Melbourne-Sydney is world's fifth busiest airline route

By David Flynn, May 10 2013
Melbourne-Sydney is world's fifth busiest airline route

If you've recently flown from Melbourne to Sydney, count yourself as one of the 6.9 million reasons why this short trip ranks as the fifth busiest airline route in the world.

But don't launch into a patriotic chant of "Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi!" just yet – the Melbourne-Sydney corridor used to sit in fourth place, but has been overtaken by Beijing-Shanghai's 7.2 million passengers, according to a survey conducted by Amadeus Air Traffic Travel Intelligence.

Topping the charts is South Korea's domestic route between Seoul and Jeju, the largest volcanic island in South Korea. That makes it a popular tourist destination, enough to see just over 10 million travellers in 2012.

Next is Sapporo-Tokyo (8.2 million passengers) and Rio de Janeiro-Sao Paulo (7.7 million passengers).

The first international route on the list is Hong Kong-Taipei, in eighth place with 5.5 million passengers .

Tellingly, Asian countries make up seven of the world's ten busiest routes: the exceptions being our own Melbourne-Sydney, Brazil's Rio de Janeiro-Sao Paulo and South Africa's Cape Town-Johannesburg.

The survey also reveals that 22% of all global air travel is concentrated on just 300 ‘super routes,' each of which carry over 1 million passengers per year.

To gain a very real sense of just how busy the skies above us are, check out this amazing video showing all commercial flights around the world in a 24 hour period, compressed into little more than one minute!

The video simulation was cooked up by boffins at the Zurich School of Applied Sciences using data drawn from FlightStats.

The flights appear like bee swarms as they head towards major destinations.

You can see air traffic peak, taper off and pick up again as day changes to night – watch for those flights racing the sun to hit an early morning arrival into Australia, the west coat of the USA and Europe.

(You'll also spot some flights seemingly travelling at warp-speed near the top of the map, most noticeably heading in from the right-hand side close to the 1.05 mark. While those aircraft appear to make the Concorde look like a Sopwith Camel, their speed is exaggerated because they're crossing the Arctic Circle – a 3D area that's distorted on this 2D map.)

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 227

I don't get it. What's so patriotic about a statistic which denotes a flight route between Melbourne and Sydney as one of the busiest in the world? Do the cities/airlines/passengers recieve an award and a recognition at Time Magazine? Should we be celebrating that we also have some of the most inefficient public transport systems (cough cough Translink) or that Australia is the highest prone country to bushfires which causes destruction to society? Or that we live in one of the most expensive places on Earth? Should we go around chanting Aussie Aussie Aussie as well? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading alot of articles at Australian Business Traveller. But this busy route isn't an achievement. It's fundamental for the millions of people travelling through for work everyday. 

19 Mar 2013

Total posts 38

I'm sure that line about chanting "Aussie Aussie Aussie" was intended as a bit of light relief, Jadina, don't take it too seriously!

Lighten up Jedinak K. Some people like stats. It's not like they are reporting the amount of deaths or murders. Just some interesting figures. If you don't like articles like this, don't comment!


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 671

Annette is right, in fact according to a recent survey 78.6% of people like stats, a figure that's up 5% from 2012.

Never mind the patriotism, JedinaK, check out the video, it really is cool.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Nov 2012

Total posts 42

Slow news day? :)

09 Sep 2012

Total posts 139

It would be interesting to see the numbers for some of the other Australian routes.

No surprise that a Chinese route has moved ahead of SY-ML, but incredible that one in Korea is the busiest.

Thats 6.9 million reasons why we need high speed rail between melbourne - canberra - sydney - brisbane.

Brisbane - Sydney is world's 12th busiest, so add another couple of million of pax.

Then add another couple of million flying between sydney - canberra, and melbourne - canberra and melbourne - brisbane and you got yourself at least 10 million pax commuting along the east coast every year.

But the self interested pollies will never do it because 1. too lazy and too hard or 2. lack the vision. 3. too focused on short term stuff to keep them bums in office so they can fatten their superannuation cheques.

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