World Mapper



World mapper

Aircraft flights
In 2000 civilian aircraft flew a total of 25 billion kilometres. If someone flew this distance they could circle the earth more than 630 000 times. If the total distance flown by all aircraft passengers was divided equally between everyone living in the world, we would each fly 317 kilometres a year. In fact some people fly thousands of kilometres a year, whilst others have never been in an aeroplane.

The people flying the most kilometres tend to be from island territories. On the other hand, people from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, also island territories, are amongst those flying the smallest number of kilometres per year.

Territory size shows the proportion of all kilometres flown around the world by aircraft that were registered there.

Aircraft departures

Over 21 million civilian aircraft departures occur every year. That is 40 departures every minute around the world. Departures are recorded by the territory to which the aircraft is registered, not the territory from which they physically take off. The difference between registered departure and physical take off is highlighted by Monaco, with the second most registered departures per person, but without an international airport inside its borders.

Two thirds of the worldwide aircraft departures are of aircraft registered in North America and Western Europe. Africa is particularly small on this map. The entire continent accounts for only 2.5% of all departures.

Territory size shows the distribution of aircraft take-offs, measured by the aircraft’s territory of registration.


Aircraft passengers

Of all the air passengers in the world, 40% fly on aeroplanes registered in the United States. These flights are both domestic and international. In the year 2000 there were 1.6 billion aircraft passengers. In these statistics, every time a person takes a flight, they are counted as an aircraft passenger. Some people are passengers many times in a year so far fewer than 1.6 billion individual people fly in a year.

Territory size shows the proportion of worldwide aircraft passengers flying on aircraft registered there.


by comparison

Rail Passengers

In 2003 2.2 trillion kilometres were travelled by train passengers. Of this total a fifth were in India, a fifth were in China, and a tenth were in Japan.

The world average for the number of kilometres travelled by people per year by train is 358 kilometres each. The unevenness of the real distribution of kilometres travelled is highlighted by the fact that 64 territories (out of 200) do not have a rail system. At the other extreme, an average of 1876 kilometres are travelled by train each year by every person who lives in Japan.

Territory size shows the proportion of all train passenger kilometres travelled in the world that occur there.


Aircraft freight

In 2000 403 trillion tonne-kilometres of freight were flown around the world. A tonne-kilometre is when one tonne (1000 kilograms) travels one kilometre. Together North American and Western European registered aircraft carry over half of the world total. Central Africa-registered aircraft carry 0.1% of all air freight in the world.

High counts of tonne-kilometres could be due to many heavy loads being transported short distances, lighter freight being moved a long distance, a combination of both, and/or many average weight loads being transported average distances.

Territory size shows the number of tonne-kilometres of freight transported by aircraft registered there.

© Copyright SASI Group (University of Sheffield) and
Mark Newman (University of Michigan)