Thursday, November 8th, 2012
The Brookings Institution recently released a very interesting study looking at international air travel in the top 100 metros. They did this not only by looking at flights and such – the traditional way a lot of cities think about their access to international markets – but in terms of origin and destination traffic. That is, the people flying to or from a given metro from a foreign country, even if it was on a flight that connected in another city. Connecting (or as they put it, “gateway”) traffic, was also examined.
Unsurprisingly, New York City is overwhelmingly dominant, with 31.7 million passengers. Miami, with its status as a huge North American hub for Latin America, was #2. Here’s the top ten for total O&D passengers:
|1||New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA||31,740,007|
|2||Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL||15,019,583|
|3||Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA||14,959,390|
|4||San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA||8,623,258|
|9||Las Vegas-Paradise, NV||4,555,564|
This is interesting, but the list is somewhat expected as a total passengers metric is correlated with population. Another measure that might be interesting as well is international passengers per capita. This gives a sense of which metros are really globally connected from a flight interchange point of view, relative to their size. Who really punches above their weight? Since Brookings didn’t post this, I’ll make it my contribution. First a map of the metros Brookings included in their study:
International air passengers (O&D) per capita (2011). Source: Brookings Institution Analysis of BTS data. Image via Telestrian
The top 25 list is below. Here we see, again perhaps unsurprisingly, that major international tourist destinations like Honolulu, Orlando, and Las Vegas do well. Miami retains its #2 rank. New York falls to #6. In general, however, America’s largest tier one cities, the ones that we generally perceive as more globally connected, still score fairly high.
|2||Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL||2.65|
|4||Las Vegas-Paradise, NV||2.31|
|5||San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA||1.96|
|6||New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA||1.67|
|8||Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA||1.16|
|14||Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX||0.67|
|15||Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA||0.62|
|16||Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC||0.59|
|17||Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI||0.54|
|19||Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL||0.45|
|20||San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA||0.43|
|22||Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||0.42|
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Aaron M. Renn is an opinion-leading urban analyst, consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help America’s cities thrive and find sustainable success in the 21st century.