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American Airlines Dropped Some Amazing Stats At Its Media Day

Sept. 28, 2017
4 min read
American Airlines Dropped Some Amazing Stats At Its Media Day
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On Thursday, American Airlines held its first Media and Investor Day since its merger with US Airways. A lot of news came out of it, from an admission that basic economy means higher fares to the announcement that the 737 and A321 fleets would be "harmonized," reducing seat pitch while doing so, new bedding and pajamas and more.

Among all of the announcements, the world's largest airline had quite a few jaw-dropping stats that we just had to share:

1. 1.5 Billion AAdvantage Miles Are Earned or Redeemed Each Day

AA President Robert Isom casually dropped this stunning stat. That's 1,500,000,000 miles per day or over 500 billion miles earned or redeemed per year. If half of those are redemptions, to put in perspective, that's around 60,000 domestic one-way MileSAAver economy awards per day or — more realistically — 37,500 domestic one-way AAnytime economy awards redeemed per day.

2. Only 13% of American Airlines Flyers Fly More Than Once Per Year

AA Customer Stats

I'm glad that American Airlines put this stat on a slide, or I would have thought that I misheard it. A stunning 87% of AA passengers fly "once a year or less." With this many infrequent fliers in the skies, the airline faces a massive challenge communicating things frequent travelers know well, whether it's American Airlines' 9-group boarding process or the best way to check in or to handle the inevitable delays.

3. American Airlines Serves 500,000 Passengers per Day

Another stat from the slide above: as the world's largest airline by passengers flown, American Airlines serves half a million passengers per day. And those passengers fly on a massive network...

4. AA Serves 350 Destinations, 1,050 Nonstops and 35,000 Markets

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AA network stats

When you consider all of the possible connections, this nets a jaw-dropping 35,000 individual markets. That's 35,000 city pairings you can fly between wholly on American Airlines and its American Eagle regional partners.

5. AA and Its Close Partners Serve 990 Destinations and 2,800 Nonstops

AA and close partner markets

When you add in American Airlines' joint ventures and codeshares, those numbers jump even higher. Between American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, LATAM, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and China Southern, AA's network reaches 990 destinations across 2,800 direct routes.

AA network vs Spirit and Southwest

When comparing that market to point-to-point airlines like Southwest and Spirit, American Airlines boasts an incredible network.

6. AA & US Air Only Made $1 Billion in Profits Total from 1978 to 2013

AA pre-merger profits

As Richard Branson joked, "If you want to be a millionaire, start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline." Sure enough, the aviation world has had a rocky past when it comes to profitability. But, it's wild to see just this graphed out. If you combine American Airlines' and US Airways' profits and losses from 1978 to 2013, they only made $1 billion in profits — and that's only due to a profitable 2013. Otherwise, the net total would be a loss.

7. ...But American Airlines Made $19.2 Billion in Profits from 2014 to 2017 (estimated)

AA post-merger profits

However, ever since the merger, American Airlines has been incredibly profitable. American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said that executive bonuses are structured around the assumption of $5 billion of profit per year as the new baseline.

8. American Airlines Will Spend $22.9 Billion in Improvements from 2014 to 2017

AA Capital Improvements by year

All of these profits come amidst an incredible amount of investment in American Airlines' products. Between aircraft retrofits and renovating lounges, American Airlines has invested over $5.7 billion per year in its products. This investment gives American Airlines fleet a value of $26.4 billion (as of Q2 2017) vs. $16.6 billion at United and $12.4 billion at Delta.

This article has been updated to reflect the correction from American Airlines that the 1.5 billion figure is a combination of the miles earned and the miles redeemed each day. A request for a breakout of the two figures was denied.