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Barcelona - Madrid remains top

OAG reveals world`s busiest routes

The route between Barcelona and Madrid has retained top spot on the list of `world`s busiest routes` with the highest number of flight operations (971 per week), closely followed by Sao Paulo Congonhas/Rio de Janeiro…

The route between Barcelona and Madrid has retained top spot on the list of `world`s busiest routes` with the highest number of flight operations (971 per week), closely followed by Sao Paulo Congonhas/Rio de Janeiro (894 per week), Jeju/Seoul Gimpo (858 per week) and Melbourne/Sydney (851 per week). These statistics have been compiled by OAG BACK Aviation Solutions, a division of flight information and data solutions company Official Airline Guide (OAG), by tracking frequency (volume of flights) on its renowned schedules database.


Analysis of European routes shows that Amsterdam/London Heathrow is the busiest international route (ranked 8th overall in the region with 350 flight operations per week), with all others in the Top 10 being domestic

routes. Norway has 2 routes in the Top 10 (Bergen/Oslo and Trondheim Vaernes/Oslo.). Paris Orly features twice for its routes to Toulouse and to Nice.

North America

Topping the North American region for having the most flights per week is the route between Honolulu and Kahului, with 639 flight operations per week. The major trunk route of Las Vegas/Los Angeles is in second place with 553 per week, followed by San Diego/Los Angeles with 514 flights. New York La Guardia appears twice for the Boston and Washington Ronald Reagan routes.


Korea takes top spot in the Asia Pacific region for its route between Jeju and Seoul Gimpo (858 flights per week), very closely followed by the Melbourne/Sydney route with 851. Mumbai/Delhi takes 3rd place with 742

flights per week, and there are three routes to/from China in the Asia top 10.

Latin America

The route between Sao Paulo Congonhas and Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont has significantly more flights than any other route in Latin America, with almost 900 per week. All routes in the `top 10 busiest` list for this region are domestic, with 3 each for Brazil and Mexico, 2 for Colombia, and 1 each for Ecuador and Belize.

Middle East

This region has the most international routes in its `Top 10 busiest` list, with just 5 of them being domestic. The route between Bahrain and Dubai is the busiest international sector with 184 flight operations per week, although this is ranked 4th overall in the region behind Jeddah/Riyadh in Saudi Arabia (324 flights); Mashad/Tehran Mehrabad in Iran (199 flights); and Dammam/Riyadh in Saudi Arabia (184 flights).


South Africa dominates the African list with 6 of the top 10 busiest routes in the region, reflecting the highly competitive market there. Leading the way is Cape Town/Johannesburg with 831 weekly flights followed by Durban/Johannesburg with 588.

Flights & Capacity continue to increase year-on-year

The world`s airlines will operate 2.47 million flights and offer a total of 295.1 million seats in September 2007 according to the latest statistics from OAG BACK Aviation Solutions, a division of flight information and data solutions company Official Airline Guide (OAG). This represents an increase of 4% and 6%, respectively, compared to the same month last year.

The number of operations within Europe will grow by 6% year-on-year and capacity will increase by 9%. As a result there will be 619,000 flights available within the European market in September with a total seat capacity of 73.5 million.

International traffic to-and-from Europe will also experience a significant increase of 8%, while capacity is expected to rise by 7%. Significantly growth to-and-from Eastern Europe will be 9% and 14%, respectively. In

September 2007, airlines will operate 62,000 flights and offer 7.3 million seats to-and-from this growing market. Equally significant is the 9% increase in the number of flights and the 12% increase in available seat capacity within the European Union (EU27).

Transatlantic traffic is expected to grow by 9% in September 2007 with airlines planning to offer a total of 7.4 million seats, 655,000 more than the same period last year. London Gatwick (LGW), Madrid (MAD), Rome

Fiumicino (FCO) and New York Kennedy (JFK) are among the major airports that will contribute to this growth. London Gatwick in particular will experience a 14% rise in the number of its transatlantic operations and a 9% increase in the number of seats offered to-and-from the US and Canada.

Nick Salter, Sales Director OAG BACK Aviation Solutions, commented: Although growth between Asia/Pacific and Western Europe is more modest than other routes at just 2% overall, some hubs serving this route such as Hong Kong and Seoul show a much higher than average growth at 13% and 23% respectively. The same is true between Asia/Pacific and the US and Canada where Shanghai Pu Dong, Beijing and San Francisco are helping to drive growth in transpacific operations.

Growth in low cost sector continues to soar

Capacity on low cost airlines has more than doubled in just four years, according to latest figures released from OAG BACK Aviation Solutions. This month, budget airlines plan to offer more than 58 million seats on over 392,000 flights worldwide, compared with 47 million seats on over 326,000 flights in September 2006. This represents more than 11 million extra seats on over 66,000 more flights operated by the low cost sector – a year-on-year increase of 24% and 20% respectively.

Low cost flights now account for 16% of all flights and 20% of all seats worldwide, compared to 14% and 17% a year ago.

The figures are revealed in a special report conducted by OAG BACK Aviation Solutions in advance of the Routes Development Forum in Stockholm and the World Low Cost Airlines Congress in London this week. OAG collates data from more than 1000 airlines, on a daily basis, and tracks around 28 million departures a year.


Within Europe, low cost flights account for 22% of the total flight activity within this region for September 2007, up from 18% year on year. Low cost capacity represents 30% of the total seats available within the market, a jump of 6% compared with September 2006. Low cost carriers will offer 133,000 flights and 21.8 million seats within Europe in September 2007.

Intra-regional growth figures show that the European low cost industry is growing at a faster pace than the rest of the world by a significant margin. There are just under 31,000 additional no frills flights offering 5.6 million seats within the region this month than in September 2006, a rise of 30% and 35% respectively.

North America

Within North America, low cost flights account for 18% of the total flight activity within this market (164,000 flights), up from 17% last year. Low cost capacity represents a similarly modest rise of 1% to 27% of the total number of seats available in this region (22 million seats).

The US domestic market, although still the busiest in this sector, has shown a 7% growth in both frequency and capacity (10,700 more low cost flights and 1.3 million more seats).


More dramatic is the growth shown by the low cost sector in Asia/Pacific, which has risen from 3,900 flights and 600,000 seats six years ago, to an impressive 61,000 flights and 9.2 million seats in September this year. As a result, the low cost market now accounts for 12% of all flights and all seats within Asia/Pacific.

Asia continues its upward trend, with 12,500 more flights (up 26%) year on year, with 2.2 million more seats (up 32%). India is making a significant contribution to this growth. The latest figures for September 2007 reveal there is a 44% growth in the number of domestic low cost flights (5,700 more flights) and 75% growth in capacity of over 1.1 million seats.

Middle East

Although comparatively small in actual numbers, the Middle East low cost sector is still booming, with a doubling of no-frills flights within the region to 2,200 offering more than 350,000 seats.

Busiest Low Cost Routes

Analysis of the busiest routes worldwide operated by low cost airlines this month, reveals no change in the top three routes with the highest number of no-frills flight operations per week compared to the rankings in September 2006. They are Dallas Love Field/Houston (372 low cost flights per week), Melbourne/Sydney (366 flights) and Denver/Las Vegas (319 flights).

There are just two `new entry` routes in the Top 10 compared with a year ago. They are Mumbai/Delhi (in at number 4 with 318 low cost flights per week), reflecting the dynamics of the rapidly expanding Indian market, and Cape Town/Johannesburg (in at number 10 with 266 low cost flights per week). Interestingly, there are no European routes within the top ten with the highest weekly frequencies.

Vicky Karantzavelou
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.