Profits may be pressured across the aviation industry this year, but some routes are always reliable money spinners that can bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year in ticket sales and, in one case, more than $1 billion.
“For every airline there are a small selection of lucrative routes where either competitive advantage, market circumstances or limited competition make for very attractive revenues,” says John Grant of industry analysts OAG, which has compiled a list of the 10 highest-grossing services around the world.
Between them the 10 routes brought in revenues of more than $6 billion in the 12 months from April 2018 to March 2019. That is an average of $608 million each, ranging from the $541m pocketed by Air Canada on its Vancouver to Toronto service, to the $1.16bn in ticket sales by British Airways on its trans-Atlantic service between London and New York.
Strong revenues don’t always translate directly into profits, though, and operating costs on some of these routes will also be high. Nonetheless, Grant says, “It is equally likely that, for each of these airlines, operating profits are amongst the highest on their respective networks.”
There are a number of common features among the 10 highest-grossing routes.
Five of them operate from London’s main airport, Heathrow, serving New York, Dubai, Singapore, Doha and Hong Kong. That is in part due to the limited availability of slots at Heathrow, which means airlines flying in and out of the airport need to make the most of the opportunity.
The value of services to a popular