DALLAS — London Heathrow Airport (LHR) and New York JFK Airport (JFK) earned the top rankings on the OAG Megahubs 2023 Index this year, with British Airways (BA) and Delta Air Lines (DL) as the dominant carriers, respectively.
The Megahubs Index, an annual publication by OAG, ranks the world’s airports based on their level of international connectivity. It measures the effectiveness of the world’s leading international airport hubs as connecting points, both globally and regionally, using a connectivity index.
The Megahubs Index is created using OAG’s flight data platform, which contains the most comprehensive airline schedules and global flight connections database in the world, to dynamically build connections and create unique rankings.
The rankings are generated by comparing the number of scheduled connections to and from international flights with the number of destinations served from the airport.
London Heathrow Airport (LHR) is the most connected airport in the world, making it the Number 1 Megahub once again. LHR is also the 4th biggest airport in the world in terms of total scheduled capacity in the year to August 2023. British Airways remains the dominant airline at LHR, operating 50% of all flights.
New York’s JFK Airport (JFK) is 2nd in this year’s Megahubs Index. The airport has moved up the rankings considerably from 18th place in 2019, in part driven by American Airlines (AA) operating seven more international destinations in 2023 and new services from several carriers, including Qantas (QF), Air New Zealand (NZ), and Air Senegal (HC).
The Global Top 20 Megahubs are evenly distributed across the regions, with 6 in EMEA, 6 in North America, and 7 in Asia Pacific. The most connected of these hubs is Kuala Lumpur (KUL), which ranks 4th, closely followed by Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND), which ranks 5th. The major European airport hubs—Amsterdam (AMS), Frankfurt (FRA), and Paris (CDG)—join LHR in the Top 10 Global Megahubs. Istanbul (IST) also makes it into the Top 10 in 7th place, considerably higher than its ranking of 17 in 2019.
Other megahubs of significance in the Top 20 include Atlanta (ATL), the world’s busiest airport, which ranks 14th, and Chicago O’Hare (ORD), which sits in position 10, down from 3rd place in 2019.
Top 25 Low-Cost Megahubs
In the Top 25 Low-Cost Megahubs, Asia Pacific airports dominate the rankings with 13 airports (52%), followed by Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) with eight airports (32%), and North America and Latin America with just two airports each.
This regional dominance reflects the high level of LCC penetration in parts of Asia, with South Asia having the highest share of capacity operated by LCCs of any region in the world at 63% and South East Asia having the second-highest LCC share, with 53% of all capacity in the region operated by LCCs.
Kuala Lumpur Airport (KUL) is ranked 1st in the Low-Cost Megahubs index with 11,188 possible low-cost connections across over 100 destinations, with AirAsia as the dominant carrier with a 34% share of flights.
Incheon (ICN) is ranked 2nd, with Korean Air (KE) the dominant carrier with 22% of flights, and Manila (MNL) is ranked 3rd, with Philippine Airlines the dominant carrier operating 32% of flights.
Dubai (DXB) is the highest-ranked non-Asian airport in 7th position, having climbed up from 19th place in 2019, while New York’s JFK Airport (JFK) is the highest-ranked North American airport in the Top 25 Low-Cost Megahubs in 8th position, and Barcelona Airport (BCN) and Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) are the highest-ranked airports in Europe to be in the Top 25 in 9th and 10th position, respectively.
The US Tops Domestic Megahubs
Chicago O’Hare (ORD) is ranked 1st, followed by Atlanta (ATL) in 2nd place, and Denver (DEN) in 3rd place. Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) is ranked 4th.
At 20 of the Top 25 airports, one of five US legacy carriers is the dominant airline. Still, four of the airports have low-cost Southwest Airlines (WN) is the carrier with the largest market share, showing just how much potential there is for low-cost connectivity.
United Airlines (UA) is the dominant carrier at ORD, operating almost half (48%) of all flights, while Delta Air Lines (DL) dominates ATL, where they operate three-quarters of all flights.
Connectivity Index Highlights
Europe, the Middle East, and Africa
- The Europe, Middle East, and Africa Top 10 Megahubs achieve the highest average international Connectivity Index of any region, with an average score of 179.
- London Heathrow Airport (LHR) remains in the #1 position, while Amsterdam (AMS) is in 2nd place and has moved up from 4th place in 2019.
- Dubai (DXB) retains the first position in the Middle East and Africa, with Doha (DOH) in 2nd place and South Africa’s Johannesburg (JNB) in 3rd place.
- Asia Pacific has the second-highest average Connectivity Index for the Top 10 Megahubs, but has seen significant change. Five of the region’s Top 10 most connected Megahubs are in South East Asia with, as of yet, no Chinese airports returning to the Megahubs regional ranking. There are two Japanese airports in the Top 10: Tokyo Haneda (HND) and Fukuoka (FUK).
- Kuala Lumpur Airport (KUL) is the most connected airport in Asia Pacific, ranking 4th globally in the Megahubs Index.
- Mexico City (MEX) remains the top-ranked Megahub in Latin America, with Bogota (BOG) in 2nd place.
- The Top 10 North American Megahubs continue to achieve the highest average international connectivity index of any region.
Featured image: London Heathrow Airport Terminal Five. Photo: London Heathrow Airport