Is the airline industry back on its way to pre-COVID traffic? We’ve analyzed the world’s busiest routes in June 2021 to get a feeling of the industry’s progress. Discover the most extensive airline routes analysis!

World's busiest airline routes

Based on OAG data, we’ve analyzed the world’s busiest airline routes. Here’s an overview of what you will find on this blog post:

World’s Busiest Domestic Routes

Similar to many of our recent analyses, the Asian market continues to be the strongest aviation market at the moment. When looking at the world’s ten busiest domestic routes, we find eight Asian routes. Melbourne – Sydney, and Jeddah – Riyadh are the only non-Asian routes that made it to the top 10 of the world’s busiest domestic routes. Moreover, the world’s busiest routes (Jeju – Seoul) recorded an amazing capacity of 1.5 million seats — that’s twice as much as the second busiest route (Beijing – Shanghai). Besides that, and compared to our last analysis in May, the busiest domestic routes list is very stable with only small changes in position and routings:

  • PEK-SHA and HAN-SGN swapped positions.
  • The Australian route Melbourne-Sydney climbed one position and is now the world’s fourth-busiest domestic routes.
  • Saudi Arabian route between Jeddah and Riyadh climbed six positions and ranks as the world’s sixth-busiest route.
RankRouteAirportAirportSeats
1 (1)CJU-GMPJeju InternationSeoul Gimpo1.585.829
2 (3)PEK-SHABeijingShanghai Hongqiao704.434
3 (2)HAN-SGNHanoiHo Chi Minh631.798
4 (5)MEL-SYDMelbourneSydney588.200
5 (6)CTS-HNDSapporoTokyo Haneda581.966
6 (9)JED-RUHJeddahRiyadh558.495
7 (7)FUK-HNDFukuokaTokyo Haneda556.818
8 (-)CGK-UPGJakartaMakassar531.190
9 (8)SHA-SZXShanghau HongqiaoShenzhen520.872
10 (10)GMP-PUSSeoul GimpoBusan485.458
World's busiest airline routes — Jeju Airport
Jeju Airport in South Korea (By 螺钉 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Busiest Chinese Domestic Routes

Besides the world’s busiest airline routes, we also took a specific look at China. As shown in one of our recent blog posts, China is one of the rare airline markets that record traffic figures similar to pre-COVID times.

RankRouteAirportAirportSeats
1PEK-SHABeijingShangai Hongqiao704.434
2SHA-SZXShanghai HongqiaoShenzhen520.872
3CTU-PEKChengduBeijing474.012
4CAN-SHAGuangzhouShangai Hongqiao444.798
5PEK-SZXBeijingShenzhen334.283
6CKG-SZXChongqingShenzhen309.500
7CTU-SHAChengduShangai Hongqiao309.320
8CKG-PEKChongqingBeijing309.115
9CTU-SZXChengduShenzhen304.636
10CTU-PKXChengduBeijing Daxing291.109

Busiest North American Domestic Routes

When looking at the busiest domestic routes in the United States, the relevance of leisure travel is apparent. With Honululu, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, or Miami we find many holiday destinations among the top 10 busiest U.S. routes. However, compared to Chinese routes, the traffic is much lower. Even the busiest domestic U.S. routes would not make it into the list of the top 10 busiest Chinese routes.

RankRouteAirportAirportSeats
1HNL-LAXHonululuLos Angeles233.470
2ATL-MCOAtlantaOrlando231.090
3ATL-FLLAtlantaFort Lauderdale228.770
4ANC-SEAAnchorageSeattle218.825
5HNL-OGGHonululuKahului216.984
6DEN-PHXDenverPhoenix215.472
7LAS-LAXLas VegasLos Angeles213.658
8JFK-LAXNew YorkLos Angeles213.579
9DEN-ORDDenverChicago212.254
10JFK-MIANew YorkMiami211.115

World’s Busiest International Routes

Let’s move on and take a look at international traffic. In contrary to domestic traffic, these figures provide a much indicator in terms of COVID-recovery. Currently, we can find three routes to Simferopol in the list of the world’s busiest international routes. Besides that, Middle East plays an important role.

RankRouteAirportAirportSeats
1SIP-SVOSimferopolMoscow Sheremetyevo315.835
2DME-SIPMoscow DomodedovoSimferopol291.787
3MCO-SJUOrlandoSan Juan182.499
4DXB-RUHDubaiRiyadh165.334
5CAI-JEDCairoJeddah157.482
6CUN-DFWCancunDallas144.299
7IAH-MEXHoustonMexico City137.580
8LED-SIPSt. PetersburgSimferopol129.779
9JFK-STINew YorkSantiago118.012
10CAI-DXBCairoDubai114.045
World's busiest routes — Simferopol Airport
Simferopol Airport — By Капитан Морган – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Spotlight on African International Routes

Egypt’s capital Cairo plays an important role when looking at the top international African routes. Flights from Cairo to Jeddah, Dubai, and Riyadh rank on positions one to three. Moreover, the route Cairo-Khartoum adds a fourth Cairo-routing to the top 10!.

