World's Largest Airlines Now in Latin America, Asia

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The United States can no longer boast owning any of the five largest airlines in the world. That distinction now falls to Asia and Latin America.
    
Air China, for instance, is twice the size of America's Delta Air Lines and Germany's Lufthansa.  
    
Analysts say it's just another example of the industry's shift toward countries whose economies are growing faster than the West.

"The world is changing in aviation, and it's changing very, very quickly," International Air Transport Association Chief Executive Giovanni Bisignani told a news conference in Geneva. "Rapidly developing markets are shifting the industry's center of gravity to the East."
    
Brian Pearce, chief economist at the IATA, says that heavy debt and new taxes have hurt travel spending in Europe and North America.

"2011 is going to be a much more challenging period," he said.

Meanwhile, Bisignani predicts that if America's "archaic ownership rules" were changed, the industry might soon see the first takeover of a U.S. carrier by an Asian airline.

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