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Airlines: Where the Money Is

A smattering of routes anchor the networks for these airlines, according to OAG

August 15, 2019

While the busiest routes — Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) and Changi Airport, Singapore (SIN) among them – may prove to be the most popular for some airlines, those routes with the highest frequency are not always the ones with the highest dollar value overall.

OAG, a provider of travel data and insights, recently released its hit list of money making airline routes around the world.

Topping that list is British Airways and its service between New York JFK and London Heathrow.

The route will bring in just under $1.16 billion this year for the airline and remains the only billion-dollar route in the world, edging out its closest competitor by nearly $300 million.

In fact, seven of the top ten revenue routes to and from North America include New York with JFK appearing in half of the top ten and Newark in two. Transcontinental routes dominate the domestic services in the top ten with LAX – JFK appearing twice in the table for both American and Delta Air Lines.

The relatively shorter sector length between Heathrow and Boston show a higher revenue value per hour for British Airways than their JFK service while Air France’s CDG – JFK service ranks sixth in the top ten.

According to the OAG analysis, rapid low-cost airline growth in Asia highlight scarce competition at some airports can provide lucrative routings for established airlines and help to disprove the theory that only long-haul flights can generate significant revenues. The Singapore – Jakarta service of Singapore Airline is the highest revenue producer in the world based on hours flow; generating nearly $39,000 per hour flown, outpacing routes such as Heathrow – JFK on some scales.

Increasing competition and low-cost airline developments are impacting the revenue per hour for Japan Air Lines on their Tokyo Haneda – Okinawa service where the revenue has significantly declined year on year. Nevertheless, that route that is contributing $19,630 per hour and is still a major valuable to that airline.