Data for 2015 is available and I find it fascinating what the 15 airline routes with the greatest capacity are for the year.
Some of these I knew, like the South Korean domestic route between Seoul’s closer-in Gimpo airport (not Incheon) and Jeju. Japanese domestic routes are always up there. But I would have assumed that Osaka – Tokyo would have been their biggest, and it’s only their fourth biggest. Here’s the list, which was surprising in many ways both for some of the routes included and for the ordering of those routes.
Top 15 Routes by Seat Capacity in 2015:
- Seoul Gimpo – Jeju (South Korea domestic)
- Sapporo Chitose – Tokyo Haneda (Japan domestic)
- Tokyo Haneda – Fukuoka (Japan domestic)
- Melbourne – Sydney (Australia domestic)
- Taipei Taoyuan – Hong Kong
- Mumbai – Delhi (India domestic)
- Okinawa – Tokyo Haneda (Japan domestic)
- Beijing – Shanghai Hongqiao (China domestic)
- Osaka Itami – Tokyo Haneda (Japan domestic)
- Rio de Janeiro – Sao Paulo (Brazil domestic)
- Surabaya – Jakarta (Indonesia domestic)
- Ho Chi Minh City – Hanoi (Vietnam domestic)
- Sydney – Brisbane (Australia domestic)
- Johannesburg – Capetown (South Africa domestic)
- Jakarta – Singapore
Data from OAG
Vietnam Airlines flies Ho Chi Minh City – Hanoi… along with Jetstar Pacific and VietJet
What I found most fascinating is that not a single route is in North America or Europe.
- 13 of the 15 routes are in Asia Pacific (one is in Africa and one South America).
- 13 of the 15 are domestic routes. Taipei – Hong Kong is in some sense almost a domestic route.
There’s no New York – DC (though Amtrak has outcompeted what was once a vigorous air shuttle market) or New York – Los Angeles. If we were looking at frequency (number of flights) I suspect this list would look different. You’d probably see Los Angeles – San Francisco on that list for instance.