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What are the largest airlines in Europe?

Everyone is familiar with names such as British Airways, Ryanair and easyJet, but most people don’t know which airline is the largest within Europe. There is uncertainty due to the large number of mergers and bankruptcies that have taken place in the aviation sector. Well-known examples are the merger between Air France and KLM and the bankruptcy of Belgian Sabena and Hungarian Malev. Moreover low cost airlines play a major role for now in Europe. The main cause of this is the deregulation of European airspace in 1992. From that moment airlines were allowed to fly within the EU without the consent of national governments. This resulted in the rise of low cost airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet, a success as can be profen by the number of passengers low cost carriers carried in 2016.