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Southwest Airlines "Largest Airline In The World"  
User currently offlineswa4life From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 385 posts, RR: 1
Posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 21945 times:

With all of the buzz going back and forth between DL and UA as who will become the largest carrier in the world, for what ever reason Southwest has been overlooked for this designation. Based on total enplanements (domestic and international) DL is currently #1 but is about to lose it's designation as #1 to the new United/Continental. However, based on those very same figures (see table 3 http://www.bts.gov/press_releases/20....html#table_01 ), the combined Southwest/AirTran numbers actually have a sizable lead on both carriers. So, how much would it burn DL and UA if Southwest started touting themselves as the "largest airline in the world".. lol..

Also it would appear that in 2009 Southwest quietly already was the largest airline in the world..

Keep in mind that these numbers (combined domestic/international) are indeed the ones that they use to determine who get's to have that designation.

100 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineNorthwest727 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 491 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 21829 times:

I'm no airline expert, but I am sure the marketing department can "play" with the word "largest."

"World's Largest Airline" due to:

Largest Fleet Size
Largest enplanements
Largest network of cities served

You get the message. Something tells me though that WN may want to avoid the use of the "worlds largest airline," since they always seem to tout themselves as the smaller, more friendlier alternative to the legacies.


User currently offlineVV701 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 7541 posts, RR: 17
Reply 2, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 21685 times:

Quoting Northwest727 (Reply 1):
"World's Largest Airline" due to:

Largest Fleet Size
Largest enplanements
Largest network of cities served


What about:

Revenue passenger km (miles)?


User currently offlinebiztravelr From Australia, joined Sep 2010, 15 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 21624 times:

Wikipedia's page covers this pretty well:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World%27s_largest_airlines


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25356 posts, RR: 22
Reply 4, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 21607 times:

Available seat miles is a more useful indication of airline size than number of passengers.

User currently offlineN685FE From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 451 posts, RR: 11
Reply 5, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 21579 times:

What ever happened to "Largest" meaning largest? Not some twist of words to imply XYZ airline is the largest of all airlines when they really aren't. When XYZ airline does nothing but one hour segments, sure they will have a higher passenger count then ABC airline that does 1000+ mile segments.


psp. lead by example
User currently offlinejetlanta From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 3297 posts, RR: 35
Reply 6, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 21524 times:

Quoting swa4life (Thread starter):
Keep in mind that these numbers (combined domestic/international) are indeed the ones that they use to determine who get's to have that designation.

In who's world??

RPM/RPK's is, and always will be, the standard.


User currently offlineAtlwest1 From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 1046 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 21514 times:

So the the question is raised, Shouldn't largest be Most know, widest network, fleet, routes, passenger miles, etc combined, not just one metric chosen?


ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co. or Airt
User currently offlineswa4life From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 385 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 21466 times:

Quoting biztravelr (Reply 3):
Wikipedia's page covers this pretty well:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World%2...lines

The numbers listed on that page do not seem consistent with the DOT numbers from here http://www.bts.gov/press_releases/20...53_10/html/bts053_10.html#table_01

I don't know why distance flown has any relevance. How far the planes fly doesn't make the airline larger. The other carrier's shorter domestic flights are being counted in their numbers as well. Southwest happens to fly only domestic, but they fly many more people than their nearest competitor domestic or otherwise.


User currently offlineswa4life From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 385 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 21451 times:

Quoting jetlanta (Reply 6):

RPM/RPK's is, and always will be, the standard.

In who's world?


User currently onlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17511 posts, RR: 45
Reply 10, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 21396 times:

Quoting swa4life (Reply 9):
In who's world?

Everyone who knows what their talking about. As in this is not even debatable.



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineswa4life From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 385 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 21333 times:

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 10):
Everyone who knows what their talking about. As in this is not even debatable.

Ehh well I disagree. Perhaps it is indeed the widely acknowledged way of deciding it, but only because it's the only way that the network carriers COULD justify it. Seems like a reach to me though. Just about the only way you could remove Southwest from the conversation is to bring flight distance into the equation. More passengers flown, period.. Seems like the most logical and common sense way to look at it.

