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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Air travel compared to Net, with Paris the most vital hub

Cities most vital to international air connections
May 23, 2005

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

May 23, 2005, 5:00 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- The city of light is also the city of flight, says a new study listing Paris as the most vital connecting point for international air travel.

Anchorage, Alaska, places a surprising second on the list, followed by London, Singapore and New York.

The connections among 3,883 communities with airports around the world were analyzed by a team of researchers led by Luis Amaral of Northwestern University. The results are being published in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The air transportation network is like the Internet, the study concluded, with networks and hubs funneling traffic around the world.

The findings are important in understanding the flow of travelers and in studying the potential movement of new diseases, Amaral said.

In addition, the analysis could help regulators determine airports where more competition is needed, and study of the network could even shed light on the functions of biological networks within the human body, according to Amaral, an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

A traveler can get from any of the cities to any other with an average of 4.4 flights, and more than half the communities are connected with four flights or fewer, the researchers found.

The most difficult air route? Getting from Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands to Wasu, Papua-New Guinea, requires 15 separate flights.

The researchers found that the busiest locations are not always the most important for the network.

Anchorage, for example, has nonstop flights to 39 other cities, far fewer than the 242 cities connected to London nonstop.

But Anchorage edges London in a vital measure called centrality -- a rating of the shortest paths connecting any two cities that involve a transfer at a particular city.

It's centrality that boosts the importance of cities such as Anchorage and Port Moresby, Papua-New Guinea, which serve as connection hubs between many other airports and international connections, the researchers explained.

Alaska, for example, has many airports, but most connect only to other Alaskan airports. Only a few connect to the "lower 48" states. There are political constraints on flights directly between most of Alaska and Canada, even to cities close to the border.

Thus, getting from most of Alaska to somewhere outside the state often involves going through Anchorage, boosting that city's centrality rating.

Similarly, many Pacific islands are connected by air and Port Moresby is the hub that links lots of them to the outside, placing that community seventh on the worldwide list, behind Los Angeles but ahead of such busy places as Frankfurt, Tokyo and Moscow.

Paris and London benefit from their nation's colonial pasts, with many flights from Africa and Asia going to those cities, where travelers transfer to other planes to go on.

Indeed, they are the top cities in the world for nonstop flights to other places. Paris leads with flights to 250 other cities, followed by London, 242; Frankfurt, 237; Amsterdam, 192 and Moscow, 186.

The two busiest airports in the United States are in Chicago and Atlanta. The study ranked Chicago 13th on the worldwide centrality list and 6th for nonstop flights, with connections to 184 cities. Atlanta ranked 29th for centrality and 8th in connections, with flights to 172 cities.

The study analyzed 531,574 flights operated by 800 airlines worldwide from Nov. 1 to Nov. 7, 2000. While the data are four years old, the researchers say the current worldwide airport network is virtually identical to the one at that time.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
 

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The top 25:
1. Paris
2. Anchorage
3. London
4. Singapore
5. New York
6. Los Angeles
7. Port Moresby
8. Frankfurt
9. Tokyo
10. Moscow
11. Seattle
12. Hong Kong
13. Chicago
14. Toronto
15. Buenos Aires
16. Sao Paulo
17. Amsterdam
18. Melbourne
19. Johannesburg
20. Manila
21. Seoul
22. Sydney
23. Bangkok
24. Honolulu
25. Miami
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
it would be quite interesting to know how many passengers Anchorage handle each year...very surprising to see it at second before london...
 

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There is no way in burning hell Anchorage is number two in the WORLD. MAYBE number two in Alaska, but not the world.

I'm pretty sure London Heathrow is the busiest International Airport in the world. One flight takes off from the ground every thirty seconds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
yeah but my understanding is that this study is not about the 'busiest airport'


but anchorage's ranking is still surprising though...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
reading the study in more details, it appears that anchorage ranks #2 because it hosts flight for many US flights inside the US and toward the world...i was not aware that it was such a hub...

if i had to make a stop over from san francisco, detroit, or st-louis to go to paris certainly i wouldn't chose anchorage as my stop over city ! it is way too north.
 

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IMO, Mexico City should replace Port Moresby, I mean who flies there??
 

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joaquin said:
IMO, Mexico City should replace Port Moresby, I mean who flies there??
I read a report a few days ago that there are plans to introduce direct flights from Hong Kong to Mexico City next year, with a stopover probably in Los Angeles.
 

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I meant Port Moresby, millions fly to Mexico City a year, only a couple hundred thousand to Port Moresby.
 

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In my opinion, the basis on which this study is based on is flawed. I think pure traffic (busyness) is the best indicator of how important an airport is to the intl grid. Who cares if Alaska is centraly located to everything.

I know little about Asian airports, but in the west, they are definitly Chicago, NY Kennedy, LAX, Heathrow, Frankfurt, and Paris. These are not listed in any "order."
 

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kony said:
it would be quite interesting to know how many passengers Anchorage handle each year...very surprising to see it at second before london...
That’s because your forgot of the Cargo Operations ;)

almost all the cargo flights between Asia and USA and sometimes between Asia and Europe fly thru Anchorage.
Example : JAL Cargo flies from Tokyo to Frankfurt with a stop for refuelling to Anchorage .

As for Port Moresby it’s a mystery :?
 

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andrewSQ347 said:
That’s because your forgot of the Cargo Operations ;)

almost all the cargo flights between Asia and USA and sometimes between Asia and Europe fly thru Anchorage.
Example : JAL Cargo flies from Tokyo to Frankfurt with a stop for refuelling to Anchorage .

As for Port Moresby it’s a mystery :?
That's right, Anchorage is a critical stop for many air freight routes. Not so much for passengers though.
 

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hkskyline said:
Cathay Pacific stops in Anchorage to refuel on its Hong Kong - Toronto route. I've seen a Korean Air passenger jet there as well.
I am not doubting you, but am suprised that the flight from Toronto to HK needs to stop for refueling. Afterall, Quantas can fly from NYC to Sydney without refueling.
 

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czm3 said:
I am not doubting you, but am suprised that the flight from Toronto to HK needs to stop for refueling. Afterall, Quantas can fly from NYC to Sydney without refueling.
In the winter, there is no stopover heading eastbound due to favourable winds. Otherwise, a technical stop is needed to cover the distance of over 13000 km. Perhaps it's because of the weight load.

Qantas flies the New York - Sydney route with a stopover in Los Angeles.
 
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