The world’s busiest air routes this year revealed: Asia airlines dominate the skies

Photo courtesy of Eva Air

OAG, the top-tier data platform for global travel, has revealed the most travelled routes and destinations this year in its latest report.

The report, fuelled by OAG’s mighty Global Airline Schedules Data, doesn’t just disclose the stats but unveils a panoramic snapshot of route performances and trends, be it soaring internationally or navigating domestic skies.

Once again, the Asia-Pacific region emerges as the reigning champion, clinching a staggering seven out of the top ten global international routes and an astonishing nine in the global domestic category. This aviation heavyweight showdown reveals Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Singapore Changi (SIN) as the undisputed champion of the skies, boasting a jaw-dropping 4.9 million seats on its throne. Trailing closely is Cairo (CAI) to Jeddah (JED) with 4.8 million seats, a leap from its 2019 figure of 3.4 million, while Hong Kong (HKG) to Taipei (TPE) secures a commendable third place.

London Heathrow (LHR) asserts itself as the fourth busiest global airport worldwide, flaunting a colossal 49,370,859 seats. Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) clinches the coveted top spot, with Dubai International Airport (DXB) securing an impressive second place.

For domestic flights, Jeju International to Seoul Gimpo maintains its unrivalled reign in Asia Pacific, with 13,728,786 seats.

In the vast expanse of China, the busiest domestic route in 2023 is Beijing (PEK) to Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA), ascending to great heights with 8.4 million seats, a 3% surge from 2019 and an astonishing 49% surge from last year. Guangzhou (CAN) to Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) tags along in second place with 7.2 million seats, while Shenzhen (SZX) to Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) stakes its claim with 7 million seats, reported Travel News Asia.

Venturing into Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, the crown for the busiest domestic route rests on the heads of Jeddah to Riyadh, boasting an impressive 7,902,142 seats. In Latin America, the São Paulo-Congonhas to Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont sector reigns supreme with 5,759,732 seats. Meanwhile, in the US, the title for the busiest route goes to Honolulu (HNL) to Kahului (OGG), gracing the skies with 3,612,212 seats.

John Grant, the chief analyst at OAG, weighs in on the air ballet.

“Asia continues to have the busiest routes in the world due to its popularity as a tourism hotspot. Although capacity is not back to 2019 levels, London Heathrow remains a pivotal hub for global air travel.”

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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