Top 10 busiest domestic routes in the world 2022

Every year, OAG, a global travel data provider, publishes an analysis of the world’s busiest, most competitive, longest, and most profitable airline routes. Recently, it has released the ‘Busiest Routes 2022’ report, which assesses and provides updates on the busiest flight routes in the world by scheduled seats in the last 12 months (October 2021-September 2022). Based on this report, let’s find out the top 10 busiest domestic airline routes around the globe in 2022.

In the last 12 months, Asia Pacific Region held a dominant position, encompassing 9 of the top 10 busiest domestic routes operated by carriers worldwide.

10. Beijing-Shanghai (PEK-SHA)

The Chinese flight route from Beijing Capital International Airport to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport was the 10th busiest domestic route in the world, with 6,321,194 seats offered. The flight distance between these two Chinese airports is about 1075 km, and the estimated travel time is approximately 2.2 hours. The major airlines that operate services on the PEK-SHA route are China Eastern Airlines, Air China, and Hainan Airlines.

9. Jakarta-Bali (CGK-DPS)

Ranking ninth on the list is an Indonesian route between Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta Airport and Denpasar-Bali Airport. From October 2021 to September 2022, airlines offered 6,741,923 seats in this sector. The average journey time from Jakarta to Bali is 1 hour and 50 minutes, covering a distance of 983 km. The popular carriers flying nonstop on the CGK-DPS routes are Super Air Jet, Lion Air, Batik Air, Indonesia AirAsia, and Citilink. Jakarta and Bali are the topmost tourist attractions of Indonesia, and thus airlines see a lot of leisure travelers flying between these cities.

8. Tokyo Haneda-Okinawa Naha (HND-OKA)

The flight service from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Okinawa Naha Airport is the world’s eighth busiest domestic route regarding scheduled seats. The HND-OKA sector has an average flight duration of 2 hours 30 minutes and a travel distance of 1554 kilometers. With a seat volume of 6 910, 809 passengers, this Japanese domestic route is served directly by Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways,

7. Mumbai-Delhi (BOM-DEL)

India is one of the fast-growing aviation marketplaces in the world, with an ever-increasing demand for domestic and international air travel. Connecting the capital city of Maharashtra State to the Indian Capital, the Mumbai-Delhi air route is one of the sought-after routes in India and, as ranked by OAG, the seventh busiest route domestically. The BOM-DEL route saw 6,941,947 seats in the last 12 months offered by several carriers such as IndiGo, SpiceJet, Go First, AirAsia, Air India, etc. IndiGo, the largest Indian carrier, has the highest percentage of market share in domestic routes. It takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to reach Delhi from Mumbai, and the aerial distance between these two hubs is 1137km.

indigo busiest domestic routes
IndiGo VT-ISV : Photo by Eurospot

6. Melbourne-Sydney (MEL-SYD)

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia pursued stringent travel rules resulting in a dramatic downturn in air traffic. Now that it has dropped tough COVID-19 restrictions, its air travel demand appears to be returning to normal. The flight route from Melbourne Airport to Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport offered the seven-largest volume of scheduled seats in the world, gaining the seventh spot among the top 10 busiest domestic routes in the world in 2022. The MEL-SYD sector has a flight distance of around 700km, and one will take an average of 1 hour and 25 minutes to travel between two cities by air. A handful of Australian carriers have a presence on this route, i.e., Jetstar Airways, Virgin Australia, Qantas Airways, and Fiji Airways.

qantas busiest domestic routes

5. Jeddah-Riyadh (JED-RUH)

Saudi Arabia hosts two of the largest airports in the world in terms of ground area: King Fahd International Airport in Dammam and King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. However, Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport is the busiest Saudi Arabian airport serving the country’s highest number of international travelers. Domestically, no route is busier than JED-RUH, connecting two vital airports between the cities of Jeddah and Riyadh. In one year, from October 2021 to September 2022, there were 7,371,119 seats offered by significant carriers like Saudia, Flyadeal, and Flynas. The JED-RUH flight covers a distance of 838 km in nearly 1 hour and 40 minutes. An average of 100 flights take off and land daily between these two Saudi Arabian cities.

Saudi Arabia’s new airline - aviationnepal 
busiest domestic routes
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Among the top 10 busiest domestic routes in 2022, the airline route from Jeddah Airport to Riyadh King Khalid International Airport is the only one operating outside the Asia Pacific.

