Specialist travel data supplier OAG revealed the Busiest Routes in the world. It’s analysis, which is based on operating flight volume, includes insight into on-time performance (OTP) and carrier frequency at the route level, both domestically and internationally.
Eight of the top 10 busiest long-haul routes in the world originate from North America. With 15,587 flights over 12 months, service between New York (JFK) and San Francisco (SFO) topped the long-haul list (73.7% OTP), followed closely by New York (JFK) to London Heathrow (LHR) with 14,194 operating flights (78.2% OTP). Honolulu (HNL) to Los Angeles (LAX), Newark (EWR) to San Francisco (SFO) and Boston (BOS) to Los Angeles (LAX) round out the top five for the global long-haul category.
“The fight for market share intensifies on these high frequency, highly competitive long-haul routes,” said John Grant, senior analyst at OAG. “Maximizing capacity and connectivity, and investing in OTP and a frictionless traveller experience, is key for airlines and airports looking to attract passengers and grow their share in these markets.”
The short-haul flight between Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) is the busiest domestic route in North America, and the ninth busiest domestic route in the world, with 35,365 total annual operating flights (OTP 71.2%). The medium-haul trip from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX) and back operates 26,286 total flights annually (79.9% OTP) and is the second busiest domestic route in North America and 20th busiest domestic route overall. Two other routes originating from the US are among the world’s busiest medium-haul flights, including Los Angeles (LAX) to Seattle (SEA), with 19,778 flights and 80.1% OTP, and Los Angeles (LAX) to Chicago (ORD), with 16,612 flights and 78.0% OTP.
Over the past 12 months, North America’s three busiest international routes grew even busier. Service between New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and Toronto Pearson (YYZ) is the region’s busiest international route for a second straight year, and this year the seventh busiest international route overall, operating 17,038 flights annually. The route to London Heathrow (LHR) from New York’s other major hub John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is the second busiest international route originating in North America with 14,194 operating flights and 13th in the world, moving up three spots compared to 2018. The trip from Chicago (ORD) to Toronto (YYZ) is the third busiest international route for North America and now 18th in the world with 13,503 operating flights, compared to 20th last year.
Other key routes for domestic travel within North America include New York (LGA) to Chicago (ORD), with 24,188 operating flights, Las Vegas (LAS) to Los Angeles (LAX), which operates 23,783 flights and Boston (BOS) to New York (LGA), with 20,426 operating flights.
Globally, the busiest airports overall lie in the Asia-Pacific region. The route from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Singapore (SIN) is the busiest international route in the world, and operates over 30,000 flights annually, followed by Hong Kong (HKG) to Taipei (TPE), with 28,447 total operating flights.
The on-time performance (OTP) measurement in this analysis is sourced from OAG’s flight status database and is for the 12 months to February 2019. OTP is defined as flights that arrive or depart in under 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival/departure times. Cancelations are also included. Carriers operating less than 500 scheduled flights per year on any route were excluded from this report.