Analysis: More Than Half Of New Routes Announced In 2022 Were Unserved

Credit: David Creedon/Alamy Stock Photo

More than 3,500 new routes were announced during 2022 with more than half of them on unserved sectors, research by aviation consultancy ASM has found.

The analysis, which covers scheduled service operating for longer than 10 weeks, has revealed that 3,580 new routes were announced by a combined 377 airlines last year, led by Ryanair with 320 routes. Fellow European ULCC Wizz Air was second with 143 announcements, while Spanish airline Volotea was third on 86.

The overall figure for 2022 was broadly in line with the number announced in 2019, but represented a fall of some 908 routes compared with 2021 when carriers across the world employed a high degree of experimentation and flexibility in the face of stringent travel restrictions brought on by the pandemic.

“Although the number of new route announcements last year was down on the previous 12 months, the total nevertheless highlights the continued willingness of airlines to explore new markets,” ASM managing director David Stroud said.

“About 53% of the 3,580 new routes announced in 2022 were also unserved, which shows carriers’ appetite to stimulate demand and seek out new airport pairs where they can generate a sustainable return.”

The ASM research shows that June 2022 was the busiest month for new route launches, with 380 of the routes announced in 2022 starting during the month. December was the busiest month for new route announcements, with more than 400 made.


The U.S. maintained its position as the largest origin country in 2022, despite the number of route announcements falling from 769 in 2021 to 399. Russia ranked second with 246 announcements as domestic airlines had to restructure their networks in response to international sanctions.

Europe-Middle East was the largest inter-regional sector for new routes, with more than 150 announced between the regions. Almost a quarter of these were to and from Saudi Arabia as a result of expansion from Wizz Air and Flynas.

Rome Fiumicino was the top origin airport for new route announcements with 48, while Istanbul was the top destination airport with 29.

As in 2021, the Airbus A320 was the most common aircraft type for new route launches, followed by the Boeing 737-800 and the A321. About 76% of new routes were launched on narrowbody aircraft.

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.