Budget Travelers' Dream: Here’s The World's Largest Low-Cost Megahubs

Budget Travelers' Dream: Here’s The World's Largest Low-Cost Megahubs
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While many markets have recovered from the lingering effects of the pandemic, the Asia-Pacific region is still in the process of full recovery. 

Interestingly, despite the slower recovery in this region, Asia-Pacific airports serving low-cost carrier (LCC) flights dominate the ranking. It was found that 13 airports from the Asia-Pacific region made it into the top 25 list of low-cost hubs.

OAG, an aviation analytics provider, recently released its Megahubs Index 2023, which provides insights into flight connectivity at some of the world's largest airports and how that connectivity has recovered. This was made possible by improvements in air travel, allowing OAG to return to the full methodology last used in 2019.

The Megahubs Index is used by OAG to assess the effectiveness of leading international airport hubs as connecting points for passengers and access to domestic markets. The ranking is determined by comparing the number of scheduled international flights to and from an airport with the number of destinations served by that airport.

The International Megahub Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) Index uses a similar approach but is limited to low-cost carrier.

Of the 25 low-cost megahubs, there is significant penetration in some Asian regions. For example, South Asia has the largest share of the world's capacity operated by low-cost carriers (LCCs) at 63%. Meanwhile, Southeast Asia has the second-highest share of LCCs, with about 53% of the region's total capacity operated by LCCs.

Kuala Lumpur Airport (KUL) ranks first in the LowCost Megahubs Index with more than 11,000 possible low-cost connections to more than 100 destinations. AirAsia is the dominant carrier with about 34% of the traffic. Meanwhile, Incheon (ICN) ranks second, with Korean Air as the main airline controlling about 22% of the flights, and Manila (MNL) ranks third, with Philippine Airlines as the main player with a flight share of about 32%. 

Outside of Asia, Dubai (DXB) jumped to seventh place from 19th place in 2019, while New York's JFK Airport (JFK) is the highest North American airport on the list of 25 low-cost airports, ranking eighth. Meanwhile, Barcelona Airport (BCN) and Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) are the highest ranked European airports, coming in at ninth and tenth, respectively.

Here are the top 10 low-cost megahubs of 2023 according to OAG:

Rank Airport Country Rank in 2019 Dominant Carrier Share of Flight
1 KUL Malaysia 1 AirAsia 34%
2 ICN Republic of Korea 4 Korean Air 22%
3 MNL The Philippines - Philippine Airlines 32%
4 SIN Singapore - Singapore Airlines 31%
5 CGK Indonesia 8 Batik Air 21%
6 DEL India 6 IndiGo 39%
7 DXS United Arab Emirates 19 Emirates 39%
8 JFX USA 12 Delta Air Lines 34%
9 BCN Spain 10 Vueling Airlines 43%
10 SAW Turkey 16 Pegasus Airlines 60%


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