest person in the room.
While it’s a bit of an uncomfortable situation, it provides a greater opportunity for growth, as long as you check your ego at the door and listen to what others have to say.
Lastly, the Arena Razor reminds us that when we want something, we need to take the necessary steps to make it happen.
For instance, if you want to become a social media influencer, you need to start creating content and posting it online. It’s not easy to put yourself out there and take action, but if you want to play the game, you need to be in the arena.
The Power of Positive Thinking
The next theme is the power of mindset and positive thinking. This relates to how you view your life, the people you choose to surround yourself with, and how you interpret the actions and opinions of others.
According to the Gratitude Razor, when in doubt, don’t hesitate to show your gratitude to people who have supported you, or given you advice or opportunities.
Research studies have shown that expressing gratitude and giving thanks can be correlated with greater happiness, improved health, and stronger more meaningful relationships. So make sure to say thank you regularly, and tell your loved ones how much you appreciate their support.
It’s not just your mindset that’s important, though. The Optimist Razor recommends surrounding yourself with optimists, rather than pessimists. Pessimists may point out everything that could go wrong in a scenario, which might discourage you to break out of your comfort zone.
Optimism, on the other hand, will emphasize everything that could go right—and may even help you problem solve if you encounter problems along the way.
Keep Decision-Making Simple, Silly
The last one is quite simple, really: don’t overcomplicate things.
Occam’s Razor, which is named after the 14th-century scholar Franciscan friar William of Ockham, is generally interpreted as the following: when faced with a decision between two competing theories that generate the same outcome, the simplest theory is often the best one.
As Bloom says in this blog post, “simple assumptions [over] complex assumptions. If you have to believe a complex, intertwined series of assumptions in order to reach one specific conclusion, always ask whether there is a simple alternative assumption that fits.”
The ability to make things simple is also a good indicator of how deeply you understand something. According to the Feynman Razor, if you can’t explain a concept simply, then you don’t really understand it. So, if someone uses a ton of jargon or complexity to explain something, they could be masking a lack of deeper knowledge on the topic.
Editor’s note: For more information on cognitive razors and simplifying your decision-making, check out Sahil Bloom’s newsletter, or listen to his podcast episode where he talks about the most powerful razors he’s discovered so far in life.
Every Mission to Mars in One Visualization
This graphic shows a timeline of every mission to Mars since 1960, highlighting which ones have been successful and which ones haven’t.
Timeline: A Historical Look at Every Mission to Mars
Within our Solar System, Mars is one of the most similar planets to Earth—both have rocky landscapes, solid outer crusts, and cores made of molten rock.
Because of its similarities to Earth and proximity, humanity has been fascinated by Mars for centuries. In fact, it’s one of the most explored objects in our Solar System.
But just how many missions to Mars have we embarked on, and which of these journeys have been successful? This graphic by Jonathan Letourneau shows a timeline of every mission to Mars since 1960 using NASA’s historical data.
A Timeline of Mars Explorations
According to a historical log from NASA, there have been 48 missions to Mars over the last 60 years. Here’s a breakdown of each mission, and whether or not they were successful:
|1||1960||Korabl 4||USSR (flyby)||Failure|
|2||1960||Korabl 5||USSR (flyby)||Failure|
|3||1962||Korabl 11||USSR (flyby)||Failure|
|4||1962||Mars 1||USSR (flyby)||Failure|
|5||1962||Korabl 13||USSR (flyby)||Failure|
|6||1964||Mariner 3||US (flyby)||Failure|
|7||1964||Mariner 4||US (flyby)||Success|
|8||1964||Zond 2||USSR (flyby)||Failure|
|11||1969||Mariner 6||US (flyby)||Success|
|12||1969||Mariner 7||US (flyby)||Success|
|15||1971||Mars 2 Orbiter/Lander||USSR||Failure|
|16||1971||Mars 3 Orbiter/Lander||USSR||Success/Failure|
|20||1973||Mars 6 Orbiter/Lander||USSR||Success/Failure|
|21||1973||Mars 7 Lander||USSR||Failure|
|22||1975||Viking 1 Orbiter/Lander||US||Success|
|23||1975||Viking 2 Orbiter/Lander||US||Success|
|24||1988||Phobos 1 Orbiter||USSR||Failure|
|25||1988||Phobos 2 Orbiter/Lander||USSR||Failure|
|27||1996||Mars Global Surveyor||US||Success|
|31||1998||Mars Climate Orbiter||US||Failure|
|32||1999||Mars Polar Lander||US||Failure|
|33||1999||Deep Space 2 Probes (2)||US||Failure|
|35||2003||Mars Express Orbiter/Beagle 2 Lander||ESA||Success/Failure|
|36||2003||Mars Exploration Rover - Spirit||US||Success|
|37||2003||Mars Exploration Rover - Opportunity||US||Success|
|38||2005||Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter||US||Success|
|39||2007||Phoenix Mars Lander||US||Success|
|40||2011||Mars Science Laboratory||US||Success|
|42||2013||Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution||US||Success|
|43||2013||Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)||India||Success|
|44||2016||ExoMars Orbiter/Schiaparelli EDL Demo Lander||ESA/Russia||Success/Failure|
|45||2018||Mars InSight Lander||US||Success|
|47||2020||Tianwen-1 Orbiter/Zhurong Rover||China||Success|
|48||2020||Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover||US||Success|
The first mission to Mars was attempted by the Soviets in 1960, with the launch of Korabl 4, also known as Mars 1960A.
As the table above shows, the voyage was unsuccessful. The spacecraft made it 120 km into the air, but its third-stage pumps didn’t generate enough momentum for it to stay in Earth’s orbit.
For the next few years, several more unsuccessful Mars missions were attempted by the USSR and then NASA. Then, in 1964, history was made when NASA launched the Mariner 4 and completed the first-ever successful trip to Mars.
The Mariner 4 didn’t actually land on the planet, but the spacecraft flew by Mars and was able to capture photos, which gave us an up-close glimpse at the planet’s rocky surface.
Then on July 20, 1976, NASA made history again when its spacecraft called Viking 1 touched down on Mars’ surface, making it the first space agency to complete a successful Mars landing. Viking 1 captured panoramic images of the planet’s terrain, and also enabled scientists to monitor the planet’s weather.
Vacation to Mars, Anyone?
To date, all Mars landings have been done without crews, but NASA is planning to send humans to Mars by the late 2030s.
And it’s not just government agencies that are planning missions to Mars—a number of private companies are getting involved, too. Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX has a long-term plan to build an entire city on Mars.
Two other aerospace startups, Impulse and Relativity, also announced an unmanned joint mission to Mars in July 2022, with hopes it could be ready as soon as 2024.
As more players are added to the mix, the pressure is on to be the first company or agency to truly make it to Mars. If (or when) we reach that point, what’s next is anyone’s guess.
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