While most of us have left our passports to collect dust amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one route has received a decent workout over the past 12 months.
While COVID-19 travel restrictions have meant that air passenger numbers remain very low around the world compared with figures prior to the pandemic, the single route that now qualifies as being the world’s busiest is probably not where you’d expect.
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Travel analyst OAG has revealed the 2021 numbers to find out who’s flying when and where, and while last month the Dubai-London Heathrow was the highest-capacity international route, since the UK shut down UAE travel, now the highest overall on the leaderboard is the route between Orlando International Airport in Florida and San Juan in Puerto Rico.
Although US citizens don’t need a passport to take the trip between the two ports, the three-hour journey from Orlando to the capital of Puerto Rico is still classed by OAG as international.
With Orlando being the home of Walt Disney World Resort, and Puerto Rico a popular holiday spot for Americans wanting to relax in the Caribbean, it’s no real surprise the route has soared in popularity over the past 12 months.
Coming in second on the list was the route that links Dubai to Delhi (129,683 seats), while Cairo-Jeddah (128,665) came in third.
On the domestic travel circuit, the number one domestic route was the hour-long flight between South Korea’s Jeju-International and Seoul-Gimpo, which carried 1,119,037 passengers. The only other route to break a million was Vietnam’s Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (1,085,472), according to CNN.
With ongoing lockdowns and travel restrictions, Europe only appeared twice in the top 10 of the international route list and not at all in the domestic top 10.
In the US, the four busiest domestic routes were all out of Atlanta, with Fort Lauderdale in top place, followed by Orlando, Miami and Tampa.
THE WORLD’S BUSIEST INTERNATIONAL AIR ROUTES
1. Orlando – San Juan (135,244)
2. Delhi – Dubai (129,683)
3. Cairo – Jeddah (128,665)
4. Paris Orly – Pointe-a-Pitre (118,594)
5. Tehran Imran Khomeini – Istanbul Ataturk (110,936)
6. New York JFK – Santiago (DO) (108,876)
7. Fort de France – Paris Orly (104,923)
8. Cairo – Riyadh (103,922)
9. Seoul Incheon – Tokyo Narita (100,676)
10. Cancun – Dallas Fort Worth (98,045)