Dubai – Heathrow now WORLD’s #1 international route by ASKs
It rose from fifth place in the same week in 2019, despite ASKs being down by nearly half.
This pushed Heathrow – New York JFK off the top spot to fifth. This follows most Europeans being banned from the US because of coronavirus, and Americans needing to quarantine in the UK for 14 days.
The world’s top-20 international routes now have almost 1.91 billion ASKs. This is down by 64% from 5.25 billion in the same week last year.
What is much more interesting – but perhaps not particularly surprising – is how the composition of the top-20 has temporarily changed significantly because of coronavirus.
If Reunion, Martinique, and Guadeloupe were sovereign countries, rather than parts of France, 15 new routes would have featured this year. Paris Orly – Reunion would have been first by ASKs, Orly – Pointe-à-Pitre fifth, and Orly – Fort-de-France ninth.
This year, Amsterdam – Singapore crept in at 20th, but with 135 million fewer Asks than #20 last year.
World’s top-20 international routes by ASKs: then and now
|Airport-pair||Two-way ASKs in the week of 30 Sep. 2019||Airport-pair||Two-way ASKs in the week of 30 Sep. 2020|
|Heathrow – New York JFK||405,296,096||Dubai – Heathrow||155,528,802|
|Heathrow – Singapore||400,204,172||Antalya – Moscow Sheremetyevo||128,334,150|
|Heathrow – Hong Kong||355,278,000||Los Angeles – Taipei||122,533,018|
|Heathrow – Los Angeles||335,074,608||Los Angeles – Seoul Incheon||107,169,836|
|Dubai – Heathrow||286,652,205||Heathrow – New York JFK||103,434,624|
|Singapore – Sydney||251,937,340||Heathrow – Hong Kong||102,458,125|
|Los Angeles – Sydney||253,851,136||Doha – Heathrow||98,047,117|
|Hong Kong – San Francisco||248,510,160||Amsterdam – Bangkok||97,708,836|
|Melbourne – Singapore||247,038,275||Doha – Manila||93,025,620|
|Honolulu – Tokyo Narita||238,487,838||New York JFK – Seoul Incheon||91,243,488|
|San Francisco – Taipei||238,859,452||Heathrow – Singapore||86,377,192|
|Dubai – Sydney||233,883,552||San Francisco – Seoul Incheon||86,169,200|
|New York JFK – Paris CDG||227,878,926||Atlanta – Amsterdam||84,126,960|
|Buenos Aires – Madrid||225,618,415||Amsterdam – New York JFK||81,955,375|
|Heathrow – San Francisco||222,129,270||Doha – New York JFK||80,074,488|
|Hong Kong – Los Angeles||219,646,596||Dubai – Paris CDG||78,027,279|
|Paris CDG – Shanghai Pudong||219,032,898||Mumbai – Newark||79,166,512|
|Los Angeles – Seoul Incheon||218,226,960||Chicago O’Hare – Heathrow||78,305,009|
|Los Angeles – Paris CDG||215,185,896||Dubai – Paris CDG||78,027,279|
|Chicago O’Hare – Heathrow||211,015,798||Amsterdam – Singapore||75,980,070|
|Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.|
Dubai to Heathrow top; one of just three to rise YOY
The new leading route globally, Dubai – Heathrow, had almost 55 million fewer ASKs in this one week than number-20 did last year.
Dubai – Heathrow is one of just six routes that were on both lists.
And along with Chicago – Heathrow and Los Angeles – Seoul, it is one of only three to rise YOY, although obviously with far lower output.
Heathrow – Dubai currently has 38 weekly departures, down from 61 in the same week last year.
Emirates has a 28-weekly offering – 14 by A380s – and BA seven. BA uses 331-seat A350-1000s, with 34% of seats Club World and World Traveller Plus.
This compares with Emirates’ 42 departures last year and BA’s 19. Emirates used all A380s, making Heathrow – Dubai by far the world’s top A380 route.
Last year, an estimated 56% of Emirates’ Heathrow passengers connected over Dubai (from Heathrow and bridging both airports). MIDT booking data shows that Heathrow – Male was the top O&D, led by Sydney, Karachi, Mumbai, Delhi, Brisbane, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, Colombo, and Bangkok.
With Pakistan the third-largest country for Emirates from Heathrow, it’ll be interesting to see what impact BA’s coming Lahore service will have on the MEB3. Likewise Virgin Atlantic’s new Islamabad and Lahore routes.
Moscow’s fun in the sun
In second place in the week starting 30 September 2020 is Antalya to Moscow Sheremetyevo, with its ASKs up by 17% YOY.
Given coronavirus, this growth is because Russians – like other nationalities – have shifted to countries that enable easier summer sun.
That said, Russians have been fundamental to Antalya for years. The Turkish resort revolves around German and Russian tourists, with those from Russia overtaking last year.
In this week, Antalya to Sheremetyevo has 84 departures across seven airlines. This is up from 70 and three carriers last year, OAG data shows.
Multiple widebodies are used, including B747-400s, B777-300ERs, and B767-300ERs.
At city-pair level, Moscow has Antalya service from Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo, Vnukovo, and Zhukovsky (the latter is not a Moscow airport for bilateral purposes). There are 174 departures in all, around 25 daily.
Amsterdam, Doha, Atlanta new to list – with 9 of the 20 routes
Amsterdam, Doha, and Atlanta made the list this year, with four, three, and two routes respectively.
Seoul Incheon, meanwhile, features four times – up from one last year.
The loss of the 14 routes from last year includes the only one involving South America: Buenos Aires to Madrid.
This 10,062-kilometre route had 35 departures a week last year across Aerolíneas Argentinas (14), Iberia (14), and Air Europa (7). Now there are only six weekly departures.
Due to Australia’s quarantine and strict rules about entry, four routes involving the country fell out of the list: Singapore – Sydney, Los Angeles – Sydney, Melbourne – Singapore, and Dubai – Sydney.
This week we interviewed Brisbane’s Executive GM about the airport’s future. Singapore is a key route that they can’t wait to restart.
Singapore Airlines and SilkAir collectively had 151 one-way flights to Australia in the 2019 week. They involved eight airports: Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth.
Now there are almost none.