A Network Map of the World's Air Traffic Connections
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A Network Map of the World’s Air Traffic Connections

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A Network Map of the World's Air Traffic Connections

A Network Map of the World’s Air Traffic Connections

View the high resolution version of today’s graphic by clicking here.

In 2017, airlines moved over four billion passengers, a number that continues to grow each year.

As more and more people around the world can afford to scratch their travel itch, new connections and airports will be created to meet that demand. Remarkably, the world’s air transport network doubles in size every 15 years, and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) estimates that it will do so again by the year 2030.

Today’s data visualization – created by researcher, Martin Grandjean – is a dramatic look at over 3,200 air traffic hubs that connect our world’s population centers. The unique, force-directed layout allows us to see relationships beyond geographical location.

air traffic network map

As the GIF above reveals, Europe remains an important linchpin in international travel, and cities on North America’s West Coast – such as Vancouver and San Francisco – swing in response to Asia’s gravitational pull.

The World’s Most Connected Airports

While all airports are effective at moving passengers from point A to B, particular locations play a crucial role in the global network. To help put this connectivity between airports into perspective, OAG created the Megahubs International Index.

Below are the top 50 internationally connected airports:

RankAirportAirport NameCountryConnectivity Index
1LHRHeathrowUnited Kingdom379
2FRAFrankfurtGermany307
3AMSAmsterdam SchipholNetherlands299
4ORDO'HareUnited States295
5YYZToronto PearsonCanada271
6SINSingapore ChangiSingapore257
7CGKSoekarno–HattaIndonesia256
8ATLHartsfield–JacksonUnited States256
9KULKuala LumpurMalaysia242
10CDGCharles de GaulleFrance242
11LAXLos AngelesUnited States235
12HKGHong KongHong Kong233
13BKKSuvarnabhumiThailand226
14MUCMunichGermany221
15ISTIstanbul AtatürkTurkey219
16MIAMiamiUnited States204
17ICNIncheonSouth Korea196
18JFKJohn F. KennedyUnited States195
19IAHGeorge BushUnited States184
20DXBDubaiUnited Arab Emirates183
21MEXMexico CityMexico176
22EWRNewark LibertyUnited States170
23PVGShanghai PudongChina167
24SYDSydneyAustralia167
25DELIndira GandhiIndia166
26YVRVancouverCanada165
27DFWDallas/Fort WorthUnited States164
28HNDHanedaJapan163
29SFOSan FranciscoUnited States153
30FCORome FiumicinoItaly145
31PEKBeijing CapitalChina142
32CANGuangzhou BaiyunChina141
33BOMChhatrapati ShivajiIndia140
34MADMadrid–BarajasSpain138
35NCENice Côte d'AzurFrance133
36JNBO. R. TamboSouth Africa133
37NRTNaritaJapan132
38MNLNinoy AquinoPhilippines131
39SEASeattle–TacomaUnited States130
40BOSLoganUnited States128
41BOGEl DoradoColombia127
42GRUSão Paulo–GuarulhosBrazil120
43YULMontréal–TrudeauCanada118
44ZRHZurichSwitzerland115
45SVOSheremetyevoRussian Fed.114
46SJULuis Muñoz MarínPuerto Rico114
47PTYTocumenPanama108
48VIEViennaAustria107
49MCOOrlandoUnited States107
50AKLAucklandNew Zealand106

The heavyweight airport leading the world in international connectivity is London Heathrow. This busy air traffic hub recently had a mind-blowing 72,000 possible international connections within a 6-hour window of arriving and departing flights. Heathrow moved over 78 million passengers and 1.70 million metric tonnes of cargo in 2017.

According to OAG, Singapore Changi and El Dorado International Airport in Colombia were the most connected airports in Asia–Pacific and South America, respectively. O. R. Tambo International Airport near Johannesburg was the sole African airport to crack the top 50.

