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Airlines are those airlines or airlines engaged in the transport of passengers or cargo by the use of airplanes.

The first airline to emerge is St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat (SPT Airboat Line) in 1913. The first of the European airlines emerged with KLM in 1919 and made the first flight in 1920 between London and Amsterdam.

The American continent saw the birth of its first American airlines in 1919 with Avianca, an acronym for Aerovías del Continente Americano and its origin dates back to the company Sociedad Colombo Alemana de Transporte Aéreo SCADTA, whose later merger with the Colombian Air service gave rise to Avianca in 1940.

Within the airlines are those companies that perform the air transport of people or cargo on a regular basis, known as regular airlines, and those that operate their flights as previously agreed, as is the case of those that operate charter flights.

Other airlines by region are the African airlines among which Ethiopian Airlines stands out.

This distinction between regular and charter airlines also occurs in dedicated airlines, depending on whether they operate their flights on a regular or occasional basis.

There are also flag airlines, in which governments hold a stake that may be partial or over the entire company.

With the privatizations the market has been liberalized giving rise to the appearance of new airlines that compete directly with the traditional ones.

Classification of airlines

As a general rule, they are classified according to the network of destinations they operate and the level of services they offer to their passengers.

Regional airlines

Regional airlines are those that maintain short- and medium-range aircraft in their fleet and generally operate domestic flights.

Network airlines

Network airlines are the most common and are characterized by operating within their fleet aircraft of different sizes with which they cover both regional flights and international flights, combining their network of destinations with long and short-haul flights making use of hubs or hubs between flights.

Global airlines

Global airlines are those whose main objective is to cover high-density flights or long-duration flights between International Airports of different countries. Their destination networks affect several continents in the same flight for which they have high-capacity long-range aircraft to cover their routes.

These include several Asian airlines such as Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Air China, Air Asia, among others.

Low cost or low cost airlines

With the different privatizations of flag airlines has emerged a new economic model, known as low cost airlines or Low Cost (LCC), as well as a model of ultra low cost airline ULCC, which is characterized by having fares with hardly any service included and therefore have a higher cost of airfare to have the right choice of seat, checked baggage, Wi-Fi, entertainment system or food on board, among others.

The basis and policy of the low-cost business is to offer cheap flight prices, unifying their fleets to obtain a greater reduction in costs and obtaining benefits for the auxiliary services they provide such as on-board sales, baggage check-in, rental of blankets or pillows, or any extra that may be required by the passenger in flight.

The first low-cost airline was born in the United States, when the first airline under this business model, Pacific Southwest Airlines, was created in 1949.

The low-cost airline model arrived in Europe with Ryanair in 1985 and then with EasyJet in 1991. Since the 90’s, the appearance of new airlines under this model has been increasing, having today a high acceptance in Spain.

At first, the low-cost airline business model was associated with short haul flights, although already at the end of 1970, the airline Laker Airways began to offer low-cost international flights, which have been joined by others such as Aer Lingus or Norwegian.

Norwegian Air Shuttle is an example of an airline that started its low-cost operations with regional or domestic flights and that to date has extended its route network to cover the whole of Europe. Its policy has led to a rapid expansion that has facilitated its incursion into America with transoceanic flights with the United States.

It has also disembarked in Latin America, where with its subsidiary Norwegian Air Argentina, it will make domestic flights in Argentina to also connect the country and the rest of South America with the European continent.

The emergence of this new model of airlines and the capture of a considerable number of passengers on their flights, has been the reason why large traditional airlines have ended up creating their own low-cost airline, as in the case of Iberia in Spain, with Iberia Express, Air Nostrum and Level, belonging to IAG, British Airways, Lufthansa that maintains Eurowings, Air France, based in Paris, with the recently launched in 2017 Joon, among others.