How Airlines Determine Routes

by SharonKurheg

According to the FAA, as of June 2019 (read: before COVID), there were more than 44,000 flights every day. That’s more than 16 million flights per year.

Meanwhile, according to Forbes (again, pre-COVID), as of February 2019, the most popular routes were between Kuala Lumpur & Singapore (30,187 flights per year), Hong Kong & Taipei (28,447 flights) and  Jakarta & Singapore (27,046) (if you’re curious when the U.S. gets listed in the top 20, it’s #7: 17,038 flights between New York LaGuardia & Toronto, #13: 14,195 between New York JFK & London Heathrow, and #18: 13,503 between Chicago O’Hare & Toronto).

Have you ever wondered how airlines decide what routes to take? I mean, do they just stick pins in big cities and say, “Those are the ones we’re going to fly between”? Or is it maybe a trial and error sort of thing? Or what?

It turns out airlines decide where to fly based on location, hubs, stopovers, passenger interest (both in the route and how much they’re willing to pay), info purchased from airline booking companies, competition from other airlines, and a whole lot more. Take a look…

I had NO IDEA about any of this. But now I know. And so do you. 🙂

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