As far as I know there is no exact science or acknowledged formula as if some governing body made the rule on exactly what constitutes the largest airline in the world. If Southwest WANTED to start calling themselves the largest airline in the world, I don't think the other airlines would have much success explaining their formula to the general public why they think they're bigger despite flying less people..

[Edited 2010-11-12 17:25:30]

User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25356 posts, RR: 22
Reply 12, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 21237 times:

Quoting swa4life (Reply 11):
More passengers flown, period.. Seems like the most logical and common sense way to look at it.

That's not the way the airline industry looks at it. The only logical statistic for airline size is the number of seats multiplied by the number of miles flown. That's an indication of total capacity (ASM/ASK) and reflects the route network, aircraft size, seating density, frequency etc.

When you only look at the number of passengers there are distortions. For example, a passenger making 2 connections each way on a round trip journey is counted as 6 passengers. On another airline that flies nonstop between the origin and destination he/she would only be counted as 2 passengers. Does that make the airline that can fly the passenger A-B-C-D with connections at B and C 3 times as big as the airline that flies A-D direct?


User currently onlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17511 posts, RR: 45
Reply 13, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 21238 times:

Quoting swa4life (Reply 11):
Seems like a reach to me though. Just about the only way you could remove Southwest from the conversation is to bring flight distance into the equation

If two carriers both carry one person, but one carries the person 100 miles and the other 1000, which one is bigger?



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlinejetlanta From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 3297 posts, RR: 35
Reply 14, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 21153 times:

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 10):
Everyone who knows what their talking about. As in this is not even debatable.

 
Quoting swa4life (Reply 11):
Ehh well I disagree.

You might disagree, but you are still wrong. United and Delta generate more than double the amount of revenue that Southwest generates. End of story.


Read this:

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...line-rankings-lessons-learned.html


User currently offlineridgid727 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 1131 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 21150 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 12):
When you only look at the number of passengers there are distortions. For example, a passenger making 2 connections each way on a round trip journey is counted as 6 passengers. On another airline that flies nonstop between the origin and destination he/she would only be counted as 2 passengers. Does that make the airline that can fly the passenger A-B-C-D with connections at B and C 3 times as big as the airline that flies A-D direct?

You're right that is very distorted,but, then I think WN has one of the lowest Connecting passenger stats out there, but probably one of the highest thru plane passenger counts (which have no bearing on the nuumbers), although they are connecting more and more in a hub like manner all the time.


User currently offlineMSPNWA From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 1947 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 21104 times:

There's no one best way to look at it. WN's chosen business strategy is different from most chosen business models, so using just one metric won't be fair for all parties.

I'd have no problem with UA or WN saying they're the largest. They both are in different ways.


User currently offlineSlcDeltaRUmd11 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 3471 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 21001 times:

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 13):

If two carriers both carry one person, but one carries the person 100 miles and the other 1000, which one is bigger?

They are the same they both flew one passenger LOL

I see the points here there are several ways to measure the "largest airline" number of total passengers flown, total passenger seats available, passengers compared and miles flown average, number of cities served, number of flights


User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2825 posts, RR: 45
Reply 18, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 20868 times:

Quoting MSPNWA (Reply 16):
I'd have no problem with UA or WN saying they're the largest. They both are in different ways.

Thank you; I think that's the perfect comment. Furthermore, in the real world it doesn't make any effective difference. Each does different things, different ways, for different people.

Quoting swa4life (Thread starter):
So, how much would it burn DL and UA if Southwest started touting themselves as the "largest airline in the world".. lol..

Not nearly as much as it would rile opinions on sites like this!  


User currently offlineswa4life From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 385 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 20861 times:

Just to save anyone the trouble of clicking the link (because I'm getting the impression most people here have not bothered)..

Domestic and international enplanements combined per carrier..

Southwest(AirTran) 86 million

Delta 74 million

United (Continental) 66 million.


That's a pretty sizable margin of 12 million passengers.

If you want to talk about redundant enplanements, let's talk about it.. Network carriers fly people through hubs. Each segment is counted separately as an enplanement. Southwest flies primarily point to point.


User currently onlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23027 posts, RR: 20
Reply 20, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 20663 times:

Quoting jetlanta (Reply 14):
You might disagree, but you are still wrong. United and Delta generate more than double the amount of revenue that Southwest generates. End of story.

