The largest expert travel community:
  • 738,992 Total members
  • 6,348 Users online now
  • 1,679,119 Threads
  • 30,260,559 Posts

This Is the Most Profitable Airline Route in the World

This Is the Most Profitable Airline Route in the World
Scott Dylan

Just how much are airlines raking in from their most lucrative routes? The Official Airline Guide (OAG) recently revealed the top 10 routes in the world when it comes to revenue generation.

So which route makes the most money? A British Airways route between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and London Heathrow Airport came out on top. This one route generates a staggering $1.04 billion for the airline.

In fact, British Airways earns $24,237 for every hour this flight operates. The route accounted for a full 5 percent of revenue for the airline in 2017.

There is no denying that London is a top-earning hub for airlines right now. Five of the routes that made OAG’s list were either to or from London Heathrow. This news will undoubtedly help to boost the argument for building a third runway at the popular airport.

The rest of the routes on the list of the top 10 revenue-earning flights represent journeys between several different corners of the globe. A Qantas Airways route between Melbourne and Sydney came in at second place. That route generates $855 million for Qantas. Third place belongs to an Emirates route connecting London to Dubai. That route generates $819 million.

What some people might find surprising about the top-earning routes is that the United States is pretty underrepresented. Only a flight between Los Angeles and New York earning $698 million managed to break into the top five. It turns out that none of the routes offered by big players on the global scene like Delta and Virgin were able to make it into the top 10. Here’s a look at the full list of the top 10 revenue-generating airline routes in the world:

  • New York (JFK) to London Heathrow (LHR) from British Airways ($1.04 billion)
  • Melbourne (MEL) to Sydney (SYD) from Qantas Airways ($855 million)
  • London Heathrow (LHR) to Dubai (DXB) from Emirates ($819 million)
  • London Heathrow (LHR) to Singapore (SIN) from Singapore Airlines ($710 million)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to New York (JFK) from American Airlines ($698 million)
  • San Francisco (SFO) to Newark (EWR) from United Airlines ($688 million)
  • Hong Kong (HKG) to London Heathrow (LHR) from Cathay Pacific Airways ($632 million)
  • London Heathrow (LHR) to Doha (DOH) from Qatar Airways ($553 million)
  • Vancouver (YVR) to Toronto Pearson (YYZ) from Air Canada ($552 million)
  • Sydney (SYD) to Singapore (SYN) from Singapore Airlines ($544 million)

There is one very important thing that all of the routes that made the top 10 have in common. All of the high-earning routes in the world also cost a lot to operate. Popular routes that bring passengers between major hubs require wide-bodied aircraft. These can be pricey to fuel and maintain. In addition, the frequency of some of these routes also creates high operational costs for airlines. OAG’s findings are based on revenue records from April of 2017 to March of 2018.


Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

View Comments (5)


  1. amanuensis


    August 12, 2018 at 3:24 am

    Please stop the clickbait headlines. Top 10 routes ranked by revenue is not necessarily “most lucrative” if lucrative is meant to mean “most profitable.” You point this out yourself in the last paragraph.

  2. rbwpi

    August 12, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    These dollar amounts only represent revenue/gross income and not net income/profit. As noted in the article these routes have high operational costs. Thus they may not be the most profitable. Its conceivable that some could actually be financial losers when expenses are taken into consideration.

  3. htb

    August 12, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    Am I the only one who hates headlines like “This is the most profitable route in the world”? How difficult would it be to write “a-b is the…”? Has flyertalk sunken so far as having to compete with the yellow press?

  4. CordW

    August 13, 2018 at 2:26 am

    Just a few thoughts that popped into my head reading this post.

    How does the list correspond to top ten routes in terms of passengers flying? (if there was such a top ten list)?
    E.g. SQ flies SIN – LHR 4x, whereas SIN – CGK is 9x a day (I think). Whats the profit margins like for SIN – CGK?

    For the airlines would it better to fly 1x a day and earn 1 billion or 5x days earning 200 million per flight, in total earning 1billion for that route?

    Whats the passenger load like on the top 10 profitable routes, throughout the year. Would airlines fly 1x a day, earning 1 billion, flying at maximum passenger load 20% of the year?
    Or would airlines prefer flying 5x a day, earning 200 million, flying at maximum passenger load 80% of the year?

    Sorry, just questions that popped into my head when reading this post.

  5. Xnuiem

    August 13, 2018 at 7:27 am

    The question of the “most profitable route” was not answered. This merely commented on the revenue, which is not profit. LHR and JFK both have very high airport fees and are being flown by very expensive (big) aircraft.

    The title of the article promises an answer but never delivers.

You must be logged in on the FORUM to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Airlines

China Airlines Pilot Caught Napping on Camera

Jackie ReddyFebruary 22, 2019

Reports of Tiny Seatback Cameras on American Airlines Planes Spark Privacy Concerns

Jeff EdwardsFebruary 22, 2019

2018 Was London Heathrow Airport’s “Best Ever Year”

Jackie ReddyFebruary 22, 2019

Copyright © 2014 Top News Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by Wordpress.