The Melbourne-Sydney route is not just one of the world's busiest, it's also one of the world's most lucrative, according to new figures.
Aviation industry analysts OAG identified Qantas' Melbourne-Sydney route as the second-highest revenue route in the world, reaping more than $US800 million ($1.1 billion) in revenue over the past year.
It is beaten only by British Airways' New York to London route, flying between New York's JFK airport and Heathrow. The route brought in a whopping $US1,037,724,867 – the only route worldwide to $US1 billion in revenue. According to OAG, the route accounts for 6 per cent of the airline's total revenue.
OAG combined flight schedules and traffic data to create a top 10 list of the highest revenue routes. Five of the top 10 flew either from or to London's Heathrow.
Singapore Airlines' Sydney to Singapore route also made the top 10, pulling in more than $US543 million.
OAG said the top 10 routes were all high-cost operations, combining large aircraft with high frequency, citing Qantas operating about 65 flights a day on the Melbourne to Sydney route. In addition, the most lucrative routes also tended to have a high proportion of business travellers, who typically will book later and pay more for their flights – increasing the revenue on the routes despite the high operating costs.
Earlier this year OAG named the Melbourne-Sydney route as the second-busiest in the world, with more than 54,000 flights per year. It was behind only Jeju-Seoul, the South Korean route from the national capital to the popular island escape.
Qantas made a net profit of $607 million in the first half of last financial year, with earnings on its domestic routes up 20 per cent to $447 million.
World's most lucrative air routes
- British Airways, New York-London, $1.037 billion
- Qantas, Melbourne-Sydney, $854 million
- Emirates, London-Dubai, $819 million
- Singapore Airlines, London-Singapore, $709 million
- American Airlines, Los Angeles-New York (JFK), $698 million
- United Airlines, San Francisco-New York (Newark), $687 million
- Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong-London, $631 million
- Qatar Airways, London-Doha, $552.7 million
- Air Canada, Vancouver-Toronto, $552.3 million
- Singapore Airlines, Sydney-Singapore, $543 million
Source: OAG. Figures in US dollars based on flight data between April 2017 and March 2018.
World's 10 busiest air routes
- Jeju-Seoul, South Korea: 64,991
- Melbourne-Sydney, Australia: 54,519
- Mumbai-Delhi, India: 47,462
- Fukuoka-Tokyo Haneda, Japan: 42,835
- Rio de Janeiro-Sao Paulo Congonhas, Brazil: 39,325
- Sapporo-Tokyo, Japan: 38,389
- Los Angeles-San Francisco, USA: 34,897
- Brisbane-Sydney, Australia: 33,765
- Cape Town-Johannesburg, South Africa: 31,914
- Beijing-Shanghai, China: 30,029