Is total revenue or RPMs/RPKs the more appropriate metric, though? You've advocated both, and I see advantages to both, though I think it's pretty clear that it ought to be one or the other and not enplanements.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineTigerguy From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 948 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 20651 times:

Quoting swa4life (Reply 19):
Just to save anyone the trouble of clicking the link (because I'm getting the impression most people here have not bothered)..

Ahh, you must be talking about this link: http://www.bts.gov/press_releases/2010/bts053_10/html/bts053_10.html; the one provided above didn't work.



Flying friendly for a while, but is that a widget I see in the rear-view mirror?
User currently offlineswa4life From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 385 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 20597 times:

Quoting Tigerguy (Reply 21):

Ahh, you must be talking about this link: http://www.bts.gov/press_releases/2010/bts053_10/html/bts053_10.html; the one provided above didn't work.

Indeed,.. thanks! I was unaware of the broken link, and so was everyone else which is further evidence that nobody has any context for what I'm even talking about..

Thanks again..


User currently offlineConfuscius From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 3864 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 20460 times:

How about largest market cap wise? Isn't this how companies are judged biggest?


Ain't I a stinker?
User currently onlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17511 posts, RR: 45
Reply 24, posted (3 years 10 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 20435 times:

Quoting Confuscius (Reply 23):
Isn't this how companies are judged biggest?
Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 20):
Is total revenue or RPMs/RPKs the more appropriate metric, though?
Quoting SlcDeltaRUmd11 (Reply 17):

I see the points here there are several ways to measure the "largest airline" number of total passengers flown

If you talk to anyone in the industry, or anyone monitoring the industry and you say "largest airline", they're going to think RPKs/RPMs. Period.



