Heathrow retains top spot
London's Heathrow Airport has maintained its status as the world's most connected airport. In a report for OAG, the UK hub has come out ahead of its rivals for the title of world’s most internationally connected airport in OAG’s Megahubs Connectivity Index.
The report says:
Allowing for the number of destinations served from the airport, passengers using Heathrow on the busiest day for global aviation in 2019 have a wider range of possible international connections between inbound and outbound flights than at any other airport in the world. The index considers all connections which are feasible between scheduled flights adhering to the airports’ own Minimum Connect Times, which can be made within a six-hour window of a flight arrival and where at least one is an international flight. At Heathrow there are over 65,000 possible connections on the busiest day for aviation and while the Megahubs Index score for Heathrow is slightly below where it was a year ago, the airport continues to perform well ahead of the competition.
While there are many ways to rank the top airports in the world, the OAG Megahubs Index reflects both the scale of the airport operation in terms of destinations served and the number of inbound and outbound flights, as well as the fundamental scheduling which makes some airports such successful hubs. In some instances schedule co-ordination, which ensures waves of inbound flights are timed to provide the maximum connectivity to outbound flights is key, while for other Megahubs, the sheer scale of the domestic operation and how that connects to international air services is what drives international connectivity.
Unsurprisingly, there are 15 US airports ranked among the Top 50 Megahubs, a sign of the traditional emphasis on creating networks based around hub airports by the major American carriers. While Chicago O’Hare Airport ranks third in the 2019 Megahubs Index, the close cooperation between airport and airline that is often required to create a Megahub is apparent in the fact that at Atlanta Airport (ATL - ranked 8th), Dallas/Ft.Worth (DFW - ranked 19th), Miami Airport (MIA - ranked 20th) and at Houston Airport (IAH – ranked 21st) the dominant airline operates 75% or more of all scheduled flights.
Aside from London Heathrow, a further four European airports make it in to the Top 10 – Frankfurt Airport (FRA), Amsterdam Airport (AMS), Munich Airport (MUC) and Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG). The fact that half of the Top 10 Megahubs are located in Europe reflects the sheer density of the aviation market, with a very high proportion of flights being international, the high propensity to fly among Europeans and the concentration of flights at a handful of already very busy airports. 15% of all scheduled aviation capacity in Europe is to or from one of these 5 airports.