a plane flying in the sky

Follow the skies to London to find the pot of gold…

They say if you follow a rainbow, it’ll lead you to a pot of gold. It turns out, you just need to follow the skies to New York, London or Dubai. British Airways, for example, makes a billion dollars annually on their London to New York route alone. OAG, the airline and travel intelligence and research company, has just released the results of their most profitable airline routes study from April 2017 – March 2018, offering insights into not only which airlines, but which routes offer the most profit. The study breaks down yearly take in and even how much money each route makes for the airline per hour. Here are the fascinating findings in order of hourly revenue…

a city with a lake and mountains in the background10. Air Canada: Vancouver (YVR) – Toronto (YYZ)

Revenue Per Hour (US$) – 11,445

Total Revenue (US$) – 552,264,972

9. United Airlines: San Francisco (SFO) – New York (EWR)

Revenue Per Hour (US$) – 12,130

Total Revenue (US$) – 687,674,312

8. American Airlines: Los Angeles (LAX) – New York (JFK)

Revenue Per Hour (US$) – 13,801

Total Revenue (US$) – 698,074,171

7. Cathay Pacific Airways: Hong Kong (HKG) – London (LHR)

Revenue Per Hour (US$) – 14,294

Total Revenue (US$) – 631,855,868

6. Qatar Airways: London (LHR) – Doha (DOH)

Revenue Per Hour (US$) – 17,677

Total Revenue (US$) – 552,658,316

a city skyline with a body of water5. Singapore Airlines: London (LHR) – Singapore (SIN)

Revenue Per Hour (US$) – 18,253

Total Revenue (US$) – 709,730,107

4. Singapore Airlines: Sydney (SYD) – Singapore (SIN)

Revenue Per Hour (US$) – 19,525

Total Revenue (US$) – 543,723,893

3. Qantas Airways: Melbourne (MEL) – Sydney (SYD)

Revenue Per Hour (US$) – 24,237

Total Revenue (US$) – 854,692,402

2. British Airways: New York (JFK) – London (LHR)

Revenue Per Hour (US$) – 24,639

Total Revenue (US$) – 1,037,724,867

1. Emirates: London (LHR) – Dubai (DXB)

Revenue Per Hour (US$) – 25,308

Total Revenue (US$) – 819,409,702

Did anyone notice Singapore Air is the only airline with two of the top 10?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Hourly revenue doesn’t make profit. All the bloggers have no idea about the difference between revenue and profit…

    1. Sorry Ken, start a blog and then you can be an expert on one of the six articles we put out today.

  2. [NOTE: this comment reflects thoughts after reading the many articles on the USA side of the pond (including GSTP’s sister blogs) where the LHR-JFK sector was widely reported as #1 in the world based on total revenue topping $1+ billion versus the #2 ranking seen above where Emirates occupies the #1 slot based on the revenue per hour metric. Please keep this difference in mind…but other than whether it’s #1 or #2 depending on the metric applied to make that determination, everything else said remains the same! 😉 ]

    With 14 BA First & 86 Club World (business class) seats, for a total of 100 high fare/high margin premium class sleeper seats (offering two options of segmentation for that type of product alone versus just the single option biz class on Virgin Atlantic, Delta & United)…

    …PLUS an additonal 30 higher fare/higher margin World Traveller Plus (aka Premium Economy) seats…

    …for a total of THREE higher fare/higher margin premium classes totaling 130 seats in all, which when taken together comprise nearly half of the total 275 seats after including the 145 in standard economy, of British Airways’ FOUR class “Super High ‘J’ class” Boeing 747-400s, it’s hardly surprising that hands down BA run rings around all of the other airlines (most of which allow for ONLY three premium classes of service that do not even offer a first class product, with their far smaller, higher fare/higher margin, premium class cabins) that offer nonstops hopping across the pond on the heavily traveled, and extremely lucrative, London-New York city pair that allows British Airways to achieve best in class profits on the LHR-JFK sector that its rivals can only dream of with their far smaller aircraft!

