Seoul Incheon surpasses Hong Kong as Asia's busiest international hub

Asia's biggest airports report massive decreases in international passenger traffic because of COVID-19. 

Seoul's Incheon International Airport (ICN) became Asia’s busiest international airport in 2020 in terms of passenger volume, dethroning Hong Kong (HKG). 

Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) came in second place, with HKG in third in terms of passenger numbers. 

According to ICN, the South Korean airport handled 11.9 million international passengers and 149,000 aircraft movements in 2020—83.1% and 62.3% year-over-year declines, respectively. 

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SIN, with no domestic network, handled 11.8 million passengers and 125,000 take offs and landings. Changi has managed to generate revenue on transit lanes, especially on the "Kangaroo Route" between Australia and the UK. Following the emergence of the new UK strain of COVID-19, Singapore tweaked its transit protocol. UK passengers are still allowed to transit to Australia and New Zealand at SIN but must stay on the same aircraft while the other passengers disembark and board the aircraft at the airport. 

Changi has also extended transit offerings beyond the Singapore Airlines group to Lufthansa Group and Garuda Indonesia. 

HKG reported a total of 8.8 million passengers and 160,655 flights in 2020, which represent YOY decreases of 87.7% and 61.7%, respectively. However, it continues to be the world’s busiest cargo airport, handling 4.5 million tonnes. 

Photo credit: Incheon International Airport