Wings of Dominance: KL to SG Supreme as the World's Busiest Flight Route

Wings of Dominance:  KL to SG Supreme as the World's Busiest Flight Route

Recently, travel intelligence company OAG released its annual ranking of the world's busiest international routes. In the report, the route from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore took the top position.

The report, released on December 21, was based solely on the number of seats successfully sold throughout 2023. As the best performing route, the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route managed to register a figure of 4.9 million seats sold during this year.

Before the pandemic, there were an average of 82 flights per day on this route, but recently the number has dropped to around 36 flights per day. Despite the decline, this route remains the world's shortest international flight, with a travel time of less than one hour. The Jakarta-Singapore and Bangkok-Singapore routes are also among the busiest in the world, ranking seventh and ninth respectively in the top ten international routes.

In total, seven of the world's ten busiest international routes are in the Asia-Pacific region. This reflects the region's rapid recovery over the past year, following delays in reopening compared to other regions of the world due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Top 10 Busiest Flight Routes

Rank Routes Total Seats
1 Kuala Lumpur-Singapore 4,891,952
2 Cairo-Jeddah 4,795,712
3 Hong Kong-Taipei 4,568,280
4 Incheon-Kansai 4,218,484
5 Incheon-Tokyo Narita 4,155,418
6 Dubai-Riyadh 3,990,076
7 Jakarta-Singapore 3,910,502
8 New York JFK-London Heathrow 3,878,590
9 Bangkok-Singapore 3,478,474
10 Bangkok-Incheon 3,362,968

Meanwhile, Changi Airport ranked fifth as the world's busiest international airport in 2023, with the assessment based on aircraft seat capacity. According to the report, Changi Airport will have a total capacity of 36.1 million international seats in 2023.

Top 10 Busiest International Airports

2023 Ranking Airport Name Total Seats 2022 Rangking 2019 Rangking
1 Dubai International Airport 56,504,042 1 1
2 Heathrow Airport 46,521,295 2 2
3 Amsterdam Aiport Schiphol 37,172,424 3 6
4 Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport 36,676,928 4 7
5 Singapore Changi Airport 36,136,334 8 4
6 Istanbul Airport 35,915,798 5 10
7 Incheon International Airport 33,704,264 25 5
8 Frankfurt International Airport 33,519,909 6 8
9 Doha Hamad International Airport 28,668,040 7 13
10 Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport 25,032,355 9 14

Changi Airport experienced a 66% increase in international seat capacity from 21.7 million in 2022, making it the fifth busiest airport in the world, according to OAG. While these figures indicate a year-on-year recovery that is now accelerating in the Asia-Pacific region, Changi Airport is still 15% below its pre-pandemic level in 2019.

According to Mayur Patel, OAG's Head of Asia, the recovery of travel in the Asia-Pacific region in 2023 is a two-pronged story, with South Asia, Southeast Asia and Australasia recovering faster than Northeast Asia. Changi Airport experienced an early recovery, but it has slowed due to the sluggish return of tourists from China. Meanwhile, transportation hubs in the Middle East, such as Dubai and Doha, fully recovered and recorded seat capacity growth above 2019 levels as they are less dependent on the Chinese market.

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