E pur si muove -Galileo
25 ARFFdude : If you're going by fleet size, one airline that's often overlooked is Netjets. Not a typical airline that most people would think of, butI believe the
26 boilerla : Fortune measures companies by revenue (that is, the Fortune 1000 and Fortune 500). In this ranking WN doesn't come close to DL and UA (combined). But
27 surfdog75 : RPMs are the only recognized guage of an airline's size. If DL or UA flew their much bigger fleets on the short stages SWA does their emplanements wo
28 swa4life : DL and UAs "much bigger fleets"? Pre-merger, did you know that Southwest had a bigger fleet than DL, NW, UA, and CO? With AirTran Southwest will have
29 United1 : Instead of using numbers from August (btw I don’t think that the BTS numbers include UA/DLs commuter flights) Current YTD (through October) numbers
30 surfdog75 : But take a look at the average size of DL and UA aircraft and the resulting seat differance compared to SWA. SWAs 737-700s are the smallest type DL o
31 mayor : Considering that the WN/FL merger hasn't even been finalized (or okayed, for that matter) yet, I find it difficult to be combining the enplanements o
32 DeltAirlines : Bigger as in size. The typical Southwest jet has 136.3 seats (thank the 735s for dragging that number down). The typical Delta (mainline) plane has 1
33 FlyASAGuy2005 : Can't speak for UA but it ain't Delta. Their new add campaign is already putting it out there that they know they're not the biggest.
34 Post contains images Maverick623 : While I am no means an enemy of Southwest, it's pretty obvious what the OP is trying to do. So, will also try to set the record straight: RPM(K) is t
35 KGRB : While I would not argue RPMs are the industry standard when it comes to judging size, it's also interesting to take into account cities served: 72 for
36 Cubsrule : I think you're answering a different question than the one I posed, which was not what those in the industry DO use but what those in the industry SH
37 Jetfixr757 : its funny how sometimes the underdog can sneak in and just take over with everybody watching in plain sight... Jet
38 SEPilot : The purpose of any business is to make money. When talking to other businessmen, that is the meaningful metric. So from a business standpoint the bigg
39 brilondon : No it's not. You can use any stats to say any thing. WN is not the largest carrier in the world except in terms of passenger enplanements, which does
40 jetlanta : RPMs/RPKs is the industry standard for airline size. Revenue is the universally-accepted measure for ALL companies (Fortune 500, for example). Yes, t
41 EricR : You are correct, but this is what makes WN's size (regardless of measurement used) so impressive. WN does not serve many small/medium size cities (ie
42 Post contains images MCOGVADCA : Best metric to determine the world's largest airline? Market cap.
43 MEA-707 : Are you serious ? Did you even check all the explanation from others and the Wikipedia top-10s in which Southwest ONLY scores points on the passenger
44 United1 : Its not even that....did anyone notice my numbers? DL is largest... UA is number two... WN/FL is third...
45 flyiguy : BOS they do if you include PVD and MHT, and The DC are they will have 78% of the share at BWI which is a DC airport...Lets not forget they OWN MDW, B
46 Maverick623 : Correct, which is why people don't often understand why we use the metrics we do. Airlines are a commodity these days. The vast majority of people in
47 B787 : Really, we're using Wikipedia as a source of fact now...?
48 N200WN : You explained it best, my friend. But for a good time it is fun to compare all the various metrics: 1. RPM/K 2. Revenue 3. Market Cap 2. Fleet size 3
49 VV701 : Nothing in this life is simple. Having suggested In Reply 2 the key role that RPKs or RPMs can play in the "biggest airline" discussion let me now put
50 mayor : But WN isn't going to go into most of those destinations, anyway....so where's the room to grow? Well, actually, it's more like a small screwdriver.
51 boilerla : The P stands for passenger. Unless your amazon.com purchase is going to start whipping out a boarding pass and walk onto a jetway, FedEx is irrelevan
52 PlaneAdmirer : On top of all the counterpoints, WN doesn't have hubs? Really? I live DEN it's a hub for WN, so is MDW, so BWI, so is PHX. They may not call them hub
53 mayor : Not if you ask WN.
54 Maverick623 : Depends on who you ask (and what your definition of "hub" is. I'll explain that below.) They are large stations with a couple of hundred flights per
55 frmrCapCadet : "Biggest", "Hub", and such terms are second order metaphors, and do not have set definitions. When you say an airline is the biggest, 2nd biggest etc
56 Post contains images airlinespotter : Ok, you're the bigest, you're the largest. Congratulations and here's your trophy
57 Post contains images rampart : The absolute certainty some of you have is ridiculous. There is no single right answer. It's however someone or an airline or customers wants to defi
58 swa4life : That's exactly my point,.. There's nothing definitive about it. There's no official rule in a book somewhere. And while RPMs may be the widely accept
59 Post contains images Silver1SWA : Well said. When the difference was explained to me back when I was a new hire in training, WN was speaking in terms of aircraft utilization. THAT is
60 bmacleod : I thought DL was the largest. DL definitely has a much bigger fleet. And with NW pax, they surely have Southwest beat by at least 60 million pax. Wher
61 LAXtoATL : And this should tell you just how silly your argument that Southwest is the world's largest airline is. The fact that Southwest is touting their size
62 Post contains links swa4life : See that's a major flaw with this forum,.. Once the posts go above a certain amount, it contracts and nobody bothers to read the posts that get contr
63 UAL777UK : Oh please can we give this up, as good as they are, WN are not the biggest airline in the world. End of!
64 swa4life : We don't have to give it up as long as everyone in here can behave themselves.. I don't know why things always have to deteriorate into this level of
