Shanghai has ousted London from the throne to become the world’s most connected city as the coronavirus shakes international travel.
London has seen a 67% drop in air travel, according to the body of the aviation industry IATA.
World’s Most Connected Cities
Shanghai has risen, and the four most connected cities in the world are now in China.
IATA says the epidemic has “delayed a century of progress” in inter-city communication.
“The major changes reflect the level at which land orders have been re-ordered in recent months,” said Sebastian Mikosz, spokesman for the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Major transportation hubs, including London, New York, and Tokyo, have been hit hard by the dramatic drop in airline flights.
“There are no winners, only a handful of players with a few injuries. In a short time we have slowed down the century’s progress in bringing people together and connecting markets,” he added.
Air travel inside China is back in full swing and during its Golden Week holidays 425 million people travel around the country, according to China’s tourism department.
China has also been slowly opening up tourist routes and negotiating non-partisan travel agreements with many countries including Japan and Singapore.
The four most connected cities in the world are now Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Chengdu.
Thailand And Hong Kong
Earlier this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a “global” program that would use QR codes to open up opportunities for international travel.
But the whole of Asia did not go so well. The Thai capital Bangkok and Hong Kong have both seen a huge 81% drop in connectivity.
IATA’s air connection index measures how well the country’s cities are connected to other cities around the world, most importantly for trade, tourism, investment and their economies.
The agency estimates that 46 million jobs supported by air transport are at risk.
Over the past two decades the number of cities directly connected to the air has more than doubled while travel costs have dropped dramatically.
“Prior to the Covid-19 epidemic, the growth of air connectivity was a global success,” added Mr Mikosz.