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The world’s busiest air route isn’t London to Paris or New York to Los Angeles, but the trip between Seoul and a tiny island off the coast of South Korea. Planes made 65,000 trips between the Korean capital and Jeju island -- a journey of little more than an hour -- in 2017, equivalent to 178 flights a day, according to data from OAG Aviation Worldwide Ltd. That’s almost double the 35,000 trips on the busiest North American route: Los Angeles to San Francisco. Asian cities dominated the list, cementing the region’s status as the world’s fastest-growing travel market. Among the 10 busiest routes in the world last year, Los Angeles-San Francisco was the only North American entry and there wasn’t a single European destination. The top European route in OAG’s rankings was Dublin-London Heathrow with about 14,500 flights. Jeju-Seoul The beaches and resorts of Jeju, an island off the southernmost tip of the Korean peninsula, have drawn local holiday-makers for decades. These days, Japanese and Chinese tourists are joining the South Koreans on the sand. Melbourne-Sydney Unless you have 10 hours to spare and love driving, a 90-minute flight is the best way to shuttle between Australia’s two biggest population centers.
Weekday rush-hour connections are the domain of suited bankers and business travelers. Shoppers, sports fans and tourists take the cheaper seats.Mumbai-Delhi The flight, taking less than two hours, connects the businesses of Mumbai with the political establishment in Delhi. An aviation boom means fares can be as cheap as a train ticket -- and that journey takes about 16 hours. Fukuoka-Tokyo The flight from Tokyo to Fukuoka, on the northern shore of Kyushu island, takes about two hours. That beats even a high-speed bullet train by several hours. Rio de Janeiro-Sao Paulo A one-hour flight connects Brazil’s two largest cities and the country’s economic and industrial powerhouses. Tickets can cost less than $100.