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Most lucrative airline routes in the world

The Independent logo The Independent 10/07/2018 Joanna Whitehead
a traffic light in front of a sunset © Provided by The Independent

The top 10 highest earning airline routes in the world have been revealed, with British Airways’ service between London Heathrow and New York’s JFK coming top.

The lucrative route makes a billion dollars per year, which amounts to about 6 per cent of BA’s total revenue in 2017. On an hourly basis, that equates to $24,639 (£18,500).

This doesn’t work out as the highest earner per hour, an accolade which goes to the Emirates service from London Heathrow to Dubai, a route that equates to $25,308 (19,000).

The service came in third place overall, producing $819 million (£613 million) in a single year. 

Global air travel research company OAG compiled the data by analysing route revenues between April 2017 and March 2018.

Five of the top 10 revenue earners are either to or from London Heathrow, a factor which may explain why discussions around the proposed third runway are so heated.

All of the top 10 routes are also high-cost operations, combining generally wide-bodied services with high frequency. The Melbourne to Sydney service, which comes second in the list, operates around 65 flights per day, for example. This is also the highest-earning domestic route in the rankings, generating $854 million (£639 million) a year.

Singapore Airlines’ Heathrow to Singapore service came in fourth place and earned $709 million (£531 million), while Cathay Pacific’s route from London Heathrow to Hong Kong came in seventh place, pulling in $631 million (£473 million).

According to OAG, these routes typically include a high proportion of business traffic and are higher yielding in nature.

While these flights may bring in the most income, the tickets don’t always reflect this.

In 2016, Etihad, the United Arab Emirates national carrier, unveiled the most expensive flight in the world with its “The Residence” suite.

A one-way ticket between New York and Mumbai in this luxury compartment for two cost £38,000, while a round-trip ticket cost £52,000.

The “penthouse in the sky” comes complete with a butler, chef and 32 inch flat screen TV.

10 highest earning air travel routes

1. London Heathrow to JFK

2. Melbourne to Sydney

3. London Heathrow to Dubai

4. London Heathrow to Singapore

5. Los Angeles International to JFK

6. San Francisco International to Newark International

7. Hong Kong to London Heathrow

8. London Heathrow to Doha

9. Vancouver International to Toronto Pearson International

10. Sydney to Singapore

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