Global Connectivity Ranking

Published October 25, 2016

Just how connected are our cities? How do we measure such connections? How do these connections change over time?

To answer these questions, my research team at KPMG collaborated with Rome2rio to produce the Global Connectivity Ranking. We ranked all 1,212 cities on the planet which operate international airports.

We counted how many cities each city connects to outside of its country’s borders via a direct flight. Direct international flights are a reflection of the importance of the relationship between two locations. This measurement provides insights beyond mere passenger counts per airport; it is a proxy for real business activity and changes in consumer confidence using data about global transport routes.




Comparing connections as of January 2016 with data from April 2014 provided insights into the momentum of change; it shows whether a city is rising or falling in global importance.

The market for global connectivity is growing strongly, only a minority of cities (201) experienced falling connectivity while the vast majority (724) increased their global connections. The fall in global connectivity can largely be explained by regional conflicts which diminish the demand for travel to these cities. The most obvious example is Kiev’s loss of 23 international connections in just two years. Second tier cities across the world, especially in China, are driving demand for connectivity into business centres and popular holiday locations. Big scale events like the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow can strengthen international connectivity. Glasgow now connects with 76 international cities up from 55 just two years ago. This theory can be put to test following the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

The strength of the Global Connectivity Ranking is its ability to quickly identify cities on the move. Politicians and business operators should access the Global Connectivity Ranking to identify which cities and regions are on the rise.

  • London is the world’s most connected city with a Global Connectivity value of 351.
  • The second most connected city in the English-speaking world is Manchester with 162 international connections.
  • The most globally connected cities in Asia are Hong Kong (147 cities) Seoul (141), Bangkok (131) and Singapore (129).
  • Istanbul, ranked fifth, is the most globally connected city in the Muslim world with 239 connections.
  • Germany and Italy have the most connected cities in Europe. Germany has four cities in the top 20 and Italy has three.
Written by
Bernard Salt is a KPMG Partner based in Melbourne, Australia, and an adjunct professor at Curtin University Business School.
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About the ranking

The Rome2rio Global Connectivity Ranking reflects the number of international cities that a city is connected to through direct flights. It measures connections from city to city – not airport to airport. For example, the connection count for London reflects how many cities outside the UK that can be reached from any of London’s 6 international airports. Rankings were computed using Rome2rio’s global transit data from April 2014 and January 2016.