Lonely Planet Writer

These are the airports in the world with the most connections

While last week’s discovery of what the world’s busiest domestic air route was might have left everyone a bit shocked, there are no surprises to be had when it comes to the world’s best-connected airport – London Heathrow sits undefeated at the top of the Megahubs International Index for 2018 as well.

Chicago O’Hare Airport climbed up two positions and ranked second. Photo by uschools/Getty Images

The annual report compiled by air travel intelligence company OAG, the same one behind the research on the world’s most profitable air routes, showed that on the busiest day there were 66,000 possible connections a passenger could make in a six-hour window in the United Kingdom’s capital’s main airport. The staggering number was enough to clear all doubts about Heathrow’s dominance over its “rivals”.

Second place went to Chicago O’Hare in the USA, which moved up from last year’s fourth place. After that, it’s Frankfurt Airport in Germany and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands, who both ensure that two out of the top five spots go to Europe, with Toronto Pearson in Canada closing off the ranking.

The best-connected airport in Latin America is Mexico City International Airport in Mexico, which ranks 20th, while Istanbul Ataturk Airport in Turkey has risen to claim the 17th position, one step above Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates.

Frankfurt Airport ranked third in the world. Photo by Christian Nass/EyeEm/Getty Images

OAG calculated each megahub’s “connectivity index” by looking at all the possible connections “between inbound and outbound flights that could be made in a six-hour window at the largest 200 airports in the world and at the largest 200 international airports,” as it reads on the report. All flights were taken into consideration, whether the inbound, outbound or both flights were international or not.

“A key characteristic of many of the top 50 Megahubs is that they have one airline which operates 40% or more of flights,” it reads on the report. However, like OAG’s John Grant writes in the blog post introducing the report, “Los Angeles, Singapore and Jakarta each have a dominant carrier which operates just 20-30% of flights, demonstrating that successful hub airports need not be dependent on a single hub-focused airline.”

Changi Airport is the best airport in the world and it’s also the first in Asia when it comes to connecting flights. Photo by enviromantic/Getty Images

New additions to the Top 50 included Philadelphia International Airport, Fort LauderdaleHollywood International Airport, El Prat Airport in Barcelona and Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

Here is the data on the Top 15 best-connected airports:

  1. London Heathrow (LHR) in the United Kingdom. Connectivity index is 333 and the dominant carrier is British Airways (with 52% of flights)
  2. Chicago O’Hare (ORD) in the United States. Connectivity index is 306 and the dominant carrier is United Airlines (with 48% flights)
  3. Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in Germany. Connectivity index is 302 and the dominant carrier is Lufthansa (with 63% of flights)
  4. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) in the Netherlands. Connectivity index is 286 and the dominant carrier is KLM (with 51% of flights)
  5. Toronto Pearson (YYZ) in Canada. Connectivity index is 271 and the dominant carrier is Air Canada (with 60% of flights)
  6. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in the United States. Connectivity index is 257 and the dominant carrier is American Airlines (with 21% of flights)
  7. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in the United States. Connectivity index is 256 and the dominant carrier is Delta Air Lines (with 79% of flights)
  8. Changi Airport (SIN) in Singapore. Connectivity index is 253 and the dominant carrier is Singapore Airlines (with 23% of flights)
  9. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) in France. Connectivity index is 250 and the dominant carrier is Air France (with 51% of flights)
  10. Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK) in Jakarta, Indonesia. Connectivity index is 249 and the dominant carrier is Garuda Indonesia (with 28% of flights)
  11. Munich Airport (MUC) in Germany. Connectivity index is 237 and the dominant carrier is Lufthansa (with 59% of flights)
  12. Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) in Malaysia. Connectivity index is 233 and the dominant carrier is AirAsia (with 40% of flights)
  13. Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) in Hong Kong. Connectivity index is 230 and the dominant carrier is Cathay Pacific Airways (with 26% of flights)
  14. Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) in Bangkok, Thailand. Connectivity index is 230 and the dominant carrier is Thai Airways International (with 21% of flights)
  15. Incheon International Airport (ICN) in Seoul, South Korea. Connectivity index is 216 and the dominant carrier is Korean Air (with 23% of flights)

If you’re interested in knowing all the airports that made it into the Index, you can check out OAG’s dedicated webpage here.