How The ‘Big 3’ Airlines Are Forming In Europe

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You will often see reference to the ‘US3’ or the ‘ME3’ when reading about global aviation. The US3 refers to the biggest three airlines in the US — American, Delta and United which as a result of mergers and consolidation now have by far the most market share in their markets and are three of the biggest airlines in the world. The ‘ME3’ refers to the biggest and most well-known airlines in the Middle East — Emirates, Etihad and Qatar.

Those two groups are even in a battle with each other.

Over the last several years, ownership structures in Europe have meant that Europe has slowly but surely developed its own ‘Big 3,’ with what has become informally known as the ‘EU3.’ It’s interesting that just like in the US, each of the main members of the ‘Big 3’ in Europe is a member of each of the big 3 global alliances — Oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam.