With the virus halting air traffic in most places, routes to and from Middle East have experienced growth that has skewered the primacy of routes that included a European partner. According to the airline network planning intelligence publisher anna.aero,* Dubai — Heathrow is now the world’s top international route by ASKs (Airline Seat Kilometers, or ASK, is a measure of passenger carrying capacity. It is equal to the number of seats available multiplied by the number of miles or kilometers flown.) This is based on the week beginning 30 September 2020 using OAG schedules data.
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 percent. 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. For instance, one will notice that Paris Charles de Gaulle, which was part of three top route pairings last year, is nowhere on the Top 20 this year.
According to anna.aero, among the other 14 new routes that make it this year are the following:
• Antalya – Moscow Sheremetyevo,
• Los Angeles — Tapei
• Doha – Heathrow,
• Amsterdam – Bangkok
• Doha – Manila.
If Reunion, Martinique, and Guadeloupe were sovereign countries, says anna.aero 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.
*anna.aero stands for Airline Network News & Analysis–a free and open website dedicated to airline network planning intelligence, produced by a multi-disciplinary team that includes experienced airline and airport network planners.
Editor’s Note: Dubai-based Emirates Airlines is the largest airline in the Middle East