Creative Commons licensed photo by 螺钉.
What are the ten busiest air routes in the world? Place your bets.
Click on the photo above to buy “198”, by book on
visiting random people on my travels
to in every country in the world 

Which cities did you guess?

London-Paris? Wrong, they have too much competition from trains, boats and automobiles. Besides the British and the French aren’t particularly fond of each other. An Abba song allegedly caused some trouble. 
New York-Chicago? Wrong, the economy of the country is going down the drains. Besides, Americans love their cars, vans and trucks. Why fly when you can clock up some miles on the odometer? Petrol is still cheap “over there”. Compared to here, at least.   
Moscow-St. Petersburg? Wrong, there were too many journalists looking for Snowdon in the airport that there were no room for passengers to boost the volumes. 
None of the top ten routes are even in Europe or in North America. No joke.

Number one is between an airport you haven’t heard about and an island you didn’t know existed. Or do you actually know where Gimpo airport is? It is the secondary airport of Seoul, South Korea. It mainly caters for domestic flights. And the most popular destination, by far, is Jeju Island, south of the country. Why? It is the beach paradise of Korea, where Koreans flock for weddings, stag nights, family holidays, mountain hiking, Korean barbeques or anything else you can think of. I have travelled the route myself, and have never seen so many airlines travel to the same destination. There were flights, as in plural, every hour. And I would recommend flying Jeju Air. The cabin crew will play rock, scissors paper with the passengers. The last passenger still in the game wins a prize. Creative! 
Seven of the top ten air routes are in Asia, the last three are on three different continents. And not in North America or Europe, but in Africa, Oceania and South America. Did someone say the western economies are going bust? Do not believe them!
Only one of the routes is an international route, between Hong Kong, technically a part of China, and Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. Four of the routes are in Japan, according to Amadeus
Top ten air routes of the world
1. Jeju-Seoul: 10.1 million passengers.
2. Sapporo-Tokyo: 8.2 million passengers. 
3. Rio de Janeiro-Sao Paulo: 7.7 million passengers. 
4. Beijing-Shanghai: 7.2 million passengers. 
5. Melbourne-Sydney: 6.9 million passengers. 
6. Osaka-Tokyo: 6.7 million passengers. 
7. Fukuoka-Tokyo: 6.6 million passengers. 
8. Hong Kong-Taipei: 5.5 million passengers. 
9. Okinawa-Tokyo: 4.6 million passengers. 
10. Cape Town-Johannesburg: 4.4 million passengers. 


  1. Interesting list, I thought at least one U.S. route would be in there. Had a feeling the the top routes would all be those between cities in the same countries.

    On an unrelated note, have you ever considered visiting some smaller dependencies? Obviously all of them would add a ton to your list, but how about some of the most difficult places to visit on the planet (Again, these are not independent countries)?

    I just thought of those off the top of my head.

    Such as –
    Tokelau – Small island territory of New Zealand. No flights/airports. Only way in and out is via a 30 hour boat ride from Samoa.

    Chagos Islands – Middle of the Indian Ocean. Not really possible although you can likely get there with private vessel or tour company. Anybody can go, just need to get on the boat.

    Nicobar Islands – Part of the Andaman and Nicobar group of India. Nicobars are not allowed for tourists, both domestic and international, despite having a thriving native population (Nicobarese) of people. May be possible to get there if you have certain connections.

    These are just off the top of my head. Wish I could go to any of them, but somebody with your credentials has a far better chance of being allowed.

  2. I have flown the 3rd busiest one and it actually doesn't make me surprised finding it on the list. Christmas/New Year period at the airpots of São Paulo (CGH and GRU) and Rio (SDU and GIG) are a big trouble.

  3. You ignore New York-Chicago because only of cheap petrol or people like to travel through cars,trucks,or rental cabs. It is also busiest place as Cape Town-Johannesburg now lots of passengers are come from outside to see different architecture,museums,city,and lakes. Beaches are famous attractions of Chicago people comes during summer vacations here. So just think about it!!

  4. Wow I knew Jeju because I love South Korea,Japan and China so obviously a lot of people talk of the beauty of Jeju Island and how they go to Seoul to take a plane. I have seen pictures,documentals and heard experienes from over there so I am glad many people visit since it's such a beautiful place

  5. All of these are domestic routes, all could be connected by decent rail services. There might be problems with some sea in the way, but this is not insurmountable these days. (Number 9 excepted)

  6. Great list of busiest air routes in the world. And thanks for sharing this information with us. And one can aware of different things while traveling through these routes to their destination. I have through fifth busiest air routes in the world that you have described in the list. But i always looks for cheap flight tickets for traveling and book my ticket from because of their services. And thanks again for your nice information. And can't find any where such a great information.

Comments are closed.