RankRouteAirportAirportSeats
1CAI-JEDCairoJeddah78.775
2CAI-DXBCairoDubai57.100
3CAI-RUHCairoRiyadh52.989
4MJI-TUNTripoliTunis43.192
5HRE-JNBHarareJohannesburg41.984
6ADD-DXBAddis AbabaDubai41.720
7ADD-JNBAddis AbabaJohannesburg40.898
8JED-KRTJeddahKhartoum37.773
9ABJ-ACCAbidjanAccra37.512
10CAI-KRTCairoKhartoum37.420

Spotlight on Asian International Routes

Looking at important Asian international routes, Bangkok and Singapore play an important role. Singapore is part of four of the top 10 routes and Bangkok is part of three.

RankRouteAirportAirportSeats
1BKK-HKGBangkokHong Kong95.887
2MFM-PVGMacauShanghai Pudong86.125
3CGK-SINJakartaSingapore82.822
4BKK-SINBangkokSingapore72.342
5MNL-SINManilaSingapore61.308
6HKG-TPEHong KongTaipei59.646
7AKL-SYDAucklandSydney58.568
8KUL-SINKuala LumpurSingapore58.364
9BKK-NRTBangkokTokyo Narita57.398
10AKL-BNEAucklandBrisbane56.450

Spotlight on European International Routes

The top European international routes are clearly dominated by holidays traffic. Four routes include Palma de Mallorca as part of the routing and three Simferopol — both classic summer holidays destinations.

RankRouteAirportAirportSeats
1SIP-SVOSimferopolMoscow Sheremetyevo315.835
2DME-SIPMoscow DomodedovoSimferopol291.787
3LED-SIPSt. PetersburgSimferopol129.799
4AYT-SVOAntalyaMoscow Sheremetyevo110.351
5FRA-PMIFrankfurtPalma de Mallorca100.440
6DUS-PMIDusseldorfPalma de Mallorca97.622
7ATH-LCAAthensLarnaca91.456
8MAD-ORYMadridParils Orly83.866
9HAM-PMIHamburgPalma de Mallorca74.584
10BER-PMIBerlinPalma de Mallorca72.708

Spotlight on Latin American International Routes

RankRouteAirportAirportSeats
1MCP-SJUOrlandoSan Juan91.115
2CUN-DFWCancunDallas72.043
3IAH-MEXHoustonMexico City68.790
4CUN-PTYCancunPanama City67.836
5JFK-STINew YorkSantiago58.844
6EWR-SJUNewarkSan Juan54.457
7JFK-SJUNew YorkSan Juan54.264
8JFK-SDQNew YorkSanto Domingo53.918
9BOG-PTYBogotaPanama City49.204
10MIA-SJUMiamiSan Juan48.572

Spotlight on Middle East International Routes

RankRouteAirportAirportSeats
1DXB-RUHDubaiRiyadh165.334
2DXB-JEDDubaiJeddah100.100
3BAH-DXBBahrainDubai94.256
4AMM-DXBAmmanDubai83.616
5BEY-DXBBeirutDubai79.906
6CAI-JEDCairoJeddah78.707
7DXB-IKADubaiTehran78.236
8AMM-DOHAmmanDoha66.742
9CAI-DXBCairoDubai56.945
10CAI-RUHCairoRiyadh53.175

Spotlight on North American International Routes

RankRouteAirportAirportSeats
1MCO-SJUOrlandoSan Juan91.384
2CUN-DFWCancunDallas72.256
3IAH-MEXHoustonMexico City68.790
4JFK-STINew YorkSantiago59.168
5JFK-SJUNew YorkSan Juan54.200
6EWR-SJUNewarkSan Juan54.124
7JFK-SDQNew YorkSanto Domingo54.092
8MIA-PTYMiamiPanama City48.696
9BOG-MIABogotaMiami48.207
10MIA-SJUMiamiSan Juan48.018

What’s your Opinion?

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CEO

Benjamin is a content-maniac, music-lover, aviation-enthusiast, and CEO of Information Design (in this order). His daily business revolves around pioneering solutions to change the way airlines, airports, and aviators use information. His visions are based on expertise gained in more than 15 years in the industry and working with renowned airlines + airports worldwide.

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