I have been trying to obtain information on the number of commercial passenger aircraft (i.e. jetliners) that US airline companies have compared with the number airlines for the whole rest of the world have. That is, if the US has x number of commercial passenger aircraft, how many do all other countries combined have (is it 5x, 10x, ...)?

I would think that the rest of the world has perhaps 5-10 times more commercial passenger planes than US airlines do, but I can't find information about this on the FAA website.

Any references/guidance is appreciated.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Try doing some research beyond just the FAA (which is responsible for only one of the 120+ countries in the world). The nerds who contribute to Wikipedia have created pages including fleet size information for most of the airlines in existence. Find all the airlines, sum their fleets by country, and you should at least have an order-of-magnitude sense of what the answer is. $\endgroup$
    – nobody
    Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 1:26

1 Answer 1


There is a convenient WP list of commercial jet airliners with numbers in service, though I believe this also includes cargo variants. It totals about 27,700 aircraft as of July 2020.

The US Bureau of Transport Statistics collect data from US airlines; one of the datasets they publish is Form 41 Financial Data, where "large air carriers" (revenues over \$20m) give general financial reports each year. Schedule B-43 lists an inventory of aircraft in those airlines. We can probably assume that not many airlines with under \$20m revenues operate a significant number of jet airliners.

A very quick and dirty count finds that as of 2020, US airlines reported 7117 operational aircraft, 4029 of which had a capacity of >100 seats and 5249 had >50 seats. All of these except 32x 70-seat Dash 8s seem to be jets, so let's take that as a cut-off for "jet airliners" - 5237 of them.

This suggests that US airlines have approximately 20% of the world's jet airliners, right at the higher end of your estimate. The number is probably variable by a few percent either way depending on how you account for cargo aircraft in the totals, but even a generous estimate here would suggest the US airlines do not go above about 25%.


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