The busiest airline routes are short haul routes. In the US that’s Chicago – New York and Los Angeles – San Francisco, though neither of those break into the world’s top 10.
Worldwide the most passengers each year travel between Seoul and Jeju, Tokyo and Fukuoka, and Sydney and Melbourne. By seat capacity Japanese domestic route Sapporo – Tokyo slides into the number two slot.
For long distance routes, based on capacity, these are the 10 biggest routes:
Credit: Airline Weekly
At the end of March Emirates will be adding a sixth daily Airbus A380 to the Dubai – London Heathrow route. Virgin Atlantic, British Airways (triple daily), Royal Brunei, and Qantas (with 2 A380s) also serve the route.
Four of Emirates’ six daily Dubai – Bangkok flights are operated by Airbus A380s, including with their new high-density configuration of 615 seats.
By Kentaro Iemoto from Tokyo, Japan, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
As amazing a route as New York JFK – London Heathrow is, Los Angeles – London is equally interesting. It’s served by British Airways, Air New Zealand, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and United. Of course New York JFK – London used to be more interesting: it no longer is served by either Kuwait Airways or by Air India. And the stats placing it on top of world long haul routes do not include Newark – London flights on United, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic.
Many observers were surprised by ANA’s plans to operate an A380 on Tokyo – Honolulu after acquiring future deliveries as part of their deal for bankrupt Skymark (which gets them Tokyo Haneda slots, and needed credit Airbus’ buy-in for the deal). But it’s less striking when you see that this is one of the busiest airline routes in the world.
And in fact the only other route besides Honolulu – Tokyo that doesn’t have an Airbus A380 on the schedule is the busiest route, New York JFK – London Heathrow — a route driven by massive frequencies.