CAPA Insights: Jeju-Seoul Gimpo tops busiest route list


Jeju-Seoul Gimpo has regularly been the world’s busiest route in terms of seat capacity and has managed to remain so in the days of COVID-19.

As on every route globally, the number of seats year-on-year has dropped, but has been working its way back up to top position, despite last week still being some 15% below seat numbers for the same week in 2019.

This week, there has been another increase to 266,000 seats, which is just under 8% below that of 2019. This route is likely to bounce back up to 2019 levels within a week or two.

Top 15 Routes by airport ranked by seats for the week commencing 18-May-2020

Ho Chi Minh-Hanoi was in fifth place this week in 2019 but has now risen to second with 181,000 seats – some 32% behind Jeju-Seoul Gimpo but 30% higher than last week’s seat capacity. 

Tokyo-Sapporo was the second busiest route a year ago, with 214,000 seats for the week commencing 20-May-2019. The route has been second busiest for some time during COVID-19, but has now dropped to third as Ho Chi Minh-Hanoi climbs the ladder. Tokyo-Sapporo is now just 16% below its 2019 seat capacity and likely to keep growing back up to 2019 levels. 

The world’s fourth busiest route this week (week commencing 20-May-2020) is Fukuoka-Tokyo Haneda, with 133,000 seats, which represents a drop of nearly 30% year-on-year.  Interestingly, this is slightly lower than just one week ago, which demonstrates caution within Japan, confirmed with other Japanese routes also either remaining static or declining slightly. 

Shenzhen-Shanghai follows, with a 6.6% increase in seat capacity from last week; Tokyo-Okinawa with a 2.4% decrease from last week; Beijing-Shanghai with an 8% increase; Osaka-Tokyo staying pretty much level with last week; and Guangzhou-Shanghai with an 11% increase. 

A year ago in 2019 Sydney-Melbourne was up in fifth place, but this year the route doesn’t even appear in the top 600 busiest routes, and in fact is down in 811th place, with just 8,000 seats this week – a drop of 96%. 

Outside of Korea, China, India and Japan, the next highest route according to seat capacity is Jakarta-Makassar, in 11th place with 81,000 seats, which is a drop of 16%.

Jakarta-Bali, which this week in 2019 was the 14th largest route in the world, is now down in 21st place, with a drop of 53% on seat capacity. 

Top 15 Routes by airport ranked by seats for the week commencing 11-May-2020


In some rare cases capacity changes are not being reported quickly enough, which results in routes such as Delhi-Mumbai showing as the fifth busiest.

India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation recently confirmed the government's extension of its prohibition on the operation of scheduled domestic and international passenger services until 31-May-2020; therefore, this route is not operating at the level being reported. 

CAPA Members can access custom rankings reports for all airlines, airline groups, airports, investors, alliances, routes, countries and territories, regions, fleets, traffic, and tourism. 

1. Login to your CAPA Member account and select the 'Data' tab at the top of the web page.

2. Click on the 'Network' drop-down box and select 'Rankings'.

3. Use the 'Rankings for' drop-down box to select the category of interest and then apply custom filters for that category to narrow down your search. 

4. Use the date tool to generate rankings tables for particular time periods. You can choose to see the data as a table or a graph.

5. Use the excel icon at the top right of the table to export your results.

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