W18/19 airport analysis; Istanbul Atatürk leads route count while Moscow Sheremetyevo jumps up the rankings

The 2018/19 winter schedule will commence in just over a week. In our second preview of W18/19 we take a look at how airport networks are taking shape for a typical week in January. The results show that Istanbul Atatürk will offer the most routes with 259 on offer, while Paris CDG will serve the most countries, and host the most airlines. The airport seeing some of the most impressive growth for destinations and country markets is Moscow Sheremetyevo.

The W18/19 schedules are due to commence in little over one week. In a follow on to our preview of airline activity during the winter season, anna.aero has decided to take a look at which airports are topping the charts during a typical week in January 2019. The analysis reveals that Istanbul Atatürk will offer the most routes during the period in question, while Paris CDG will serve the most country markets and host the widest variety of different airlines. The five European airports that anna.aero refers to as the FLAPI hubs (Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Amsterdam, Paris CDG and Istanbul Atatürk) are consistently strong performers across all three categories. The only grouping in which they don’t all make the top 15 rankings is for the number of airlines served, with Atatürk missing out on a place in the top 15 in this category. A more detailed breakdown of airport activity this winter can be found below.

This analysis covers global data, so the Southern Hemisphere will clearly be enjoying its summer during the W18/19 schedule. It does not account for all flights scheduled for the entire winter season, but is based on a typical week in January, in this case the week commencing 8 January 2019. These dates were chosen since they should include most of the flights operating during the peak European ski season, (which typically runs between December and April) and because they should not be impacted by capacity adjustments related to the Christmas and New Year holidays. Some airlines may not have filed their entire W18/19 schedules yet, but taking this week as an example should provide an accurate look ahead, with the caveat that more routes may yet be added. The W18/19 data is compared to the week commencing 9 January 2018. It should be noted that the data only accounts for direct, non-stop services. Where airports are ranked according to the number of serving airlines, the results are organised by published carrier codes, so for airlines such as Norwegian, which have different codes for their various operating subsidiaries, these various subsidiaries will be counted as individual carriers. In other cases, some flights appearing under published codes will be operated by other regional partner carriers. 

FLAPI hubs dominate route rankings

Atatürk will offer the most direct destinations during the week commencing 8 January 2019 with 259, maintaining the top spot it held during the equivalent period last winter. This is despite the Turkish hub offering one less route in its network this year. This was still enough for it to claim a four destination advantage over second placed Frankfurt. The FLAPI hubs are dominant in this category, occupying the top four places, with Amsterdam overtaking Beijing to claim fourth position since last January. All five FLAPI airports make the top 15. In total, seven of the top-ranked airports can be classified as European (highlighted in blue) with a further four located in the US (highlighted in red). Dubai is the only Middle-Eastern mega hub to make the cut in eighth place (highlighted in orange). The remaining airports include two in China and one in Russia. The highest-ranked, non-European airport is Beijing with 238 non-stop routes, while Atlanta, the world’s busiest hub for passenger traffic, is the most connected US facility with 226 destinations.

W18/19 Airport routes

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser. Direct destinations only. Data for w/c 8 January 2019 and w/c 9 January 2018.

In total, 11 of the top 15 airports, based on destinations served, have increased the number of direct routes for this winter. Four of the five FLAPI airports have added more routes compared to the equivalent week in W17/18 and the top three airports retain their ranking positions from last winter. Moscow Sheremetyevo has witnessed the most impressive growth in winter destinations, increasing the number of connections it has by 37. This includes 41 new destinations being added to the departures boards, while four have been discontinued. Aeroflot, and Pegas Fly will each offer more weekly flights from the Russian hub in W18/19, while Nordwind Airlines and Ural Airlines have introduced services since last January. The new route with the highest weekly frequency is the domestic service to Makhachkala (25 weekly flights) which will be operated by Aeroflot and Nordwind. Sheremetyevo’s rapid rise has seen it jump from 30th position to 12th in the route rankings, while New York JFK is also a new entrant, with nine extra destinations since last January. The two airports to drop out of the top 15 are Houston Intercontinental and Toronto Pearson.

