Sure. If you count the restarts (airlines that stop but start again with the same name later on) you'll get there easy. Air Holland alone will give you a good number, they go bankrupt every winter and start again in spring
If you include paper airlines (airlines that are proposed, but never initiate service), the number would have to be in the 50,000+ range. And that's a conservative estimate. Just in the U.S. since 1978 there have been 178 airlines that have folded. No telling how many have folded around the world since 1978.
I can see as to how this topic could be interpreted 2 different ways, as "I Miss Piedmont" so aptly points out.
My topic should have stated ....... "SINCE THE FIRST MANNED HEAVIER-THAN-AIR FLIGHT, HOW MANY INDIVIDUAL AIRLINES HAVE GRACED THIS PLANET'S SKIES?" ...... Think that would fit in the space provided for "Topic"?
OK....It's an impossible question to answer. No one knows.
But what about "airlines operating currently around the globe". Ha......Anybody got that figure for me? That one should be easier.
BTW......Great handle, IMissPiedmont!!! (I, too, miss those Piedmont 727's and 737's.........Did they have BAC 1-11's in the 1970's?).
I knew what you meant, just had to get that in. I have a database with names of over 11000 airlines that have existed worldwide. Best guess on current numbers at any one time would be the listings in JP. 2000 edition has over 6500. No BAC 1-11s for Piedmont though. 727s, 737s, YS-11s, FH-227s in the 70s. They added F-28s when they bought Empire.
The day you stop learning is the day you should die.