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London Heathrow to New York-JFK is Europe’s busiest international scheduled service, according to Routesonline, which today revealed that almost three million passengers travelled on the 5,500 kilometre route in 2018.

A total of 2,919,864 passengers boarded flights between the two destinations in 2018, based on the latest data from Sabre Market Intelligence, representing a rise of 1.8% compared with the previous 12 months.

Four airlines served the market last year, led by British Airways, which commanded a 40.7% share of all available seats on offer, followed by Virgin Atlantic (28.5%), American Airlines (20.6%) and Delta (10.2%).


The ascent of London Heathrow–New York John F Kennedy to the position as the busiest international route to/from and within Europe followed a 16.6% year-on-year decline in the number of passengers flying between London Heathrow and Dubai International (DXB).

Figures from Sabre show that 2,674,872 passengers flew non-stop between the UK’s busiest airport and United Arab Emirates city in 2018, down from 3,206,776 a year earlier.

Five airlines served the market although two of them – Qantas Airways and Royal Brunei Airlines – ended service during the year.


Although Qantas continues to codeshare with Emirates on flights between Dubai and London, it ceased flying its own metal to Dubai in February 2018 after opting to reroute its Sydney–London Heathrow flight via Singapore.

Royal Brunei Airlines ended operations to London Heathrow via Dubai in late October in favour of a direct flight to England’s capital city from its Brunei hub.

Completing the top three is the short 449km flight between London Heathrow and Dublin, the capital of Ireland. The route is a duopoly between Aer Lingus and British Airways, both owned by International Airlines Group, which had a 65% and 35%  share of the market respectively.

In total, London Heathrow appears in eight of the top ten busiest international routes to/from and within Europe, underlining its position as a major global hub. Only Istanbul Atatürk (IST)–Tehran (IKA) in fourth and Paris (CDG)–New York John F Kennedy (JFK) in ninth did not feature the UK airport.

The research has been released as 1,200 aviation professionals prepare to gather at Routes Europe 2019, taking place from April 8-10 in Hannover, Germany.

The event, which will be attended by the likes of Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, provides a meeting place for airlines, airports and tourism organisations to discuss new market opportunities and the evolution of existing services.

Dub pax

Steven Small, brand director of Routes, said: “European carriers’ international traffic climbed 6.6% in 2018, according to the latest IATA figures, while load factor increased to 85%, which was the highest for any region in the world.

“Although the industry is facing its challenges, there is much to be optimistic about. European airlines are expected to report a $7.4bn net profit in 2019 and we will also see new and exciting city pairs opening as aviation continues to be a key enabler of economic growth and prosperity.

“The conversations taking place at Routes Europe 2019 this week will lead to the creation of new air international routes, as well as frequency and capacity increases on services that are already popular with passengers.”


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