Airplanes Lined Up on Runway
Photograph ©2008 by Brian Cohen.

I Could Not Guess The Busiest Air Route in the World. Could You?

N ew York to Washington? London to Frankfurt? Hong Kong to Tokyo? Atlanta to Orlando? Singapore to Shanghai? Sydney to Auckland?

When I read the headline to this article The world’s busiest air route? You’ll never guess as written by Oliver Smith — who is the digital travel editor of The Telegraph — I thought at first that it would be considered another example of click bait.

I Could Not Guess The Busiest Air Route in the World. Could You?

I was not even close with my guesses.

Before I reveal the answer, I will give you one hint: of the top ten busiest air routes in the world, only one is not wholly within Asia.

Nothing yet?

How about if I give you nine of the top ten business air routes — and their respective capacities one way — without revealing the answer?

  1. ?
  2. Sapporo New Chitose – Tokyo Haneda 6,209,366
  3. Fukuoka – Tokyo Haneda 5,961,277
  4. Melbourne – Sydney Kingsford Smith 5,067,167
  5. Taipei Taiwan Taoyuan International – Hong Kong International 4,146,547
  6. Delhi – Mumbai 4,143,639
  7. Ho Chi Minh City – Hanoi 4,141,322
  8. Beijing Capital International – Shanghai Hongqiao International 3,962,081
  9. Surabaya – Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta 3,849,866
  10. Tokyo Haneda – Okinawa Naha 3,784,546

Still have no clue?

“The correct answer will surprise you”, Smith wrote. “The most in-demand flight on Earth is actually the 280-mile hop from Seoul Gimpo International (stop sniggering) to Jeju International. More than 11 million journeys were made between the two South Korean airports in 2015, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports, and with a one-way capacity of 6,561,314 for 2016, according to aviation number crunchers OAG, that figure could yet rise to 13m this year.”


Well, that explains why airfares were seemingly expensive when I did a cursory search for flights to Jeju from Seoul while planning a trip to South Korea in 2014. I ultimately decided to bypass Jeju, as I probably did not really have enough time allotted to appreciate and enjoy it anyway; but I will certainly consider it for a future destination if or when I return to that part of the world again…

Photograph ©2008 by Brian Cohen.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!