    Indeed, how ironic is it that of all the prized airline routes in the world, it’s the one where nary an Airbus A380 is found (has one ever even been flown regularly at all?), and 787s are few and far between…

    …but instead is perhaps the very last route in the world where, yep, you guessed it, none other than BA’s Boeing 747s still reign supreme that is the one with the best crown jewels by far?!?!

    Surely, it cannot be an accident that the world’s sole $1+ billion revenue producing route is also one of the few remaining routes where Boeing’s majestic “Queen of the Skies” proudly flies (while others who stopped flying the 747 are barely also rans!).

    Just proves that BA’s unrivalled profit making beasts – befitting even a royal! – that are only possible with the type of “Super High ‘J’ Class” 747s offering FOUR classes of service to meet all flyers’ tastes, budgets and needs, featuring a First class option in addition to a large business class cabin are all the more reason why Boeing’s newest 747-8i very much deserves to be a part of BA’s future fleet.

    Long Live the Queen! ❤️

    BA’s enviable, and breathtaking $1+ billion revenue produced on this route results from it having a fleet of planes unmatched by its competitors: the Boeing 747.

    These numbers don’t lie!

    Super High J 747-8i’s are the way to go for this route (and others with a higher proportion of business travelers). And that eye popping $1 billion that no other airline matches anywhere in the world proves the Queen more than earns her keep to soldiering on at BA for decades to come! ✈️

    The OG wide-body.

    Beloved pop culture icon.

    Best. Jet. Ever.

    The world’s #1 and only $1+ billion revenue producing beast – the incomparable and majestic Boeing 747!

  3. In the the above (towards the end) for the sentence below, please note the corrected copy, as follows:

    And that eye popping $1 billion that no other airline matches anywhere in the world proves the Queen more than earns her keep to soldier on at BA for decades to come! ✈

    (…with apologies for the error that went undetected until after posting! 😉 )

  4. So when someone points out your mistake you just despise it instead of looking deeper and correct it?

    1. @Ken,

      As with anyone, or even at the most august publications such as the New York Times (or the National Review!), errors will be made. It’s part of being human, and why “Corrections” appear daily/regularly even in the most prominent, highly regarded publications!

      However, as a rebuttal to your comments, in this instance, no one else pointed out the error made since that would be shown along with all of the reader comments seen above, including yours (even flagged/removed comments would still show that another reader’s post was made, but all or part of what was said was deleted for whatever reason that would appear in place of what may have been said that editors monitor and have ultimate discretion over allowing to remain available).

      Much as I try to proofread and edit before posting, very often comments are written when time permits – or on the fly riding the subway, or the bus, or waiting for meetings/appointments (personal or professional), etc., which also means not only are they written on hand held devices with small screens using virtual keys, with predictive text gremlins also wreaking havoc (!), but also all manner of disruptions can require cutting short writing and/or editing abruptly, too.

      Sometimes everything gets punted because the copy is too rough; sometimes copy gets cut and pasted to savable documents for completion at a later time before posting;; and sometimes things are posted in haste that would’ve been better off holding off!

      Sometimes a panic that pages will autorefresh without warning, which wipes out everything, results in posting things that clearly were 1st drafts.

      Sometimes lightning strikes and like Goldilocks, everything is just right! The right balance of words, clarity and length that makes for really crisp reading and polished presentations, too! 😉

      It’s an imperfect process…always!

      But, I’ve long been passionate about the airline industry, spent approximately 5-years as a frequent bylined columnist for an industry newsletter, PlaneBusiness Banter (~1999-2004); have other notable published credits elsewhere; was a professional travel agent for many years; participated on multi-year consulting assignments for some of the industry’s best known names; and in general enjoy participating with others, professional or otherwise, who share an interest in airlines, travel and hotels, etc. in duscussions here and elsewhere.

      Anyhow, it was NOT anyone else who pointed out the error I made that resulted in the correction (and mea culpa) that followed!

      I was referencing myself as the person who caught the error after posting, as I typically do one final proofread after posting to check for errors that made have been missed while writing/editing which for me are harder to catch on the even smaller box available on the already small hand held device that also scrolls up and down so that the entirety of what’s written is not seen until it uploads and finally appears as a whole in a much easier to read format.

      And that’s what happened.

      Nothing more – and nothing less.


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