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The world’s busiest air route might surprise you

Nadja Beschetnikova
May 17, 2018

On Earth, we lose our time in traffic and queues. According to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s Urban Mobility Scorecard, the average American commuting to and from an urban center will spend 42 hours sitting in traffic every year. But those, who rush around the world on plane can also stuck in traffic jams soon. The British travel data company OAG determined the busiest air routes. The result is quite surprising. 

More than 5 billion people use an airplane every year. And almost 18,000 passengers fly on the world's most used routes a day. Some routes carry more passengers daily than other routes throughout the year.

There are people who get on planes as often as other people get on trams. Flying is part of our everyday life. Celebrities and businessmen are always on the move. But if you think that routes between New York and Los Angeles are among the world's top list, you’re wrong. 14 out of the Top 20 busiest routes operate in Asia.

According to the annual OAG report, the busiest air link in the world is Singapore-Kuala route. You might be surprised, but the one-hour flight has completed a total of 30,537 times in the twelve months up to February 2018. The route is operated by 7 carriers, including such moguls as Malaysia Air and Air Asia.

Over 4 million passengers traveled this route a year. On average, 84 flights a day were operated between the city of Singapore and the capital of neighboring Malaysia. The second busiest air route is between Hong Kong and Taipei (28,887 flights), followed by Jakarta to Singapore (27,304 flights). A plane from Hong-Kong to Taipei departs every 18 minutes, on average. 

In 2017, the route between the South Korean island, Jeju and the capital Seoul was named as the busiest in the world. It’s hard to believe it, but the planes are leaving Seoul Gimpo International almost as regularly as your morning train with flights departing at 6:10, 6:20, 6:25, 6:40 and 6:55. The London-based OAG reported a total of 64,991 departures between Jeju and Seoul Gimpo in 2017, corresponding to approximately 178 flights per day. According to OAG, it is by far the most frequently flown flight connection.

More than 1.28 million passengers made the journey between the two South Korean airports only in one summer month. The island is a popular destination for holidays. Jeju is the largest island near the Korean peninsula, also known as "South Korea's Hawaii". It boasts dramatic volcanic landscapes that have been designated a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site as well as stunning hiking trails and pristine beaches.

Only two European routes make it into the top 20 of the world's busiest international routes. Dublin - London Heathrow with 14,390 flights rocketed to the 14th place, while Amsterdam - London Heathrow with 13,170 flights took only the 19th place. 

The most required route in North America connects New York and Toronto and carries over 1.5 million passengers a year. OAG noted that the most popular month was November. American Airlines overtook Air Canada in terms of punctuality.

The air route between Dubai and Kuwait is also among the world's busiest. More than 15,300 flights carried 2.7 million passengers between the Gulf destinations in a 12 month between March 2017 and February 2018, making it the ninth busiest air route in the world.

The study also shows that the world's busiest route between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore is dominated by the Airbus A320 Family with a 51 percent share. The Boeing 737 follows with 40 percent. With only two active airlines on the best European route Dublin - London Heathrow,    both Aer Lingus and British Airways fly completely on A320 Family jets. Airbus also wins a race in North America. 47 percent of the aircraft on the route between New York and Toronto belong to the A320 family, 30 percent are Boeing 737s and 23 percent come from Embraer.

The situation is different between Dubai and Kuwait. Emirates, Flydubai, Kuwait Airways and Jazeera Airways prefer the Boeing family. The Boeing 737 and Boeing 777 have an advantage with 38 percent and 29 percent respectively, while the A320 family has a share of only 24 percent.

This time no Australian route made the top 20. Last year, the inland route between Melbourne and Sydney, which spans over 443 miles, was on the second place with 54,519 departures.