Asian Travel Takes Flight

Airline travel in Asia is booming. The busiest route is in Asia and a significant amount of global business travel flows from Asian cities to other Asian cities.

The latest global ranking from OAG shows us the top 20 busiest international routes. It’s not surprising to learn that 14 of the top 20 routes operate to, from or within Asia. These are routes which connect Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul and Osaka to other parts of Asia. In fact all of the top 7 routes are routes within Asia, demonstrating the intensity of travel between key hub airports and cities.

Outside Asia, there are 5 short haul routes which are operated with a high density of scheduled air service. These are New York LaGuardia – Toronto, Dubai – Kuwait, Dublin – London Heathrow, Amsterdam -London Heathrow and Chicago-Toronto.

The only long-haul route which features among the top 20 busiest international routes is New York JFK-London Heathrow which supports an average of 38 daily flights. Ranked 16thin terms of flights and 14thfor passenger traffic, the fact that a long-haul route operated by wide-body aircraft such as this does not rank higher for traffic reflects the use of some large aircraft on some of the shorter routes as a means to address airport congestion and slot availability.

Many of the Asian routes are experiencing strong competition, with an average of 7 carriers – in one case 11 carriers – operating on each route. By comparison, the European and North American routes, in more mature markets, are operated on average by just 3 carriers.

All this data goes to show that business travel is healthy and the global industry is doing well, especially in Asia.