65 Post contains links boilerla : Except that wouldn't be accurate. Your numbers were only for August and aren't the consolidated results. Look at the September results for Delta: htt
66 swa4life : Well not entirely,.. I suspect that DL lumps in DL connection numbers which are actually flights operated by separate airlines.. Also all that aside,
67 brilondon : Actually, if you read through all the posts you may find that some of the posters agree with you and most of the posters don't as they all seem to th
68 swa4life : And I'm not taking exception to the banter taking place in here.. You're right, my position definitely seems to be the minority.. That doesn't mean t
69 Post contains links boilerla : Pretty sure the DOT isn't neutral because it uses the numbers from the airlines. The airlines are required by law to submit financial, operational an
70 Post contains links 727LOVER : A world where folks know that DAL can have nonstops to anywhere in the country using aircraft with 56 seats or less Here are the RPMs for Jan-Aug 201
71 swa4life : That's fine, but you're not making a converse point to the real issue. Even using your numbers, you brought in bad numbers that lump together DL conn
72 swa4life : And again I will just reiterate that you can't count DL connection traffic for this argument.. We're singling out a single airline as being the large
73 Post contains images deltal1011man : The airline world because your trying to make WN look good. So they carry they most PAXs(even though they have got the merger OKed so you are way ahe
74 boilerla : Codesharing is not the same as contract flying. DL Connection flights are sold by Delta and are covered by Delta's contract of carriage, and therefor
75 Post contains links CALTECH : Southwest is big, but not the biggest. http://atwonline.com/airline-finance...le/trends-november-2010-issue-1104 TOP 20 REPORTING AIRLINES SYSTEM TRAF
76 Post contains links CALTECH : Even Southwest thinks so, http://www.southwest.com/about_swa/press/factsheet.html#About the Company 'Southwest operates more than 3,200 flights a day
77 nyc2theworld : Question...since AirFrance KLM as listed as one do Lufthansa's numbers include all its own airline subsidaries?
78 Viscount724 : As far as I know, the LH subsidiaries are shown separately as they are separate legal entities, while AF-KL is one company (with two brands)
79 swa4life : Contracted flying IS code share. These other airlines are booking flights on DL's code. Believe me when I tell you that I know what I'm talking about
80 Post contains images peanuts : It would kind of fall into the category of silliness like: Super Bowl, an American Football team calling themselves World Champions, only to have com
81 deltal1011man : not all RJ carriers fly for more than one airline. Comair only flys for Delta American Eagle only flys for AA Compass only flys for Delta and the lis
82 dldtw1962 : OK, I want what ever you are smoken and drink'n. Because I don't see WN as the largest airline in the world. Because if you going to say that. Then yo
83 WNCrew : I don't care who is "largest in the world", but I have to give WN some credit in that considering that all it's flights, pax carried etc, are operated
84 cws818 : It is also difficult to totally exclude regional partners like these that have co-ownership with their mainline partner. Eagle, however, is a more co
85 United1 : They are independent carriers that are contracted by the legacies to fly flights on behalf of the larger airlines. UA/DL for the most part controls w
86 Maverick623 : Talk about arrogance. Allow me to demonstrate: But yet you start the thread with: ???????? Because you've made a claim that just isn't true, and when
87 EA CO AS : Because it would be inaccurate to consider Southwest for this designation, that's why. I can't believe you started this self-masturbatory love-fest f
88 swa4life : This thread is obviously well past the point of being a rational conversation, and we're rapidly approaching the threshold of mob hysteria. I feel lik
89 Post contains images Maverick623 : Well, that was reached long ago when you refused to acknowledge the industry standard for size, a point you still have yet to even consider, and inst
90 Post contains links mayor : Well, there is this, straight from the DOT. Lets see how you'll spin this............... "Top Airlines in August In August, Delta Air Lines carried m
91 FlyPNS1 : It might make sense, but that's not how the DOT counts them. You'll notice that SkyWest shows up as #9 in the enplanements table even though OO doesn
92 mayor : Of course, the OP is also talking about WN being the "largest" in the world, before the WN/FL merger, which hasn't even been okayed, yet. In that cas
93 rwy04lga : swa4life, here's a visual for you.... In your profile you have a map that shows all the places you've flown for free (assuming on SWA)...In my profile
94 navion1217 : Gentlemen, Obviously we need a metric that is beyond reproach. After considering many metrics, including the size of the logo on the side of the airpl
95 mayor : Using your logic (what little there is) you could also say that Code share = Contracted flying, which it isn't. There are any number of airlines that
96 Post contains images tsugambler : I understand that there is already an industry standard known as "RPM" or "RPK" or whatever it is... however, to the average layperson (such as myself
97 FlyDeltaJets87 : To me they're the same. I don't really see why distance plays a factor in "largest". If airline A flew a 737 between ATL and LGA (762 miles) and airl
98 hnl-jack : As Shakespeare one wrote, "Much Ado About Nothing.". There is no question that SW is a major domestic carrier, but at least from a marketing point-of-
99 EA CO AS : RPMs are the measure most generally accepted by the industry as the gauge of carrier "size" however.
100 United1 : UA has been saying leading airline however in terms of ASMs and RSMs and (just because I can throw this in there) cargo ton miles UA/CO is larger the
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