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Airlines vs. Airways

While booking tickets for traveling you would have often heard the words airlines and airways, both used but we have never paid any attention to it that what is the difference and why are these separate terms used. Generally, there is not a huge difference between the two terms, basically, it is just a matter of choice that some people prefer to use airlines while some people prefer airways. Both these companies operate in the same way and do the same work but the separate terms are for marketing purposes, some companies feel that the word airlines is very classy while some feel that airways are more sophisticated and these names are also used by companies to attract more passengers. Although for the passengers traveling there is not much difference between the names as they only care about reaching their destined destinations with good facilities and lows costs. But for companies, they feel that adding airlines or airways would add a catchy effect while some go even different and just add air before or after their names such as Korean Air and Air France. The names might be important for the elite or businessmen because they feel that telling their colleagues or business competitors the unique name of the company will increase their business or impress or jealous their competitors. The basic difference is just that, in which the airlines are a company that operates aircraft while airways is a specific route used by the aircraft to navigate like a prescribed road in the sky. Although airlines and airways have the same meaning they have adopted different names and created small differences between them just for the marketing of their company.

Key Differences

Airways has a small piston engine while the airlines do not.
Airlines are driven at higher altitudes or heights while the airways are driven at shorter altitudes.
Samantha Walker
Sep 06, 2016
The routes of the airways are also known as highways of the sky while there is no such name for the route of airlines.
Samantha Walker
Sep 06, 2016
The basic difference is just between the two words that some companies prefer airlines as it is catchier while some prefer airways as it sounds more sophisticated.
An airline is a company that operates the aircraft while the company airways follow a prescribed or preset route while the airlines do not.
Airways are also known as victors while no name is given to the airlines.
Airways are used for shorter routes whereas this is not the case for airlines.
Janet White
Sep 06, 2016

Comparison Chart


A company that operates the aircrafts
Follows a prescribed or preset route


Has a small piston engine
Does not have a small one


Longer route
Smaller route


Highways of the sky
Harlon Moss
Sep 06, 2016

Airlines and Airways Definitions


An organization that provides air transportation for passengers and freight.


A passageway or shaft in which air circulates, as in ventilating a mine.


Plural of airline


The upper passages of the respiratory system by which air reaches the lungs.


Often airways An airline.


A regular route of travel for aircraft.


Plural of airway

What are Airlines?

In general, an airline is a company that operates airlines or aircraft or the most commonly used term airplanes. Airlines also transport cargo and heavy freight along with carrying passengers to their destinations. Airlines vary widely in their size, from small to huge airlines. Airlines follow a specific schedule of flights that it will fly at sharp this time and land at sharp this time and the passengers can buy tickets directly from the travel agents or the company of airlines. They have almost all the facilities for passengers traveling in the airplane from food to sleeping comfort and recreation like music and television. The air industry has prospered a lot and thus they do not leave any stone unturned in the facilitation of their passengers and the passengers traveling are their top priority because once the passengers will get a good experience from the airlines, they will prefer to travel from the same airlines again and again. There are both local as well as international airlines. American Airlines and Northwest airlines and PIA, Pakistan International Airlines are some famous airlines.

What are Airways?

The term Airways basically means a special routing or navigation of various air crafts or airplanes, which is well defined particular route which the airways follow. These are also known as the highways of the sky or simpler words streets of the sky. Like for instance, on roads we follow a well-defined track and do not go astray but follow the track as it is constructed, the same case is of airways it follows the specified route and does not go here and there. Just like streets, the airways are unidirectional as well as bidirectional meaning they can go both ways following the same route. Airways are of different sizes, having facilities for passengers. Most of the pilots flying airways, follow directions of the routes provided to them, this is the only difference that separates it from the word airlines. The most famous airways is British airways.

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