Melbourne to Sydney named the 5th busiest domestic flight path in the world


The Melbourne to Sydney flight route in Australia was named the fifth busiest domestic air corridor in the world earlier this year. With a capacity for 702,744 seats per year or roughly 1,925 per day. Why is it so busy, how many planes travel each day and where are the busiest routes is covered in this article.

According to the data, the Sydney to Melbourne route came in fifth place behind domestic routes in Asia, including South Korea, Japan and Vietnam.

Jeju International to Seoul Gimpo in South Korea took the top spot and continues to be the busiest domestic corridor offering 1.2 million seats per year. In second place is Sapporo New Chitose in northern Japan to the country’s capital Tokyo, which has 985,684 seats annually.

In third place is the route between Vietnam’s two biggest cities, from the capital Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, which has 979,951 seats each year. This was just ahead of another Japanese route: Fukuoka to Tokyo Haneda, which has 963,490 seats and sits in fourth place.

Melbourne to Sydney route

This well-travelled corridor, connecting two of Australia’s most prominent cities, is a vital hub for both business and leisure travellers. With three runways, Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport is the busiest airport in the country and is a gateway to many other parts of the world both domestic and international. It’s just ahead of  Melbourne Tullamarine which has two runways and four terminals, three of which are domestic, so it’s no wonder that the flight path between these two is one of the busiest.

One of the primary reasons for the route’s popularity is its status as a major economic corridor. Both of these major cities are financial hubs and many business people will often travel between the two for meetings, conferences and other work-related activities. The frequency of the flights between both locations facilitates this and often fuels demand even further.

In addition to this, both Sydney and Melbourne offer a diverse array of cultural and recreational experiences. Travellers often explore the rich cultural scene, fine dining, and world-class shopping in each and the proximity of the two makes either a convenient starting point for international travellers who want to discover the east coast.

Travelling by air between Sydney and Melbourne also makes the most sense from a time-efficiency point of view. It’s fast, with a flight from Sydney to Melbourne taking approximately an hour and a half, while a road trip can extend to around nine hours.


Several airlines operate on the route, ensuring a range of options for travellers. The top three operators are Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar. Qantas is Australia’s flagship carrier and operates multiple daily flights along the route which are known for high-quality service despite the short flight time. Virgin Australia is another major player in the market which is known for strong customer service with more competitive pricing. Qantas’ budget airline is Jetstar, which offers a budget-friendly alternative for travellers. It provides several daily flights, catering to passengers seeking affordable travel options.

Finally, Regional Express, or as it’s more commonly known ‘Rex’, has expanded its services to include the Sydney to Melbourne route. It offers an alternative to the major carriers, often with a focus on regional airports.

Working the route

Pilots and crew members who work on the Sydney to Melbourne air route play a crucial role in ensuring the safe and efficient operation of flights between these two major Australian cities.

Despite the fact that this is a relatively short, domestic route, all captains and first offices who work predominantly on this air corridor are still required to hold the necessary licenses and certifications. These include an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) for captains and a Commercial Pilot License (CPL) for first officers. These licenses involve rigorous training and testing to ensure competence and safety.

There are a number of pilot training courses and programmes that can help those looking to work in the industry obtain their license. These include the Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane) and the Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating) ; both of these are structured pathways to becoming a commercial pilot.

For those who have completed a pilot training course, ongoing training and recurrent checks are required for all crew members to maintain their skills and stay current with the latest safety and operational procedures.

This is because there are a number of challenges that can be encountered even on what seems like a simple, brief flight. Something like the weather for example can significantly impact visibility and cause turbulence, so pilots must be highly trained to navigate such situations.

The Sydney to Melbourne air corridor continues to be the fifth busiest domestic route in the world and it’s hard to see that changing in the near future as more airlines join the market. For new pilots or those who wish to be based on the east coast of Australia, working this route can be a great opportunity. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, then consider enrolling in a pilot training course such as the Diploma of Aviation and starting a new career in the skies.



Written by Kevin Lashley

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