Thursday, March 5, 2009

World Airline Map

IMPORTANT NOTE:  This image has a Wikipedia license.  That means you can use it or abuse it in any way you want.  You do not need my permission.  For corporate customers, that applies to you too.  However, some corporate customers have wanted specific licensing, and for a small fee I am happy to oblige.

Oct 31, 2012

Here, at long last, is the world airline map. Click for big, for enormous, go here.
Things I learned from doing this map:
  • Every country in the world, no matter how small or poor, has at least one airline
  • Some of these airlines, particularly in Africa, seem to have only one or two planes, often 2nd or 3rd hand 737s.
  • Any country with a plane big enough has a flight to New York and either their former colonial master or London.
  • If they have a 2nd flight to the US, it is usually to Washington, sometimes LA.
  • There are more airlines in Europe than anywhere else on earth.
  • Each European country has a national flag carrier, sometimes a second large airline and two to five budget airlines.
  • The big airlines fly to every 1st, 2nd and 3rd tier city in Europe, the budget airlines fly to the same, plus many smaller centers, also to holiday destinations.
  • The most popular European holiday destinations are the Canaries, followed by Spain, Portugal and the Caribbean.
  • North Americans holiday in Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean.
  • Asians don’t seem to have a lot of specialized holiday destinations, probably because its either warm all the time, or people don’t have enough disposable income.
  • The few obvious Asian holiday destinations seem to be The Philippines, Okinawa, Thailand, Guam and Bali.
  • The density of air traffic in Europe far outstrips the US or Japan.
  • Highest density of flight to population is probably Australia.
  • Every Muslim country has a direct flight to Jeddah, and many to Riyadh.
  • Arab airlines are huge. Not just from the Gulf, but North Africa, Jordan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
  • Some small countries stand out due to their long-haul business. The Netherlands, Dubai, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Belgium, Singapore and Korea, for example.
  • Some other small countries have built a good long haul business based on being holiday destinations, Fiji, The Seychelles, Mauritius, Tahiti and The Maldives.
  • Countries with a surprising volume of air traffic given economic or political problems: Ethiopia, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Central Asia, Russia, Mali, Togo, Senegal, Ghana, Ecuador, Angola, Bangladesh, Madagascar.
  • The most underserved countries for their populations: Iraq, DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Burma, Nepal, Peru.
  • Of these, Iraq is close to a black hole. You can only fly to Baghdad from Amman, Tehran, and Kuwait.
  • You can fly to almost any city in Turkey from almost any city in Germany.
  • By far the densest long-haul corridor is the North Atlantic, traffic there dwarfs Europe>>Far East or Far East>> North America.
  • 80% of the International traffic to and from Central and South America is going to the US, primarily Miami, New York, Dallas, Houston and LA.
  • South African Airlines dominates the African airspace, South Africa is also the only African country to have discount airlines.
  • Surprisingly big hubs (at least to me): Santiago, Moscow, Kuwait, Houston, Bogotá, San Juan PR, Salt Lake City, Honolulu, Bali, Guangzhou, Cairo, Tashkent, Almay, Istanbul.
Edit Aug 29, 2012: the picture was broken, now fixed.


Anonymous said...

Hello Squidhammer, I was just taking a look at your beautiful rendition of flight patterns. I'm a designer in Japan doing research for a music cd I'm working on. I was wondering if you would be into us proposing your artwork for the cover art design. We could credit you and everything. The musician is not signed to a label so she's really poor and may not be able to pay you. Let me know @ I can send you a screen capture of what I'm proposing. All the best, B

Anna said...

Hey, I love this flight path map. I'm an artist from Australia, I work a lot with maps, and I was wondering if I might be able to use it as a background element for a new work I'm making which compares flight patterns to the migratory patterns of birds.
Please let me know, thankyou!
Anna (

cgrave said...

greetings, I'm hoping to use a modified version of this image for my travel blog ( and can credit your site for it. Would that be okay with you? thanks a lot! -corey (cbgravelle[at]hotmail[dot]com)

León J. Gorodzinsky said...

I'm an architect student currently working on my thesis. My subject is airports. The thesis is comprised of 4 chapters: the first one is about the historical background of aviation in general that helped shape what we know today as an airport; the second one is about examples and analogies - important, great, or otherwise special airports around the world; the third chapter deals with rules, norms, and parameters that define how airports must be designed and built; the last chapter is my proposal of a design for an airport in Riviera Maya.
I'd love to use your artwork as the cover page for each chapter. If allowed, I'd credit you accordingly.
Please let me know at

Carmen V M said...

Hey, I am a designer working for an educational/ travel company. The design team here loves your artwork of the flight patterns and it is a very relevant concept for our field. We would like to use it internally potentially as wall decoration. It would be great to get in touch with you if possible. Much appreciated.

imjohnh said...


What projection did you use as the base map? I'd like to overlay it on a simplified vector world map I've rasterized in photoshop, but I can't tell if it's mercator or peter or some other projection just by looking at it. (although I enjoy just looking at it.


John O'Sullivan said...

Hi imjohn. Sorry to be slow in replying. The underlying image is from Google Maps. I think they use Mercator.

MerkMakers said...

Hi John, I'd like to use this image for the upcoming jubilee of a Condensed Mild Factory. They've been pioneering all over the world since 1913, so the connections visualised in your map really fit the spirit of the factory and the people who've been running it.

I would like to ask you whether you have a vector version available. We're more than willing to pay you a license fee if you can let me know what that would be.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Kind regards, Werner Rinia
The Netherlands.
You can reach me at:

MerkMakers said...

Mild Factory should've been MILK off course :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi- I think your map is AMAZING! and I'm looking at printing it and putting it up on the wall like a painting. I know you have several sizes available but you wouldn't by any chance have a version of it that is 300dpi as opposed to web resolutions? and a larger size?
Sorry - you must be solicited a LOT but you made something beautiful and everyone wants it :)
I dont know how else to reach out to you, so my email is