America’s Most Connected Airports

Below are the top 25 most connected airports in the United States:

RankAirportAirport NameCityConnectivity Index
1ORDO'HareChicago455
2ATLHartsfield–Jackson AtlantaAtlanta390
3CLTCharlotte DouglasCharlotte238
4DFWDallas/Fort WorthDallas207
5DENDenverDenver186
6DTWDetroit Metro. Wayne CountyDetroit139
7MSPMinneapolis–Saint PaulMinneapolis–St. Paul126
8LAXLos AngelesLos Angeles114
9HNLDaniel K. InouyeHonolulu104
10PHXPhoenix Sky HarborPhoenix103
11IAHGeorge BushHouston102
12BOSBoston LoganBoston95
13SEASeattle–TacomaSeattle87
14PHLPhiladelphiaPhiladelphia85
15SFOSan FranciscoSan Francisco84
16SLCSalt Lake CitySalt Lake City79
17MDWChicago MidwayChicago75
18DCARonald Reagan WashingtonWashington65
19IADWashington DullesWashington57
20DALDallas Love FieldDallas56
21EWRNewark LibertyNewark54
22LASMcCarranLas Vegas54
23BWIBaltimore–WashingtonBaltimore53
24LGALaGuardiaNew York51
25STLSt. Louis LambertSt. Louis43

While Atlanta Airport, the second most connected hub, has more scheduled domestic capacity, O’Hare’s scheduling offered more connection possibilities for passengers. Both these powerhouse transport nodes show up very clearly on the network map above.

No Fly Zones

There is a grand total of five countries in the world that have no airport and, interestingly, they’re all in Europe. Vatican City and Monaco are simply too small to accommodate an airport.

The remaining three – Andorra, San Marino, and Liechtenstein – rely on neighboring countries and/or helicopter pads for their air travel needs.

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Misc

10 Travel Destinations for Post-Pandemic Life

Excited to get back to travelling the world? This infographic highlights the 10 most popular tourist destinations.

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10 Travel Destinations for Post-Pandemic Life

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization formally classified the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. The resulting travel bans decimated the tourism industry, and international air travel initially fell by as much as 98%.

Almost two years later, travel is finally back on the table, though there are many restrictions to consider. Regardless, a survey conducted in September 2021 found that, as things revert to normalcy, 82% of Americans are looking forward to international travel more than anything else.

To give inspiration for your next vacation (whenever that may be), this infographic lists the 10 most visited countries in 2019, as well as three of their top attractions according to Google Maps.

Bon Voyage

Here were the 10 most popular travel destinations in 2019, measured by their number of international arrivals.

CountryNumber of international arrivals in 2019 (millions)
🇫🇷 France*90.0
🇪🇸 Spain83.5
🇺🇸 U.S.79.3
🇨🇳 China65.7
🇮🇹 Italy64.5
🇹🇷 Turkey51.2
🇲🇽 Mexico45.0
🇹🇭 Thailand39.8
🇩🇪 Germany39.6
🇬🇧 United Kingdom39.4

*Estimate | Source: World Bank

France was the most popular travel destination by a significant margin, and it’s easy to see why. The country is home to many of the world’s most renowned sights, including the Arc de Triomphe and Louvre Museum.

The Arc de Triomphe was built in the early 1800s, and honors those who died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. In 1944, Allied soldiers marched through the monument after Paris was liberated from the Nazis.

The Louvre Museum, on the other hand, is often recognized by its giant glass pyramid. The museum houses over 480,000 works of art, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Art isn’t the only thing that France has to offer. The country has a reputation for culinary excellence, and is home to 632 Michelin-starred restaurants, the most out of any country. Japan comes in at second, with 413.

While You’re There…

After seeing the sights in Paris, you may want to consider a visit to Spain. The country is the southern neighbor of France and is known for its beautiful villages and beaches.

One of its most impressive sights is the Sagrada Familia, a massive 440,000 square feet church which began construction in 1882, and is still being worked on today (139 years in the making). The video below shows the structure’s striking evolution.

At a height of 172 meters, the Sagrada Familia is approximately 52 stories tall.

