An airline provides air transport services for passengers or freight, generally with a recognized operating certificate or license. Airlines lease or own their aircraft with which to supply these services and may form partnerships or alliances with other airlines for mutual benefit.

Airlines vary from those with a single airplane carrying mail or cargo, through full-service international airlines operating hundreds of airplanes. Airline services can be categorized as being intercontinental, intra continental, domestic, or international and may be operated as scheduled services or charters

The first airlines

Failed attempt at an airline before DELAG

DELAG, Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft was the world's first airline.[citation needed] It was founded on November 16, 1909 with government assistance, and operated airships manufactured by The Zeppelin Corporation. Its headquarters were in Frankfurt. (Note: Americans, such as Rufus Porter and Frederick Marriott, attempted to start airlines in the mid-19th century, focusing on the New York-California route. Those attempts foundered due to such mishaps as the aircraft catching fire and the aircraft being ripped apart by spectators.) The five oldest non-dirigible airlines that still exist are Australia's Qantas, Netherland's KLM, Colombia's Avianca, Czech Republic's Czech Airlines and Mexico's Mexicana. KLM first flew in May 1920 while Qantas (for the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited) was founded in Queensland, Australia in late 1920

Along the first countries to have regular airlines in Latin America were Colombia with Avianca, Chile with LAN Chile (today LAN Airlines), Mexico with Mexicana de Aviaci?n, Brazil with Varig, and TACA as a brand of several airlines of Central American countries (Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Nicaragua). All the previous airlines started regular operations before World War II.

The air travel market has evolved rapidly over recent years in Latin America. Some industry estimations over 2000 new aircraft will begin service over the next five years in this region.

These airlines serve domestic flights within their countries, as well as connections within Latin America and also overseas flights to North America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia.

Just one airline, LAN (Latin American Networks) has international subsidiaries: Chile as the central operation along with Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and some operations in the Dominican Republic.

The main hubs in Latin America are Sao Paulo in Brazil, Bogota in Colombia, Caracas in Venezuela, Guayaquil in Ecuador, Lima in Peru, Mexico City in Mexico, Buenos Aires in Argentina, and Santiago in Chile