Saudi Arabia is an emerging key player in the aviation industry that has entered a new phase of rapid air growth in the last few years. Projected to see a two-fold increase in passenger traffic and commercial fleet over the next two decades, Saudi Arabia is positioning itself as a leader in air traffic infrastructure development and is committed to investing $100 billion in the aviation sector by 2030.

4. Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (HAN-SGN)

Another Asian airline route that makes it to the list of the busiest domestic flight sectors in 2022 by seats offered is Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City. In the last 12 months, this route availed the fourth largest volume of scheduled seats at 8,562,009. Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air, Bamboo Airways, FlexFlight, Vietravel Airlines, etc., operate flights from Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) to Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN). Passengers flying from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City must spend 2 hours and 15 minutes onboard the aircraft to cover a distance of 1159 km.

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Noi Bai International Airport, the main airport serving the Capital of Hanoi, is the primary hub of flagship carrier Vietnam Airlines and other low-cost carriers like Bamboo Airways, Pacific Airlines, and VietJet Air. None of the domestic routes Noi Bai Airport offers can beat the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City, which is the most lucrative route in Vietnam.

HAN-SGN route was the number one busiest passenger route in Southeast Asia in 2018, with a total passenger number of 6,867,114. Four years later, it continues the streak by becoming the fourth busiest domestic route in the world.

3.  Fukuoka-Tokyo Haneda (FUK-HND)

Tokyo Haneda appears again on the top 10 global domestic routes, but this time with a different Japanese City. The flight operation from Fukuoka to Tokyo Haneda International Airport is the third busiest in the world, with total available seats of 9,894,296 passengers. FUK-HND is a historically busy route, with over 8 million passengers in 2018 only, making it to the fourth position that year. This Japanese route covers a distance of 880 km and the estimated time duration is 1 hour and 35 minutes.

Fukuoka International Airport is the principal airport on Kyushu Island and the most conveniently located airport in Japan, handling the country’s fourth-largest air trade movements. Although the airport provides connections to other domestic cities like Tokyo Narita, Naha, Sapporo-Chitose, Fukue, Komatsu, Niigata, Osaka-Itami, etc., FUK-HND is the top domestic route linking the six-largest city to the capital city of Japan.

The airlines operating the FUK-HND service are All Nippon Airways, ANA Wings, Japan Airlines, and Skymark Airlines.

2. Sapporo Chitose-Tokyo Haneda (CTS-HND)

Ranking second in the list of top 10 global domestic routes in 2022 is none other than the Sapporo Chitose-Tokyo Haneda route in Japan. This sector has long gained recognition as the busiest passenger route on earth, just behind the Seoul-Jeju route. For the 12 months spanning October 2021 to September 2022, the CTS-HND route saw the second-largest volume of scheduled seats for 10,216,765 passengers. 

The Sapporo (CTS)-Tokyo (HND) flight route links the Sapporo metropolitan area Greater Tokyo Area and entails a flight distance of 819km. Passengers on this route will need to travel for 1 hour 40 minutes on a nonstop flight. Air Do, All Nippon Airways, and Japan Airlines are flying on this lucrative route.

busiest domestic routes

New Chitose Airport (CTS), serving the Sapporo metropolitan area, is the largest airport in Hokkaido, with over 20 million passenger movements yearly. It is one of the busiest Japanese airports featuring routes throughout the country, including Fukuoka, Kobe, Nagoya-Centrair, Sendai, Tokyo-Haneda, Tokyo-Narita, Hiroshima, Osaka-Itami, Osaka-Kansai, Shizuoka, Kagoshima, Akita, Aomori, Hanamaki, etc. But, the 819 km Sapporo-Tokyo Haneda route remains the most popular, with more than 10 million passengers in 2021-22.

1. Jeju-Seoul Gimpo (CJU-GMP)

The topmost global domestic route that has dominated the list for several consecutive years is South Korea’s Jeju- Seoul Gimpo sector. This short service between South Korea’s Capital and the country’s popular leisure destination has the largest volume of scheduled seats at 16,068,983 in the last 12 months.

busiest domestic routes
KoreaN Air in photo; articles busiest domestic routes

This busiest domestic route sees an average of 224 flights operated by carriers like Air Busan, Air Seoul, Asian Airlines, Hi Air, Jeju Air, Jin Air, Korean Air, and T’way Air. The CJU-GMP route originates from South Korea’s second-largest airport-Jeju International Airport, to serve the country’s third largest airport-Gimpo International Airport in Seoul.

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