Another popular spot is Ibiza, an island off the coast of Spain that is famous for its robust nightlife scene. The island is frequently mentioned in pop culture—Netflix released an adventure/romance movie titled Ibiza in 2018, and the remix of Mike Posner’s song I Took a Pill in Ibiza has over 1.4 billion views on YouTube.

Beaches Galore

If you’re looking for something outside of Europe, consider Mexico or Thailand, which are the 7th and 8th most popular travel destinations. Both offer hot weather and an abundance of white sand beaches.

If you need even more convincing, check out these links:

Expect Turbulence

Under normal circumstances, hundreds of billions of dollars are spent each year by international tourists. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTCC), this spending accounted for an impressive 10.4% of global GDP in 2019.

Travel restrictions introduced in 2020 dealt a serious blow to the industry, reducing its share of global GDP to 5.5%, and wiping out an estimated 62 million jobs. While the WTCC believes these jobs could return by 2022, the emerging Omicron variant has already prompted many countries to tighten restrictions once again.

To avoid headaches in the future, make sure you fully understand the rules and restrictions of where you’re heading.

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Misc

Which Values Children Should Be Encouraged to Learn, By Country

Which qualities do people think are most important for children to learn? The answer differs from country to country.

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Qualities Children Should Learn

Many of the values we prioritize as adults were instilled in us during our childhood days.

They’re called our formative years for a reason—from when we’re born up until we’re about eight years old, our brains are easily molded and remain highly sensitive to external influences and environments. But depending on where you grew up, you may have been exposed to different values during your childhood compared to someone from another place.

These visualizations by Anders Sundell illustrate the most important values people think children should learn at home, across more than 80 different countries.

Methodology

Sundell used data from the World Values Survey, an international survey that interviews hundreds of thousands of participants from across the globe. Respondents were asked to pick up to five qualities they believe are the most desirable for children to have:

  • Good manners
  • Independence
  • Hard work
  • Feeling of responsibility
  • Imagination
  • Tolerance and respect for other people
  • Thrift, saving money
  • Determination and perseverance
  • Religious faith
  • Unselfishness
  • Obedience

Sundell took the survey data and calculated the proportion of people in each country that selected each quality. From there, he took the top qualities and created three separate plot graphs to show the contrast between them.

Let’s look at the importance that countries placed on different values, including (1) independence and obedience, (2) unselfishness and religious faith, and (3) hard work and imagination.

1. Independence vs Obedience

Nordic countries value independence greatly, and find obedience to be a less important quality to instill in children.

Independence_vs_Obedience

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Other available data also supports that adults in Nordic countries value independence. According to Eurostat, the most common age to leave home in Sweden is between 17 and 18—nearly a decade sooner than the average age across the EU (26 years old).

Denmark’s average age to leave home is also below the European average, at 21 years old.

On the other end of the spectrum, countries like Iraq and Egypt believe obedience is much more important for children to learn.

2. Unselfishness vs Religious Faith

Bangladesh, Egypt, and Jordan all place a strong emphasis on faith, and fall on the far right of this graph.

unselfishness_versus_faith

View the full-size infographic

Islam is a strong influence in all three of these countries. In Bangladesh and Jordan, it’s the official state religion. And while Egypt is a secular country, a majority of citizens identify as Muslim—about 90% of the population.

Interestingly, places like the U.S. and Hong Kong fall right in the between, placing relatively equal importance on religion and unselfishness.

3. Hard Work vs Imagination

Left-leaning Nordic countries like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland think imagination is more important for children to learn than hard work.

Hardwork_versus_imagination

View the full-size infographic

Interestingly, Japan also scored high for imagination, seeing it was a more important value to teach children than hard work. This is despite the fact that the country has an international reputation for being a hardworking country, where even taking an extended vacation can be frowned upon. Then again, Japan has a reputation for producing wildly creative works of art that are popular internationally (anime, for instance).

As expected, countries and cultures contain multitudes, and can often seem paradoxical and complex to those who try to codify them.

What qualities do you think are most important, and what countries surprised you with their placements?

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