web Musings of The Global Traveller

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Networks, hubs and global flight paths trivia

Thanks to a blog post by John MacIlree on the global air transport network (more specifically this research report by Guimera, Mossa, Turtschi and Amaral) I now have some more travel trivia.

There are approx 4,000 places with airports (multiple airports in a city count as one) served by major airlines. I've flown to or from just a few % of these.

In the week of schedule data studied (back in 2000), there were approx 27,000 nonstop flight routes. I've flown widely but only just over 1% of these.

The average number of flights needed between any two places is 4.4. This seems about right. When I travel to the other side of the world I generally need 2 or 3 flights to get there, using most direct routing. I'm starting from a global hub and mostly ending up at a global or regional hub.

The most number of flights to get between two places using the most direct route is 15 - between Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands and Wasu in Papua New Guinea. My record (using the shortest possible route, not necessarily the one actually flown) is a paltry 4, three times. If en route stopovers are ignored my record becomes 5, twice. For me each of these cases were departing from a global hub.

Its interesting to see the distinction between well connected airports and central airports. Read the report to see why and examples.

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