Lonely Planet Writer

These are the world’s busiest international air routes

Air travel and tourism have never been busier and above the clouds, our skies are full of planes transporting people on business, pleasure and everything in between. Now one trip has emerged as the busiest international airline route in the world.

Kuala Lumpur makes up one half of the busiest international air route. Photo by f11photo/Shutterstock

Using data from March 2017 to February 2018, the SingaporeKuala Lumpur route has officially been named the busiest in the world by air travel intelligence agency OAG. An incredible 30,537 flights occured between the two airports over that time period, meaning an average of 84 trips per day.

The statistics for the route are impressive; between seven carriers they carried more than four million passengers out of a max capacity of 5.3 million seats. The capacity of this route also grew over the twelve months and 37% of the flights were connecting ones.

ION is one of famous shopping malls in Singapore. Photo by Chatchawat Prasertsom/Shutterstock

Unsurprisingly, the top ten list is dominated by shorter flights, with the majority clocking in at under two hours. The longest route in the top ten is Hong Kong to Seoul which has an average flight time of three hours and 34 minutes.

Asian routes also made up the bulk of the top 10, with the exception being New York’s LaGuardia to Toronto and the route flying between Dubai and Kuwait.

The top 10 busiest international airline routes are:

1. Kuala Lumpur – Singapore
2. Hong Kong – Taipei
3. Jakarta – Singapore
4. Hong Kong – Shanghai
5. Jakarta – Kuala Lumpur
6. Seoul – Osaka
7. Hong Kong – Seoul
8. New York – Toronto
9. Dubai – Kuwait
10. Hong Kong – Singapore

Domestic air routes still come out tops for the number of flights. Photo by normalfx/Getty Images

The busiest European route is Dublin airport to London Heathrow at 14,390 flights and the most popular long-haul journey is New York’s JFK airport to London Heathrow with 13,888 flights per year.

Even the whopping numbers on the top ten list don’t really compare to the popularity of domestic routes. In 2017, the busiest airline route was a South Korean route between Jeju and Seoul which totalled 64,991 flights in the year, more than double the amount on the busiest international route.