Changing world: the busiest airline routes aren’t where you’d think

New data revealed at the weekend shows some really surprising results on where the worlds busiest airline routes are.

Ask anyone in Europe and they’ll probably say it’s one of Europe’s big capitals – probably London, to New York. And yet they wouldn’t even be close.

That route only crops up in position 49 out of 100. Mexico City to Monterrey is busier at 41.

United States routes are also well down the list with LAX to Chicago at the top and it’s a point that LAX holds 4 of the 6 US entries for busiest route. The other two are Atlanta and JFK.

There isn’t a single intra-European route in the top 100 with the only city in Europe being London on the New York and Dubai pairings.

Two routes that stand out are Sydney to Melbourne now the worlds second busiest route with just short of 9.1 million passengers. The other is Sydney-Brisbane in 17th.

Cape Town – Johannesburg is now in 13th, showing huge growth.

Yet the vast majority, with the exceptions of rapidly growing routes such as Delhi-Mumbai now in fifth, that just keep flying up the list, are in China. Within 5 years they’ll knock even the Japanese domestic routes, and the No.1 position of Korea’s Seoul Gimpo-Jinju route now at 13.463 million passengers.

It’s the stunning growth in Indian and Chinese routes that stands out, but the underlying reason behind them are a combination of distance, and a lack of viable road and rail transport systems, especially in India.

Even so, the continuous growth in other routes such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, and increasing impetus in Africa are inevitably going to bring these areas up the list in coming years.

Despite the growth in Europe and North America it remains minor in comparison to the ‘new’ markets in the Near and Far East.