Mapping Airways: World’s Flight Paths and Airports
There are up to 8,755 commercial flights in the air at any given time of day. These flights transport thousands of people (and millions of dollars worth of goods) around the world.
But where are these people and goods headed? This map from Adam Symington uses historical data from OpenFlights to visualize the world’s flight paths.
The graphic shows a comprehensive data set encompassing 67,663 different routes that connect 10,000 different airports across the globe.
A Note On the Data
The map uses an OpenFlights database provided by the third-party source that hasn’t been updated since June 2014.
Because of this, the data used for the graphic is of historical value only. However, this detailed map sparked our curiosity and got us wondering—what are some of the busiest aviation hubs around the world right now?
We did some digging, and here’s what we found.
Busiest Airports by Passengers
There are several ways to gauge an airport’s popularity. One way is to measure total passenger traffic throughout the year.
According to Airports Council International (ACI), eight of the top 10 busiest airports for passenger traffic in 2021 were in America. Here’s a look at the top 10 list, as of April 11, 2022:
|Rank||Airport||Country||Passenger Traffic (2021)|
|1||Atlanta GA (ATL)||🇺🇸 US||75,704,760|
|2||Dallas/Fort Worth TX (DFW)||🇺🇸 US||62,465,756|
|3||Denver CO (DEN)||🇺🇸 US||58,828,552|
|4||Chicago IL (ORD)||🇺🇸 US||54,020,399|
|5||Los Angeles CA (LAX)||🇺🇸 US||48,007,284|
|6||Charlotte NC (CLT)||🇺🇸 US||43,302,230|
|7||Orlando FL (MCO)||🇺🇸 US||40,351,068|
|8||Guangzhou (CAN)||🇨🇳 China||40,259,401|
|9||Chengdu (CTU)||🇨🇳 China||40,117,496|
|10||Las Vegas NV (LAS)||🇺🇸 US||39,754,366|
In 2021, the airport with the most passenger traffic was Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. It accommodated more than 75 million passengers last year—a 76.4% increase compared to 2020 figures.
Hartsfield-Jackson is well-known for being one of the busiest airports in the world. One reason for this is its convenient location—according to the airport’s official website, Atlanta is within a two-hour flight from 80% of the U.S. population.
Dallas/Forth Worth (DFW) came in second place, seeing 62.5 million passengers throughout 2021. DFW was one of the only airports to boost its service offerings throughout the pandemic, and is also the main hub for American Airlines, the world’s largest airline by fleet size.
Busiest Airports by Cargo
While the U.S. dominates the ranking when it comes to passenger traffic, the list is much more diverse when looking at air cargo volumes. Here’s a look at the ranking, based on loaded and unloaded freight and mail (including transit freight):
|Rank||Airport||Country||Cargo Traffic (Metric Tonnes, 2021)|
|1||Hong Kong SAR (HKG)||🇭🇰 Hong Kong||5,025,495|
|2||Memphis TN (MEM)||🇺🇸 US||4,480,465|
|3||Shanghai (PVG)||🇨🇳 China||3,982,616|
|4||Anchorage AK (ANC)||🇺🇸 US||3,555,160|
|5||Incheon (ICN)||🇰🇷 South Korea||3,329,292|
|6||Louisville KY (SDF)||🇺🇸 US||3,052,269|
|7||Taipei (TPE)||🇹🇼 Taiwan||2,812,065|
|8||Los Angeles CA (LAX)||🇺🇸 US||2,691,830|
|9||Tokyo (NRT)||🇯🇵 Japan||2,644,074|
|10||Doha (DOH)||🇶🇦 Qatar||2,620,095|
Hong Kong (HKG) takes the top spot since the airport processed more than 5.0 million metric tonnes of freight and mail throughout 2021.
Hong Kong has been known as one of the busiest air cargo hubs for over a decade and is able to maintain this reputation because of its strategic location, impressive infrastructure, efficient customs, and business-friendly trade regulations.
The COVID-19 Impact on Aviation
The global pandemic hit the aviation industry hard. At its lowest point, international travel was down 98% from normal levels.
While the aviation industry is starting to recover from its COVID-induced slump, things still haven’t fully bounced back yet, especially in places like Shanghai, where lockdowns are still being mandated.
But experts remain hopeful for the future. According to ACI World’s General Director Luis Felipe de Oliveira, last year’s recovery was just the beginning.
“With many countries taking steps towards the return of a certain normality, lifting almost all the health measures and travel restrictions as supported by science, we welcome the continuation of air travel demand’s recovery in 2022.”
-Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World’s Director General
This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.
Mapped: How Much Does it Take to be the Top 1% in Each U.S. State?
An annual income anywhere between $360,000-$950,000 can grant entry into the top 1%—depending on where you live in America.
How Much Does it Take to be the Top 1% in Each U.S. State?
There’s an old saying: everyone thinks that they’re middle-class.
But how many people think, or know, that they really belong to the top 1% in the country?
Data from personal finance advisory services company, SmartAsset, reveals the annual income threshold at which a household can be considered part of the top 1% in their state.
Some states demand a much higher yearly earnings from their residents to be a part of the rarefied league, but which ones are they, and how much does one need to earn to make it to the very top echelon of income?
Ranking U.S. States By Income to Be in the Top 1%
At the top of the list, a household in Connecticut needs to earn nearly $953,000 annually to be part of the one-percenters. This is the highest minimum threshold across the country.
In the same region, Massachusetts requires a minimum annual earnings of $903,401 from its top 1% residents.
Here’s the list of all 50 U.S. states along with the annual income needed to be in the 1%.
|Rank||State||Top 1% Income|
|Top 1% Tax Rate
(% of annual income)
California ($844,266), New Jersey ($817,346), and Washington ($804,853) round out the top five states with the highest minimum thresholds to make it to their exclusive rich club.
On the other end of the spectrum, the top one-percenters in West Virginia make a minimum of $367,582 a year, the lowest of all the states, and about one-third of the threshold in Connecticut. And just down southwest of the Mountain State, Mississippi’s one-percenters need to make at least $381,919 a year to qualify for the 1%.
A quick glance at the map above also reveals some regional insights.
The Northeast and West Coast, with their large urban and economic hubs, have higher income entry requirements for the top 1% than states in the American South.
This also correlates to the median income by state, a measure showing Massachusetts households make nearly $90,000 a year, compared to Mississippians who take home $49,000 annually.
How Much Do the Top 1% Pay in Taxes?
Meanwhile, if one does make it to the top 1% in states like Connecticut and Massachusetts, expect to pay more in taxes than other states, according to SmartAsset’s analysis.
The one-percenters in the top five states pay, on average, between 26–28% of their income in tax, compared to those in the bottom five who pay between 21–23%.
And this pattern exists through the dataset, with higher top 1% income thresholds correlating with higher average tax rates for the wealthy.
|State Ranks||Median Tax Rate|
These higher tax rates point to attempts to reign in the increasing wealth disparity in the nation where the top 1% hold more than one-third of the country’s wealth, up from 27% in 1989.
Business3 weeks ago
Visualizing the Number of Costco Stores, by Country
Markets1 week ago
Charted: Market Volatility at its Lowest Point Since 2020
Culture3 weeks ago
Ranked: Which Countries Drink the Most Beer?
Wealth1 week ago
Mapped: The Migration of the World’s Millionaires in 2023
Maps3 weeks ago
Mapped: The Deadliest Earthquakes of the 21st Century
Energy1 week ago
Charted: The World’s Biggest Oil Producers
Energy3 weeks ago
What Electricity Sources Power the World?
Technology6 days ago
Which Companies Own the Most Satellites?