An eye-opening graphical presentation by Michael Markieta, a transportation planner at global engineering and design firm Arup, visualizing the sheer volume of flight paths crossing the globe, and showing the human travel pattern. Markieta used lighter shades of blue to denote shorter and overlapping flights and darker shades for longer flights with little or no overlap. With more than 58,000 flight paths criss-crossing the globe, not surprisingly, bright hotspots appear in areas where many flight paths coincide with the world’s major cities.
Even without a visual map of the world, you can clearly make out all the major continents and countries, and observe one of the typical patterns of human settlement: living in coastal regions.
Displaying 58,000 flight paths becomes difficult when multiple paths overlap, particularly in dense areas such as central Europe and the eastern United States.
The busiest airports by continent include Sao Paulo, Beijing, Sydney, Frankfurt, Cairo and Atlanta.
The busiest European airport is Frankfurt International, which has 235 direct flight destinations. (Based on data from openflights.org)