World’s Most Profitable Flights

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Though it usually deals in metrics like the world’s busiest airline routes or the longest flights, Official Airline Guide (OAG) has now compiled and released the list of flights earning the most revenue worldwide, which provides a fascinating snapshot into the changing headwinds of the aviation industry.

OAG is an air travel information and intelligence agency that tracks data from the world’s airlines, airports, government agencies and air travel-related service companies.

OAG gathered data on airline revenues from April 2017-March 2018 to create a list of commercial flights earning the most revenue. The way it categorized flights was both by route and carrier, so though American Airlines, British Airways, Delta and Virgin Atlantic all fly from New York JFK to London Heathrow, only British Airways’ flight made it into the top 10 list based on the revenue it generated.

The Rankings

Here is the full list of the top 10 revenue-earning flights around the globe and how many dollars (rounded) each brought in over the course of a year.

British Airways New York JFK to London Heathrow: $1.04 billion
Qantas Airways Melbourne to Sydney, $855 million

Emirates London Heathrow to Dubai, $819 million
Singapore Airlines London Heathrow to Singapore, $710 million
American Airlines Los Angeles LAX to New York JFK, $698 million
United Airlines San Francisco to Newark, $688 million
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Cathay Pacific Airways Hong Kong to London Heathrow, $632 million
Qatar Airways London Heathrow to Doha, $553 million

Air Canada Vancouver to Toronto Pearson, $552 million
Singapore Airlines Sydney to Singapore, $544 million
The world’s top 10 earning flights.

The World’s Highest-Earning Airline Route

There are a number of interesting things to note here. First, only one airline and route topped $1 billion in revenue: British Airways’ flagship service between its hub at London Heathrow and New York JFK. Perhaps that should be no surprise considering the airline flies about 15 daily non-stops in either direction between the two airports. The revenue earned here accounts for about 6% of the airline’s total in 2017 according to OAG.

However, its closest competitor on this particular route is Virgin Atlantic, which flies about a dozen daily frequencies between the two airports, but does not appear on this list at all. Also surprising, British Airways managed to pull off this list-topping route despite the fact that several other airlines offer multiple non-stop options between both these exact same airports as well as nearby ones such as Newark in the U.S. and Gatwick near London, showing just how much British Airways dominates this particular service.

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