World's busiest travel routes revealed

2012-05-14 15:26

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Asia leads the world’s growth in travel and holds seven out of the ten busiest inter-city routes. In addition to the BRIC markets, Indonesia, the Philippines and Chile showed an impressive growth, according to analysis by the market intelligence solution Amadeus Total Demand. The review looks at trends in worldwide passenger demand* between regions, countries and specific airports, comparing the full 2011 passenger volumes with 2010 data**. All figures relate to passengers travelling between a given origin and final destination airport, irrespective of the number of connecting stops.

The most important inter-regional growth patterns of last year are led by Asia. Traffic between Asia and Europe, and between Asia and North America, grew by 9%. Traffic between Asia and the Middle East grew 6% reaching 38 million travellers in the year. Compared with the previous year, 2% fewer passengers travelled between Africa and Europe in 2011; this was the only region pair with a significant traffic flow decrease over the period.

Traffic between North America and Europe remains the busiest inter-regional flow with over 60 million passengers in 2011, followed by Asia and Europe with over 53 million, and Latin America and North America with 47 million passengers.

In terms of connecting traffic, over 50% of all passengers in the triangle between Asia, Europe and North America change aircraft at least once. On the other hand, only 7% of all passengers travelling within Asia travel with a connecting flight, compared to 10% in Europe and 31% in North America. The largest airports in Asia have a lower percentage of connecting traffic than the North American and European hubs. The average connecting rate of the ten busiest airports in Asia is 19% compared with 32% for the top ten hubs in Europe and 45% in North America.

The 2011 country statistics*** reveal, unsurprisingly, that the strongest growth in absolute passengers is led by the BRIC countries. China registered an additional 19 million in 2011 than 2010, Brazil, 12 million, India 8 million and Russia 6-million. Indonesia was the 5th strongest growth market with an additional 5 million passengers in 2011.

Brazil (17%), India (13%) and Russia (15%) also featured in the top ten fastest-growing countries by % growth. Chile (21%), the Philippines (15%) and Indonesia (11%) are also among the fastest growing travel markets. Egypt and Japan are among the fastest shrinking markets, probably due to the Arab Spring and the Tsunami.

Countries showing highest % growth in passengers between 2010 and 2011 (excluding markets with fewer than 5-million annual passengers)

Top world inter-city routes
City - Pax 2011 - Growth vs 2010
Chile - 9306 - 21%
Brazil - 82 334 - 17 %
Philippines - 24 392 - 15%
Russian Federations - 44 541 - 15%
Saudi Arabia - 23 345 - 15%
Turkey - 34 398 - 15%
India - 71 634 - 13%
Vietnam - 16 097 - 12%
Indonesia - 53701 - 11%


It is interesting to note that the strongest traffic in between cities takes place within the same country. From the world’s top ten inter-city routes, seven are within the domestic borders of Asian countries, out of which three are in Japan. In terms of volume, the route between Jeju and Seoul is the most important (almost 10 million passengers) followed by Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo (circa 8 million passengers).

Top World Inter-City Routes

Region - Inter-city route - Rank

1. Asia - Jeju to Seoul
2. South America - Rio de Janero to Sau Paolo
3. Asia - Osaka to Tokyo
4. Asia - Sapporo to Tokyo
5. South West Pacific - Melbourne to Sydney
6.Asia - Fukuoka to Tokyo
7. Asia - Beijing to Shanghai
8. Asaia - Hong Kong to Taipei
9. Africa - Cape Town to Johannesberg
10. Asia - Mumbai to Delhi

Amadeus Total Demand is able to provide detailed demand data for any origin and destination pair in the world. Data is mined from a large number of sources including commercial and government airline and airport traffic statistics as well as major GDSs. The data is then processed by a cutting edge computing algorithm and robustly tested to ensure the highest accuracy of results.

*Passenger demand is measured in terms of Origin and Destination (O&D) traffic e.g. passengers travelling between a given origin and final destination airport, irrespective of the number of connecting stops.
**All percentages make reference to the difference between 2011 full year passenger volumes and 2010.
***Only countries with more than 5 million inbound and outbound passengers have been taken into account.

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