Photo: Simon Sonnekus
  • Travel data provider OAG recently released its annual list of the busiest routes in the world, and the number of flights airlines operate between some destinations is simply astonishing.
  • Eight of the 15 most popular flights in the world are in Asia.
  • The route between Cape Town and Johannesburg was the eleventh busiest route in the world.
  • The busiest route in the world is between Seoul and Jeju Island, South Korea with more than 79,000 flights a year.

With air travel growing at an impressive rate around the world, certain routes have developed into veritable highways in the sky.

Recently, travel data provider OAG released its annual list of the busiest routes in the world, and the number of flights airlines operate between some destinations is simply astonishing.

With almost 34,000 flights over the past year, the route between Cape Town and Johannesburg was the eleventh busiest in the world.

According to the OAG rankings, based on the total number of flights between two airports, routes in Asia take up eight of the top 15 spots. That's no surprise to OAG senior analyst John Grant.

"Asia is once again home to the world's busiest routes," Grand said in a statement. "In addition to the dominant role played by Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Jakarta have become Asia's new 'golden triangle,' offering similar benefits to major U.S. hubs, Boston, New York, and Washington."

The busiest route in the world is between Seoul and the popular vacation destination of Jeju Island, just south of the Korean Peninsula. In 2018, seven airlines combined to operate 79,460 flights between Seoul's Gimpo International Airport and Jeju International. That breaks down to roughly 201 flights per day - making it the most popular flight in the world.

Asiana led the way with 19,434 flights last year followed by Jeju Airlines with 14,286 flights. Korean Air finished third with 11,909 flights, just ahead of Jin Air's 11,290 flights.

Incredibly, the 15 busiest routes in the world are also domestic. The most popular international route - between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - finished 16th with 30,187 flights.

The most popular flight in the US is between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Last year, five airlines operated 35,365 flights between the two California cities.

Here's a closer look at the busiest routes in the world (also known as the most popular flights in the world).


15. Bogotá, Colombia (BOG) — Medellin, Colombia (MDE).

Flights per year: 31,279

Airlines serving the route: 3


14. Jakarta, Indonesia (CGK) — Denpasar, Indonesia (DPS).

Flights per year: 31,958

Airlines serving the route: 6


13. Cusco, Peru (CUZ) — Lima, Peru (LIM).

Flights per year: 32,095

Airlines serving the route: 6


12. Brisbane, Australia (BNE) — Sydney, Australia (SYD).

Flights per year: 33,443

Airlines serving the route: 4


11. Cape Town, South Africa (CPT) — Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB).

Flights per year: 33,708

Airlines serving the route: 6


10. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (JED) — Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (RUH).

Flights per year: 35,149

Airlines serving the route: 5


9. Los Angeles, California (LAX) — San Francisco, California (SFO).

Flights per year: 35,365

Airlines serving the route: 5


8. Jakarta, Indonesia (CGK) — Surabaya, Indonesia (SUB).

Flights per year: 37,762

Airlines serving the route: 6


7. Sapporo, Japan (CTS) — Tokyo, Japan (HND).

Flights per year: 39,271

Airlines serving the route: 4


6. Hanoi, Vietnam (HAN) — Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (SGN).

Flights per year: 39,291

Airlines serving the route: 3


5. Fukuoka, Japan (FUK) — Tokyo, Japan (HND).

Flights per year: 39,406

Airlines serving the route: 4


4. Sao Paulo, Brazil (CGH) — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (SDU).

Flights per year: 39,747

Airlines serving the route: 3


3. Mumbai, India (BOM) — New Delhi, India (DEL).

Flights per year: 45,188

Airlines serving the route: 6


2. Melbourne, Australia (MEL) — Sydney, Australia (SYD).

Flights per year: 54,102

Airlines serving the route: 4


1. Jeju, South Korea (CJU) — Seoul, South Korea (GMP).

Flights per year: 79,460

Airlines serving the route: 7

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