Top 5 most competitive airline routes in the world

While in the past, Simple Flying has published articles on the busiest air routes in the world, both domestic and international, today we are going to see which are the five most competitive routes.


Competitive routes are very different from routes where one airline has a monopoly on flights between certain airports. When an airline offers the only way to fly from A to B, it can charge as many tickets as the market allows.


Many factors determine the price of a ticket

The price of the ticket can be to the advantage of the customer on routes where more than one airline is in competition. Of course, the number of airlines operating on a particular route also has a lot to do with passenger demand. The presence or absence of competition is not the only thing that determines prices, with the time of day also contributing to the ticket price. If you were to catch a flight that arrived in time for a business meeting, you would expect to pay significantly more for a ticket than for a flight that arrived around midnight. Business and leisure destinations also differ considerably, with business tickets being much more expensive than those to a holiday destination.

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The time of year also determines the price of a ticket, as those held hostage by the school holidays can attest. The season also affects how much airlines can charge for tickets. During the summer, if you’re looking to fly from Northern Europe to the Mediterranean Sea, you can expect to pay a lot more than what it would cost you for the same flight in the winter. Another example would be North America, where flights from northern states and Canada to Florida and the Caribbean skyrocket during the winter.

The Middle East now has the most competitive flights

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic and international flights in Asia were the most competitive, but that has changed. In 2022, flights between Middle Eastern cities in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have become the most competitive.

The flight between Cairo and Jeddah is not only the busiest route in the world, but also the most competitive. Image: GCmaps

Number one

In its latest report, global aviation industry travel data provider OAG states that among the top ten most competitive routes, Cairo International Airport (CAI) to King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED) is not only the busiest in the world, but also the most competitive. While Saudi airline Saudia holds 53.8% of traffic, it competes with eight other airlines. Between the Egyptian capital and the Red Sea city of Jeddah, there are 36 daily flights.

Number two

Vietjet has the most flights between DAD and ICN. Photo: Vietjet

In second place for the most competitive flights in the world, we have to look to Asia, where flights between Da Nang International Airport (DAD) in Vietnam and Incheon International Airport (ICN) in Korea South have nine carriers competing on the route. Among the airlines, VietJet has the largest capacity with 28%.

number three

Seven other airlines compete with Egyptair on the CAI-RUH route. Photo: Egyptair.

In third place are flights between Cairo International Airport (CAI) and King Khalid International Airport (RUH) in Riyadh, with 25 flights a day operated by eight different airlines, including Egyptair.

number four

ICN offers two of the most competitive routes in the world. Photo: Getty Images

In fourth place are flights between Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) in Thailand and Incheon International Airport (ICN) in South Korea. On the route, eight airlines compete with an average of eight flights per day.

number five

Turkey is a very popular holiday destination for Russians. Photo: Getty Images.

In fifth position are flights between Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) and the Turkish Mediterranean seaside resort served by Antalya Airport (ATY). In recent years, the Turkish River has grown in popularity with Russians and, in part, thanks to the weak Turkish lira, it is a cheap vacation destination. More recently, because Turkey does not require Russians to have visas, many young Russian men have flown there to avoid military mobilization for special operations in Ukraine. While Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines fly between the city dailies, the competition intensifies during the summer when holiday charter airlines get involved.

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