chapter  3
20 Pages

The Economic Geography of Air Transport

ByJohn T. Bowen, Jr

Every day, the world’s airlines operate more than 80,000 commercial flights, which together trace the economic geography of a world in motion. Some features of that geography are long-standing. Nearly 60 per cent of all flights in 2012 departed from a North American or European airport, continuing the domination of the regions in which civil aviation first emerged a century ago. The busiest metropolitan areas, ranked by total scheduled seats per week, remain the familiar triumvirate of London, New York, and Tokyo,1 Sassen’s (2001) celebrated ‘global cities’. And the world’s top airline (again ranked by capacity) was Delta Air Lines, perpetuating the stature of US carriers atop the rankings. In air transportation, as in other features of economic geography, there is considerable inertia.