10 Busiest Flight Routes in 2023

This fall, international air travel rebounded significantly, reaching 98.2 percent of pre-pandemic levels, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The resurgence in global travel has led to a bustling sky, with passengers jetting off to various destinations. Recent data from OAG unveils the 10 busiest flight routes in 2023, shedding light on the changing landscape of international travel.

OAG expresses optimism, stating that by the end of 2024, international travel is expected to fully recover to 2019 levels. This resurgence has prompted a resurgence in busy flight routes, revealing global citizens’ renewed enthusiasm for exploring the world.

OAG’s list for 2023 showcases familiar airport pairs that dominated pre-pandemic rankings, with some noteworthy changes. The top spot goes to the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Singapore Changi route, reclaiming its position with 4.9 million seats. Other notable routes include Cairo to Jeddah, Hong Kong to Taipei, and Seoul Incheon to Osaka Kansai. The only non-Asian route in the top 10 is New York City (JFK to London Heathrow (LHR) on 8th position.

The Top 10 Busiest Flight Routes:
1. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (KUL) to Singapore Changi (SIN): 4.9 million seats
2. Cairo, Egypt (CAI) to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (JED): 4.8 million seats
3. Hong Kong (HKG) to Taipei, Taiwan (TPE): 4.6 million seats
4. Seoul Incheon, Korea (ICN) to Osaka Kansai, Japan (KIX): 4.2 million seats
5. Seoul Incheon (ICN) to Tokyo Narita, Japan (NRT): 4.15 million seats
6. Dubai, United Arab Emirates (DBX) to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (RUH): 3.99 million seats
7. Jakarta, Indonesia (CGK) to Singapore Changi (SIN): 3.9 million seats
8. New York City (JFK) to London Heathrow (LHR): 3.88 million seats
9. Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) to Singapore Changi (SIN): 3.5 million seats
10. Bangkok (BKK) to Seoul Incheon (ICN): 3.4 million seats

In 2019, the Hong Kong to Taipei route held the top position, but in 2023, the spotlight shifted to Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. Half of the routes in the current top 10 were not present in the 2019 rankings, showcasing the dynamic nature of global air travel.

OAG anticipates additional shifts in 2024, with the re-emergence of Chinese international travellers expected to impact key tourism markets in Southeast Asia. This resurgence is likely to drive more traffic and contribute to the evolving patterns of the world’s busiest flight routes.

Sven Franssen