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The World's Busiest International Flight Routes of 2023 Compared to 2022, every route in the top 10 rankings exceeded capacity.

By Taylor Rains

Key Takeaways

  • Travel data provider OAG revealed the world's top 10 busiest international routes for 2023.
  • The data is based on airline seat capacity, and nearly every route is in Asia or the Middle East.
  • The only Western route to sit in the top 10 is between New York and London.
Shutterstock/F11 Photo via Business Insider
Singapore is a busy flight destination from cities like Bangkok, Jakarta, and Kuala Lumpur.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Travel data provider OAG released its annual rankings of the world's busiest international flight routes, and nine out of the top 10 are in Asia and the Middle East.

Based on available airline seat capacity, the busiest route for 2023 is between Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Singapore — cities only about 60 minutes apart by plane.

Overall, the route saw 4.9 million seats, which is a 50% increase from last year, per OAG.

Flights between Cairo and Jeddah, Saudia Arabia — busiest in 2022 but dethroned this year — came in as a close second with about 4.8 million seats.

The only Western route was between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and London Heathrow Airport, two popular business and leisure destinations.

Compared to 2022, every route in the top 10 rankings exceeded capacity, according to OAG. The biggest jumps were the two routes between Seoul and Japan's Tokyo Narita and Osaka Kansai airports, representing a 227% and 356% increase in 2023, respectively.

Still, there are a handful of routes behind 2019 levels, particularly the route between Hong Kong and Taipei, which is nearly half of what it was pre-pandemic.

Here is a closer look at the world's busiest routes by airline seat capacity, per OAG.

10. Bangkok-Seoul

View over busy Gangnam district at dusk. Seoul. South Korea.

Seoul is a popular destination for tourism and business Avalon / Getty via BI

Number of Seats: 3.36 million

Ranking in 2022: 29

Ranking in 2019: 21

Percent change from 2019: Up 9%

Percent change from 2022: Up 111%

9. Bangkok-Singapore

The Grand Palace of Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand,

Bangkok is one of the most visited cities in the world. Panupong Changchai/NurPhoto via Getty Images via BI

Number of Seats: 3.48 million

Ranking in 2022: 8

Ranking in 2019: 9

Percent change from 2019: Down 9%

Percent change from 2022: Up 47%

8. New York JFK-London Heathrow

New York City skyline.

New York City is about seven hours from London by plane. TTstudio/Shutterstock via BI

Number of Seats: 3.89 million

Ranking in 2022: 4

Ranking in 2019: 8

Percent change from 2019: Up 1%

Percent change from 2022: Up 24%

7. Jakarta-Singapore

Jakarta, Indonesia.

Jakarta is the largest city in Southeast Asia. Getty Images via BI

Number of Seats: 3.91 million

Ranking in 2022: 4

Ranking in 2019: 8

Percent change from 2019: Up 1%

Percent change from 2022: Up 81%

6. Dubai-Riyadh

Dubai has a glitzy reputation.

Dubai is home to the international giant Emirates. Lu ShaoJi/Getty Images via BI

Number of Seats: 3.99 million

Ranking in 2022: 2

Ranking in 2019: 19

Percent change from 2019: Up 27%

Percent change from 2022: Up 20%

5. Seoul-Tokyo Narita

Kabukicho district, Tokyo, Japan.

As the biggest city in the world by population, Tokyo caters to both tourists and business travelers. Getty Images via BI

Number of Seats: 4.12 million

Ranking in 2022: 63

Ranking in 2019: 16

Percent change from 2019: Up 29%

Percent change from 2022: Up 227%

4. Seoul-Osaka

Osaka, Japan

The airline seat capacity between Seoul and Osaka jumped 356% between 2022 and 2023 thanks to Japan's reopening. Eloi_Omella/Getty Images via BI

Number of Seats: 4.22 million

Ranking in 2022: 164

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Ranking in 2019: 12

Percent change from 2019: Up 22%

Percent change from 2022: Up 356%

3. Hong Kong-Taipei

taipei

Scheduled flights between Taiwan and China started in 2009 after years of restrictions. Shutterstock via BI

Number of Seats: 4.57 million

Ranking in 2022: 14

Ranking in 2019: 1

Percent change from 2019: Down -43%

Percent change from 2022: Up 130%

2. Cairo-Jeddah

The sphinx is shown in fron of the pyramid which towers over it.

Cairo is the only African city to make it onto OAG's list of top busiest routes. Getty Images via BI

Number of Seats: 4.80 million

Ranking in 2022: 1

Ranking in 2019: 14

Percent change from 2019: Up 42%

Percent change from 2022: Up 38%

1. Kuala Lumpur-Singapore

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The flight between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore is only about 60 minutes. Marielle Descalsota/Insider via BI

Number of Seats: 4.89 million

Ranking in 2022: 3

Ranking in 2019: 2

Percent change from 2019: Down -12%

Percent change from 2022: Up 50%

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