Domestic routes in Asia take up most of the 2018 top ten, while the busiest city pair in Europe is Barcelona-Madrid.
The busiest air route in the world, according to new data by aviation analysts at the airline intelligence company OAG, is the 450-kilometre hop between Seoul and Jeju in South Korea.
This is unchanged from last year, but the number of flights is still staggering – exactly 76,460 flights between the two airports in 2018.
By contrast, there were a little over 14,000 flights between London Heathrow and New York’s JFK last year.
Seven airlines operate the route, namely Asiana Airlines, Jeju Airlines, Korean Air, Jin Air, T’way Air, Eastar Jet and Air Busan. More than 26 million passengers use Jeju International each year – more than most European airports.
Jeju is the capital of the island of Jejudo, known as South Korea’s version of Hawaii, a UNESCO-listed holiday destination that is home to volcanic landscapes, mountains, caves, hiking trails and beaches.
Second on OAG’s list is Melbourne-Sydney, with 54,102 departures, while third is taken by Mumbai-Delhi Haneda, with 45,188 flights. The busiest 15 air routes in the world are all domestic services.
The busiest international route is Kuala Lumpur-Singapore, with 30,187 departures in 2018. As many as eight carriers fly this route, including AirAsia, Jetstar Asia, Malaysia Airlines, Scoot, SilkAir and Singapore Airlines.
Europe’s hottest service is Barcelona-Madrid, with 18,812 flights last year, while Latin America’s is Lima-Santiago at 10,369.
The most oversubscribed long-haul route is New York JFK to San Francisco, which saw 15,587 flights in 2018, OAG says.
World’s 10 busiest air routes
Sao Paulo-Rio de Janeiro: 39,747
Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City: 39,291
Los Angeles-San Francisco: 35,365
Busiest international routes
Kuala Lumpur-Singapore: 30,187
Hong Kong-Taipei: 28,447
Hong Kong-Shanghai: 20,678
Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur: 19,741
New York La Guardia-Toronto: 17,038
Hong Kong-Seoul Incheon: 15,770