Dubai-based Emirates airline has maintained its ranking as the world’s largest carrier by international traffic for the second consecutive year in 2010, according to International Air Transport Association (Iata) figures released on Tuesday.
The figures confirm Emirates Group Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum’s recent statement that the carrier is world's largest airline by scheduled international passenger kilometres flown.
Lufthansa maintained its second rank in terms of international traffic but Delta Air Lines made a remarkable recovery jumping from ninth position in 2009 to third last year. China South Airlines also made into the top 10 for the first time in 2010, according to Iata statistics.
In terms of combined international and domestic passenger kilometres flown, Emirates saw its rank jumping from seventh in 2009 to fourth last year.
A passenger kilometre is a unit to measure traffic by multiplying the number of passengers by the number of kilometres each passenger has flown; a similar measure is used for cargo.
With 151 wide-bodied jets, Dubai-based airline has one of the world's largest long-haul fleets and has an additional 193 aircraft on order.
Last month Emirates announced that its profits soared 52 per cent to $1.5 billion (Dh5.5bn) in the 12 months to March 31.
Figures showed that Emirates is the only Middle Eastern carrier among the world’s top 15 airlines in terms of passenger-kilometres flown and freight tonne-kilometres.
Globally, Delta Air Lines overtook American Airlines as the world's largest carrier by traffic both domestic and international, according to the 2010 rankings. United Airlines ranked third followed by Emirates, Lufthansa, Continental Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Air France, China Southern Airlines and British Airways.