Heathrow operates Europe’s busiest international route

The London–JFK route was the busiest with almost 3 million passengers last year

London’s biggest airport — Heathrow — is home to eight out of ten busiest international routes of Europe. According to Routesonline, its connection to New York JFK is at the very top in the new ranking with nearly 3 million passengers per year.

A daily average on the route is about 8,000 passengers. In total, 2,919,864 passengers boarded flights between the two destinations in 2018. The total number means a rise of 1.8 per cent compared to the previous 12 months.

Four airlines dominated the route. British Airways commanded a 40.7 per cent share of all available seats, or every two in five passengers. Virgin Atlantic came as second with 28.5 per cent capacity share. American Airlines had a 20.6 per cent and Delta Air Lines had a 10.2 per cent share.

British Airways' Airbus A380 jumbo jet airplane getting ready for take-off — EQRoy / Shutterstock
British Airways’ Airbus A380 jumbo jet airplane getting ready for take-off — EQRoy / Shutterstock

The west London airport is also the biggest in passenger numbers. It is also the busiest in passenger numbers on international routes.

The London–JFK route has overtaken the Dubai route which ended up in second place. The drop followed Qantas and Royal Brunei cancelling their connections from Heathrow to the UAE airport. The London–Dubai route saw a decline of 16.6 per cent in passenger numbers.

Europe’s third busiest route transported about 5,000 passengers a day

The third place belongs to the 449-km-long (280 mi.) Heathrow–Dublin route with about 5,000 passengers a day.

Busy London Heathrow — Alexander Gold / Shutterstock
Busy London Heathrow — Alexander Gold / Shutterstock

The figures were announced by Routesonline as 1,200 aviation professionals gather at Routes Europe 2019, taking place from 8–10 April in Hannover, Germany.

Steven Small, brand director of Routes, said: “European carriers’ international traffic climbed 6.6 per cent in 2018, according to the latest IATA figures, while load factor increased to 85.0 per cent, 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.”