Air travel in 2023: The busiest routes and airports

Within the dynamic world of aviation, the panorama of worldwide journey is ever evolving, with routes shifting in reputation and capability. During the last twelve months, the overwhelming majority of airways have returned to profitability (with some posting report monetary outcomes, and others, notably Ryanair, claiming they’ve “more cash than they know what to do with!), boosted flight frequencies to current markets, resumed routes that have been suspended as a result of pandemic, reconnected with areas and opened new markets.
Right here’s a more in-depth have a look at the world’s busiest flight routes, utilizing knowledge from January to December 2023, powered by OAG’s World Airline Schedules Information, to offer an outline of route efficiency and traits.
2023’s busiest worldwide airline route is Kuala Lumpur to Singapore Changi: A gradual chief. The route connecting Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Singapore Changi (SIN) boasts a staggering 4.9mn seats, and the route secures its place because the busiest, showcasing the enduring reputation of journey between these two vibrant Southeast Asian hubs for enterprise, commerce, and tourism.
Cairo to Jeddah: An in depth second. Nipping on the heels of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route is the journey from Cairo (CAI) to Jeddah (JED), securing the second spot with 4.8mn seats. Remarkably, the distinction in capability between the highest two routes is a mere 2%.
Hong Kong to Taipei: A shift in dynamics. The Hong Kong (HKG) to Taipei (TPE) route claims the third place in 2023, boasting 4.6mn seats. Curiously, this route held the highest spot in 2019, however its capability has skilled a 43% drop since then, illustrating the fluid nature of world journey patterns.
Seoul Incheon to Osaka Kansai: The fourth busiest route. Securing the fourth place is the route connecting Seoul Incheon (ICN) to Osaka Kansai (KIX), with 4.2mn seats. As one of many prime contenders, this route displays the strong demand for air journey throughout the Asia-Pacific area.
Half of the routes within the prime 10 busiest worldwide routes for 2023 weren’t a part of the elite record in 2019. These newcomers embody Cairo to Jeddah, Seoul Incheon to Osaka Kansai, Seoul Incheon to Tokyo Narita, Dubai to Riyadh, and Bangkok to Seoul Incheon.
Most routes within the worldwide prime 10 for 2023 exhibit capacities ranging between 9% and 43% beneath their 2019 ranges. Nevertheless, one exception stands out: The London Heathrow (LHR) to New York (JFK) route, which boasts a 1% improve with 3.5mn seats.
Throughout the globe, particular routes shine as regional leaders:
For Asia Pacific: Kuala Lumpur – Singapore Changi with 4,891,952 seats; Europe, Center East & Africa: Cairo – Jeddah with 4,795,712 seats; Latin America: Orlando – San Juan with 2,436,988 seats; and North America: New York JFK – London Heathrow with 3,878,590 seats.
Home skies have been abuzz in 2023, and main the cost because the busiest home airline route is the journey from Jeju (CJU) to Seoul (GMP), boasting a formidable 13.7mn seats. This route has maintained its supremacy, reigning because the busiest home route not simply in 2023 but in addition in each 2019 and 2022. The hole in capability between the primary and second place on this record is notable, standing at a considerable 15%.
Nevertheless, a more in-depth look reveals a shifting panorama, because the CJU-GMP route experiences a 21% discount in airline capability in comparison with 2019. Within the second spot on our home rating is the route from Hokkaido’s Chitose Airport (CTS) to Tokyo Haneda (HND), providing 11.9mn seats. Following intently is the Fukuoka (FUK) to Tokyo Haneda (HND) route, securing the third place with 11.3mn seats and showcasing a modest 6% hole in capability between second and third place.
The home line-up continues with Hanoi (HAN) to Ho Chi Minh Metropolis (SGN) because the fourth busiest route, boasting 10.9mn seats, and Melbourne (MEL) to Sydney (SYD) taking the fifth place with 9.3mn seats. Remarkably, Jakarta (CGK) to Denpasar (DPS) claims the tenth spot, making it the one route within the prime 10 that didn’t characteristic in 2019, highlighting the dynamic shifts in home journey preferences.
Inspecting the information for particular international locations, The busiest home route in China for 2023 is Beijing (PEK) to Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) with 8.4mn seats. That’s 3% larger than 2019 and 49% greater than in 2022 – each years by which PEK-SHA was the busiest home route in China. Guangzhou (CAN) to Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) is in second place with 7.2mn seats and Shenzhen (SZX) to Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) is in third with 7mn seats. A lot of the home routes in China for 2023 have elevated capability in comparison with 2019, starting from 3% to 31%. Nevertheless, routes from Beijing (PEK) have decreased capability by 16% to 43% as a result of opening of Beijing Daxing (PKX) airport in September 2019.
Within the US, Honolulu (HNL) to Kahului (OGG) is the busiest home route within the USA in 2023 with 3.6mn seats, simply 3% greater than Atlanta (ATL) to Orlando (MCO) in second place with 3.5mn seats. Honolulu (HNL) to Kahului (OGG) was not within the prime 10 busiest routes in 2019 and was third in 2022. Las Vegas (LAS) to Los Angeles (LAX) is in third place with 3.5mn seats and New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX) is in fourth place with 3.2mn seats.
The busiest worldwide airport of 2023 is Dubai Worldwide Airport (DXB) with 57mn seats, DXB was additionally the busiest worldwide airport in 2022 and 2019. Calculated utilizing worldwide airline capability solely. London Heathrow Airport (LHR) is in second place with 47mn seats which is analogous capability to 2019 however a rise of 24% in comparison with 2022.
Amsterdam Airport (AMS) is the third busiest worldwide airport with 37.2mn seats, airline capability at AMS 10% much less in comparison with 2019 ranges. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) is in fourth with 36.7mn seats, 11% decrease than 2019 ranges. Two airports within the High 10 Busiest Worldwide Airports for 2023 the place not within the High 10 in 2019, these are:
Doha (DOH), ninth place in 2023 and thirteenth in 2019, and Madrid Adolfo Suarez-Barajas Airport (MAD), tenth place in 2023 and 14th in 2019.

The creator is an aviation analyst. Twitter deal with: @AlexInAir

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