World’s Busiest Air Routes – None from/to the US!

I flew on DL 246 from JFK to Rome on Saturday night, and used part of the very short but turbulent flight (yes, we got in 1.5 hours early) to go through some very old emails. One of them happened to be a press release from Amadeus, “the leading transaction processor and provider of advanced technology solutions for the global travel and tourism industry”, detailing out the results of the most popular airline routes in 2012. What I must of skipped over when originally receiving this email is that not even one of the routes operates from or to the United States or North America!

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  • Air travel in 2012 was higher than 2011 in all regions of the world with significant growth of 9% in Asia and 6% in Latin America.
  • The Middle East is a rapidly growing hub as shown by traffic volume between Europe and Asia routed via the Middle East, growing by approximately 20% between 2011 and 2012.

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  • Asia is the world’s most competitive aviation market with 75% of routes served by three or more airlines and just 25% of routes by one or two carriers.

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Among other key findings, the study reveals that 22% of all global air travel is concentrated on just 300 origin and destination ‘super routes1’, each of which carries over 1 million passengers annually. Furthermore, 69% of all global air travel is made on major routes with 100 thousand annual passengers. In terms of connecting air traffic, the analysis shows the Middle East as a strong performer, with the three key airports of Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai all showing high connecting traffic volumes. For instance, when taken as a group the three airports now serve roughly 15% of all air traffic volume that goes from Asia to Europe and from Europe to the South West Pacific. Furthermore, Europe-Asia traffic routed via the Middle East is growing at roughly 20% per annum. The analysis also shows Asia as the market with the highest airline competition, 75% of the region’s air traffic is operated by 3 or more airlines and 27% by five or more airlines, making this a region with a very intense competition in all its air travel routes. This contrasts sharply with other regions such as the Middle East and Europe where just half of all air traffic on its routes is operated by three or more airlines.

The study results are actually quite an interesting read with several other surprising tidbits. Check out the full report and summary graphics here.

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Comments

  1. What’s amazing to me is the Beijing-Shanghai continues to grow, even with the advent to high speed rail.. and also that Taipei-HongKong is growing in light of the increased cross straits flights (most travel between Taiwan and China used to have to go via Hong Kong)

    FDW

  2. Interesting that BCN-MAD dissapeared from the list after introduction of the high speed rail.
    Jeju-Seoul boosted due to many Korean LLCs and Chinese visitors

  3. The Jeju to Seoul volume reflected implies roughly 25k pax per day. That would require roughly 90 a330/b767-300 one-way services each day, or 45 round trips daily.

    Assuming there are departures 19 hours a day, that would imply two+ wide body departures from each city in the city pair every operating hour.

    I guess with two airports in Seoul, that is then only one departure an hour from each airport…and with two local carriers, I guess I can see the math footing. It really is a lot.

    Compare this to NYC (including ewr) or ORD/mdw. These routes are [all] narrowbodies…many md80s on AA. Similar on UA. DL operates RJs. We have a lot of frequencies on these routes, but with perhaps much smaller equipment. Knowing the frequencies, doing some crude math in my head, I’m surprised this city-pair doesn’t make the top ten as I thought the volume would have been 6-8mm p/a. I’m missing something I guess.

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