Packed flights, crowded airports, and endless security queues – Where is everyone going?

Nicolas Borel

COO Travel Intelligence, Amadeus IT Group

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Earlier this year we published the results of our annual analysis of air passenger volume for origins and destinations worldwide – which revealed that 300 world ‘super routes’ attract 20% of all air travel. Interesting enough, Jeju – Seoul in South Korea remained the world’s busiest air route.



This is the time of the year most of us are looking forward to: the summer season, in other words, holidays. But before we arrive at our destination and start enjoying our well-deserved break, thorough planning has been taking place behind the scenes, that is, 


, price comparison and finally booking…and when it comes to searching and booking, the flight element becomes the king in this ever evolving jungle.



Does this mean we all want to go to these two cities? Well…not really, in fact the top three cities generating the most air traffic come as no surprise and remain the same for both 2011 and 2012: London with 103.8 million passengers travelling to or from this city in 2011 and 107 million in 2012. New York with 81.3 million passengers travelling to or from this city in 2011 and 84.3 million passengers in 2012. Finally Tokyo with 73.8 million passengers travelling to or from this city in 2011 and 78.8million passengers in 2012. These are the top three origin and destination cities in the world.

The World is Changing

But the world is rapidly changing and so are our preferences. New cities are opening up and becoming big players in the tourism champion’s league.  For instance, Moscow and Beijing experience growth of 11% in air traffic in 2012; in the case of Moscow it meant climbing from 9th place to 7th during the summer* months and seeing growth of 18% during the winter months. This should be a red flag for travel providers to keep an eye on these markets.

We’ve also blogged extensively about the trends shaping the future of travel in Asia Pacific and surprisingly enough cities such as Jakarta are becoming hot spots in the region, in fact Jakarta experienced a 14% increase in 2012, 38.5 million passengers travelled to or from this city in 2011 and 43.8 million in 2012.

Much of this data is valuable to travel providers in that it can empower them with a framework from which to apply specific drivers to support investments in tourism, helping to fuel socio-economic progress in local markets.

What do you think of these trends? How do you think the travel industry will react to upcoming city destinations like Moscow and Beijing? Willair traffic in Asian citiescontinue to lead the way or willAfrican citiescome to steal the top spot as its infrastructure matures in the next decades? Leave us a comment to let us know!

* Winter is the half year from October to March and summer from April until end of September