The World’s 10 Busiest International Flight Routes
Where in the world are people going? OAG Aviation Worldwide examines airport and airline data every year and reveals the world’s busiest routes, based on number of total flights between March 2018 and February 2019.
Of the 20 busiest international routes? Fifteen can be found in Asia Pacific, with most of the flights at hubs in Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.
The busiest international route outside of Asia originates from the United States. Can you guess the route?
10: Dubai (DXB) to Kuwait (KWI)
It's just a 533-mile air flight between the United Arab Emirates city and Kuwait's capital, which takes just an hour and a half — that's 10 hours less than driving along the Persian Gulf through multiple countries.
With the World Economic Forum naming Kuwait and Dubai as top competitive economies in the Middle East, most of the travelers are hopping between countries for work.
Dubai and Kuwait
While business is booming in both Dubai and Kuwait City, they also make for high-energy destinations for travelers. With iconic skyscrapers and structures, visitors will see fast-growing cities emerging from former small desert towns on the Persian Gulf. And, with many expats and businesses comes many international restaurants, so you can sample local foods and get a taste of the world.
9. Bangkok (BKK) to Singapore (SIN)
Some airline flights can take up to 21 hours to get between Bangkok and Singapore (with multiple stops). To drive from Bangkok, Thailand, to Singapore, at the tip of Malaysia would take more than 22 hours.
It's no wonder this flight path is the most popular: It takes just 2.5 hours.
Bangkok and Singapore
You can't help but feel overwhelmed when visiting Bangkok or Singapore. The crowded cities are jam-packed with people on boats, on streets, and everywhere in between. The energy in each city is intoxicating — at every turn you will find new sights, sounds and scents.
8. Hong Kong (HKG) to Incheon (ICN)
From Hong Kong to South Korea, your options are flight or cruise. No contest: Take this 3-hour, 15-minute flight.
Hong Kong to Incheon
Travel between these two countries allows you to experience Chinese and South Korean cultures, with a dose of Great Britain thrown into the mix. Britain controlled Hong Kong for 155 years, returning it to China in 1997. Today, it operates as "One Country, Two Systems," providing one of the most unique modern cities in Asia. Incheon serves as the main transportation hub for neighboring Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Explore temples, palaces, parks and markets in both cities.
7. LaGuardia New York (LGA) to Toronto Pearson (YYZ)
Getting from New York City to Toronto is a full-day's drive or train ride. Instead, America and Canada's biggest cities are connected by a quick hour and a half flight.
New York to Toronto
These similar cities provide more than you can squeeze into a week. Outstanding dining, award-winning stage shows, towering skyscrapers where you can take in views from the top, waterfront parks, and attractions galore. A short connecting flight that allows you to sample both during the same vacation was the one thing we didn't realize was missing.
6. Incheon, South Korea (ICN) to Kansai, Japan (KIX)
Kansai is home to Osaka and Kyoto, Japan. In less than 2 hours, this busy flight connects South Korea to the island of Japan's second largest area after Tokyo.
The alternative? A train ride through South Korea to catch a ferry to the island, which takes more than a day. A bus to a ferry to a train to a bus is faster... at 17 long hours.
Incheon and Kansai
From South Korea's cultural dances to Kyoto, Japan's geishas, travel between Incheon and Kansai connects visitors to a colorful culture in both Asian countries. In Seoul, enjoy the Mask Dance Festival celebrating the birth of Confucianism and the Joseon Dynasty, which ran from 1392 to 1897. In Japan, Geisha dancers and performers trace back to the 11th century.
5. Jakarta (CGK) to Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
Jakarta, located on the Indonesian Island of East Java, can connect to Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia, via this 2-hour flight.
Or, you could take a bus or train with multi-ferry combinations that can take up to two days. (We can see why this flight is popular.)
Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur
The Asian-Pacific culture can further be explored in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Visit the Monas in Jakarta, which is the National Monument and a symbol for Indonesia's fight to be free. Built in 1961, it carries as much importance as Kuala Lumpur's Thean Hou Temple, dedicated to the sea goddess Mazu, built in 1987.
4. Hong Kong (HKG) to Shanghai Pudong (PVG)
There is a bullet train between Hong Kong and Shanghai that took the ride from 19 hours to just 8.
But we suggest taking this 2-hour flight instead.
Hong Kong and Shanghai
Perhaps one of the best thing about the short flights between so many Asian destinations is the chance to sample all of the different local street food. Yum!
3. Jakarta (CGK) to Singapore (SIN)
Flights from Jakarta also shorten the distance for travel to Singapore. This flight takes less than 2 hours.
Jakarta and Singapore
You can even find sites in the Asian Pacific that look like they belong in Europe. In Jakarta, the Gothic Gereja Santa Perawan Maria Diangkat ke Surga is a Roman Catholic cathedral built in 1901. In Singapore, check out the 1887 Colonial-style Raffles Hotel, which features beautiful gardens.
2. Hong Kong (HKG) to Taipei (TPE)
To get between thriving business islands of Hong Kong and Taipei, the flight is much quicker than the ferry option. It takes less than 2 hours and makes this flight the second busiest route.
Hong Kong and Taipei
More than 7.4 million people live in Hong Kong (which consists of an island and the mainland peninsula), and 2.7 million reside in Taipei. Together, 10 million people make these lands vibrant, modern communities. You don't have to do business in either of them to enjoy the cosmopolitan settings.
1. Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Singapore (SIN)
The world's busiest flight connects Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, just 55 short minutes. There is a high-speed rail that connects the two that takes just an hour and a half, but with 1.6 million people in Kuala Lumpur and 5.6 million in Singapore, it makes sense that both are busy routes.
Kuala Lumpur and Singapore
If the buildings or settings in these photos look familiar, that is because Hollywood taps into the beauty of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, using both as backdrops to action and adventure movies. You'll find both in each city. The flights between the cities may be commuter jaunts, but use one for a personal getaway to explore how each city incorporates its history with modern day.