With the continuous growth in the global travel industry, the airline growth index is also seeing an exponential rise. The flows of visitors and their spending from feeder cities to destination cities are in essence a form of service trade.
In the world travel trade industry, unlike trade in goods, the buyers (visitors) physically move from where they live to where the sellers live, the destination cities. Thus, in cross-border air travel, the connection between demand (buyers) and supply (sellers) is mediated by the logistics of air connectivity. Very often when a new airport is opened or an old one upgraded and when new flight connections are inaugurated; the volume of air travel increases correspondingly. So expanding or shrinking air connectivity will have very material impacts on the growth and decline of destination cities, and can be construed as a key leading indicator.
According to a report published by MasterCard, the “air hub index” is designed to measure the breadth of a destination city’s connectivity by air with the rest of world, as well as the strength of each of the connections. The index then assigns a value to each destination city on the basis of the number of international flight connections that it has (weighed differently between inter-region versus intra-region flights) and the frequencies of these flights. It is obvious that there is a lot of overlap between the ranking in destination cities by international visitors and by air hub scores; but there are also significant differences suggesting a dynamic and changing future.
Of the global top 10 destination cities, only seven are in the top 10 by the air hub index scores. Indeed, the world’s second ranked destination city, Bangkok, is ranked 11th in the air hub index, whereas Moscow which ranks 48th globally as a destination city is ranked tenth in the air hub index.
The air hub index offers yet another perspective on change when the growth rates in index scores are compared between the destination cities. Some of them, like Bangkok, Dubai, Singapore, Istanbul, and Hong Kong, are already among the top ranked destination cities, but others like Moscow, Shanghai, and Abu Dhabi, are not yet there, but they could be on their way as they are actively growing their flight connectivity as suggested by the rapid increase in their air hub scores.
One of the founders of Bookiraj.com and mobile App Roomera. He understands the modern world of online reservation systems and the importance of social networks in tourism. A massive enthusiast when it comes to anything that has to do with the beauty of travel.