There are busy routes, and then there are lucrative ones. The route between Sydney and Melbourne is both.
Capacity between the NSW and Victorian capitals is well documented, with the route usually named among the world's top four or five most flown. But it's also high yielding.
According to flight data analysts, OAG, in the year ending March 2018, Qantas earned around US$854.7 million (AU$1.14 billion) on flights between Australia's two largest cities alone. That equates to some $32,458 per hour over its 65 or so daily flights.
It also makes it the second highest yielding air route in the world after the most lucrative, JFK-LHR (New York-London Heathrow), which earned British Airways US$1.04 billion (AU$1.39 billion) over the same period.
The next biggest moneymakers are Emirates' LHR-DXB (London-Dubai), which makes a tad over one billion (Aussie) dollars and Singapore Airlines' LHR-SIN (London-Singapore).
Proving the value of the Sydney market, SQ's SYD-SIN (Sydney-Singapore) also sneaked into the top ten, earning the Asian carrier AU$728,773 million.
While nine of the top ten busiest air routes are located in Asia (mostly in the far east), none of those routes make the list here, which shows that getting the most bums on seats doesn't necessarily make for the highest yields.
The LHR-JFK route, the most lucrative, was only the 16th busiest in the world but accounted for a whopping 6% of BA's total revenue in 2017. So like most products, it’s about the quality more than the quantity.
For OAG’s full list, click here.