The airline routes with the highest revenue are obviously the most in demand slots. According to data compiled by OAG, BA’s JFK-LHR route across the Atlantic made a whopping $1.15 billion in revenue from April 2018 to March 2019. It’s the first route to top the billion dollar mark. The New York and London route actually reported an increased revenue per hour of 10% over this period. And we can see why, over 30% of BA seats on the route are in either First or Business Class. The importance and the value of the route is clear to see.
The top 10 routes and airlines this year are unchanged from the previous year’s ranking which highlights both how valuable and incontestable some of these are in terms of size and scale. Analysis of the data on a revenue per hour basis this year does reveal some wide variations, amongst the top 10 revenue routes, LHR – JFK at US$27,159 per hour is highest whilst an increasingly competitive YYZ – YVR market and low-cost competition offered just US$11,936 per hour for Air Canada.
Interestingly, London Heathrow is a part of five of the top 10 highest revenue routes. Sydney features in two routes but only one airline, Singapore Airlines operates more than one of the top 10 highest revenue routes. Their LHR-SIN and SYD-SIN routes are each very well trafficked.
Despite rapid low-cost airline growth in Asia the top ten routes to and from Asia highlight how a scarcity of competing capacity at some airports can provide rich pickings for established airlines on selected routes. With Hong Kong, Heathrow, Sydney, Haneda and Jakarta appearing in eight of the top ten routes operating the case for more airport capacity in Asia would appear compelling from a competition perspective.
Disproving the theory that only long-haul flights can generate significant revenues the Singapore – Jakarta service of Singapore Airline is the highest revenue producer in the world based on hours flow; generating nearly US$39,000 per hour flown; well ahead of routes such as Heathrow – JFK.
Increasing competition and low-cost airline developments are clearly impacting the revenue per hour for Japan Air Lines on their Tokyo Haneda – Okinawa service where the revenue has significantly declined year on year. Nevertheless, a route that is contributing US$ 19,630 per hour is very valuable to any airline.
Revenue alone is just a metric and for many of these routes, high frequency wide-bodied services means high operating costs. However, it is equally likely that for each of these airlines ,operating profits are amongst the highest on their respective networks. According to OAG’s John Grant, “Our analysis suggests that there is unlikely to be any great movement either in or out of these tables in the next few years until capacity becomes available and then of course at both ends of the route which for many of these airlines will ensure their status for some time.”
The airline routes with the highest revenue will continue to be competitive for the foreseeable future.