French connections lead country count

CDG will see flights to more country markets than any other airport during the week commencing 8 January. The Parisian hub holds on to the number one rank it held during the equivalent period in W17/18. CDG will offer connections to 112 different countries, having added Georgia to its departure board, with Georgian Airways offering a direct connection from Tbilisi. The French airport will offer five more country markets than second placed Atatürk. FLAPI hubs take the the top three places in the table, with Dubai the highest-ranked non-European airport in fourth. European airports dominate the country connections category, occupying 11 of the top 15 positions (highlighted in blue). The remaining airports include two in the Middle East (highlighted in orange), one in the US (highlighted in red) and one in Russia. JFK is the only US airport to make the top 15, emphasising how the other US hubs, which offered more routes, have a heavier focus on domestic connections. According to schedules data for the week commencing 8 January 2019, 90% of Atlanta’s departing flights and 89% of those at Chicago O’Hare and Dallas/Fort Worth are domestic. In comparison, only 58% of flights from JFK serve other US airports.

W18/19 Airport country markets

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser. Direct destinations only. Data is for w/c 8 January 2019 and w/c 9 January 2018.

Most of the top-ranked airports in this category have added to the number of country markets they will serve this winter compared to W17/18. The top five airports remain in exactly the same positions they occupied in the equivalent period last year. Sheremetyevo saw the most growth, adding eight additional countries to its departures boards. The Moscow airport will offer flights to ten markets that were not served last January: Algeria, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka. However, two countries that were linked last winter will not be served this January, namely Afghanistan and Morocco. Three airports (Dubai, Doha and Vienna) will offer the same number of country markets as last year, while Lufthansa’s two hubs at Frankfurt and Munich will each see links to one fewer market in W18/19.

Airports in Europe and Asia Pacific host most airlines

CDG also tops the table for the airport served by the largest number of published carriers during the week commencing 8 January 2019. The Parisian hub has extended its advantage over second placed Bangkok Suvarnabhumi from seven airlines last winter, to eight carriers this year, after increasing its operator count by four. In total, seven of the top 15 airports in this category can be classed as European (highlighted in blue), while six are located in Asia Pacific (highlighted in green). The remainder includes one facility in the US (highlighted in red) and one in the Middle East (highlighted in orange). Atatürk is the only FLAPI hub missing from the top 15, with the Turkish airport only finishing in 35th place with 50 airline operators. This emphasises the comparative dominance of the airport’s hub carrier, Turkish Airlines, which will account for 80% of weekly departing flights during a typical week in W18/19. In contrast, Lufthansa, Air France, KLM and British Airways only account for 63%, 55%, 53% and 49% of departing flights from their respective hubs at Frankfurt, CDG, Amsterdam and Heathrow, with those airports all seeing services from a wider variety of operators. It will be interesting to see if the airline mix changes over time in Istanbul as operators migrate to Istanbul New Airport by the end of 2018.

W18/19 Airport airlines

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser. Direct destinations only. Data is for w/c 8 January 2019 and w/c 9 January 2018.

Eight of the top 15 airports in this category have enjoyed an increase in the number of airline operators for W18/19. The largest increase among this group will be felt at JFK, which has increased its carrier count by six, compared to the equivalent period in W17/18. The New York hub has seen services added by Air Italy, Cape Air, Kenya Airways, VivaAerobus, Eurowings, Volaris Costa Rica and Air Europa since last January. Norwegian Air UK (DI) is also a new operator in terms of published airline codes although, Norwegian (DY) was already flying from JFK. The airport has lost services by Sun Country Airlines and Virgin America since last January, with the latter now coming under the Alaska Airlines brand. Three airports (Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Munich) will be served by exactly the same number of airlines as last winter, while four others will experience a drop in serving carriers. Dubai will witness the biggest drop in airlines, with the Middle Eastern hub seeing 11 fewer operators this winter compared to the equivalent period in W17/18. 

Beijing Capital Airlines, Moscow Sheremetyevo

Moscow Sheremetyevo has seen an impressive increase in its number of destinations during the winter season, with 37 more connections scheduled for the week commencing 8 January 2019, compared to the equivalent week last year. The airport’s Director of Aviation Marketing and Commerce, Vladimir Khizhnyak, exchanged gifts with the Head of Security Control of Beijing Capital Airlines, Yao Xingyong, at the press conference arranged to promote the airline’s new route from Hangzhou which launched on 31 July.


  1. Matthew Vickinovac says:

    I thought Miami hit 100 carriers a year ago. And even taking out the the charter carriers, aren’t they pushing 85-90 carriers?

    • Nick Preston says:

      Hi Matthew, the figures we have show that MIA will be served by 47 published carriers on scheduled services during the week commencing 8 January. This doesn’t count regional partners operating under major carrier codes, so the overall figure at an operating carrier level will certainly be higher.

Comments are closed