These Are the World’s Busiest Aviation Routes in 2019

Mar 26, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The world’s busiest international air route is between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore; among the top 20 international routes by number of flights per year, only three involve points in the US; and all but a handful are in Asia. And domestically, Asia dominates too, with the number one route by far an hourlong hop in South Korea. That’s according to data from OAG, a UK-based air travel intelligence company.

OAG’s 2019 report on the world’s busiest aviation routes looks at data from March 2018 to February 2019, and excludes carriers that operate fewer than 500 scheduled flights per year on any route.

The 20 Busiest International Routes

According to OAG, 15 of the world’s top 20 busiest routes are in Asia Pacific, with a cluster around the Asian hub airports of Singapore (SIN), Hong Kong (HKG), Kuala Lumpur (KUL) and Bangkok (BKK). Eight carriers operate the KUL-SIN route to the tune of an average of 82 flights per day. As a general rule, OAG found that an average of seven airlines operate the typical Asian route, both domestic and international, while the average is three carriers per route in the US and Europe.

The busiest international route outside of Asia, between New York LaGuardia (LGA) and Toronto (YYZ), is ranked seventh on the international top 10 list and takes first place on the North America international routes list. The US has a far more relevant presence when it comes to long-haul routes, i.e. more than 2,175 miles (3,500 km); seven of the top 10 busiest originate or terminate in the US.

The 20 Busiest Domestic Routes

If you thought the international top statistic of 30,000 flights per year was a lot, try again: 15 of the world’s busiest domestic routes operate more flights each year than the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore international route, with Japan and Indonesia each claiming two of the spots in the top 15. The 20 busiest domestic routes are located in 13 different countries in every inhabited continent except Europe, according to OAG, with Indonesia claiming three of the top 20 slots. Tied for second place are Australia, China, India, Japan and the United States, each with two of the busiest domestic routes.

Korea is home to the world’s busiest domestic route by a large margin, with seven carriers operating more than 200 daily services between Jeju Island (CJU) and Seoul Gimpo (GMP) for a grand total of nearly 80,000 flights per year. Australia has the second-busiest domestic route, with just under 150 flights per day connecting Melbourne (MEL) and Sydney (SYD).

The full report further breaks down each route by airline, on-time performance and a number of other factors. To check it out for yourself, read the 2019 OAG Report.

Tables courtesy of OAG. Featured photo by Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.