The World's Top 10 Most Lucrative Airline Routes

August 26th, 2019 / Hillary K Bainny
| British Airways

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Air travel is a lucrative business but certainly not the easiest to succeed in owing to fierce competition.

A recent report by United Kingdom-based air travel intelligence company OAG has revealed the most profitable routes airlines operated in the 12 months preceding March 2019.

Topping the list is British Airways' London Heathrow - New York JFK flight, which netted the airline $1.15 billion. According to Traveller, the route was also the first to earn a carrier more than $1 billion. A reason for the flight's profitability is the popularity of its first and business class seats, with each class making up 30 percent of seats each.

British Airways flies from Heathrow to JFK up to 15 times a day, capturing the lion's share of premium customers on this prestigious business route.

British Airways operates Boeing 747s and Boeing 777-200s on its Heathrow to JFK service. Those premium customers will soon be able to enjoy its new Club Suite, which will be rolled out across London Heathrow long-haul by the end of 2019.

The second on the list is Qantas' 90-minute domestic flight between Melbourne and Sydney which netted the airline $861 million per year, an astounding figure considering it is operated with Boeing 737 aircraft that only have 12 business class and 162 economy class seats.

Singapore Airlines received a special mention as the only carrier with two routes in the top 10, namely its London-Singapore ($735 million) and Singapore-Sydney ($549 million) flights.

According to AOG analyst John Grant, every airline has lucrative routes that they "protect at all costs" to help them maintain their revenue.

Interestingly, the most lucrative route in the world is not the busiest. The British Airways' London Heathrow-New York JFK flight, for instance, didn't even make the top 10, with Seoul Gimpo-Jeju International the world's most popular route.

Below are the top 10 most lucrative routes in 2018-2019:

  1. New York JFK to London Heathrow (British Airways, $1,159 million)

  2. Melbourne to Sydney (Qantas, $861 million)

  3. Dubai to London Heathrow (Emirates, $796 million)

  4. London Heathrow to Singapore (Singapore Airlines, $735 million)

  5. San Francisco to Newark (United Airlines, $689 million)

  6. Los Angeles to New York JFK (American Airlines, $661 million)

  7. London Heathrow to Doha (Qatar Airways, $639 million)

  8. Hong Kong to London Heathrow (Cathay Pacific, $604 million)

  9. Sydney to Singapore (Singapore Airlines, $549 million)

  10. Toronto to Vancouver (Air Canada, $541 million)

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