News from OpenFlights, the site for flight logging, mapping, stats and sharing


State of the Data at 250,000 flights

Some time yesterday, OpenFlights passed the quarter million mark of user-entered flights.  Let’s see how the current statistics compare to what we had at 100,000

Top 10 Airlines

  Airline 100k rank World rank
1 Lufthansa 2 (+1) 6
2 United Airlines 1 (-1) 2
3 American Airlines 4 (+1) 1
4 Continental Airlines 3 (-1) 5
5 Delta Air Lines 5 3
6 British Airways 6 8
7 Air France 10 (+3) 4
8 Northwest Airlines 7 (-1) 9
9 US Airways 8 (-1) ?
10 Ryanair new ?

United and Lufthansa once again duking it out for the top spot, the Germans on top for the moment, and American has overtaken Continental.  Air France shot up three ranks, closer to its rightful place in the list, while Scandinavian was pushed off by upstart Ryanair, which is also highly likely to make it into the IATA top 10 for 2009 once they get around to releasing it.  But for now we’re comparing against 2008 and we have 8 of the world’s top 10 are represented, with only #7 Southwest (#20 on OF, down a notch) and new IATA #10 Emirates (#26 on OF) still missing the cut.

Top 10 Airports

  Airport 100k rank World rank
1 Frankfurt Main (FRA) 1 9
2 London-Heathrow (LHR) 2 2
3 Chicago Ohare Intl (ORD) 3 3
4 Munchen (MUC) 5 (+1) ?
5 Los Angeles Intl (LAX) 6 (+1) 7
6 Charles de Gaulle (CDG) new 6
7 Houston-George Bush Intcntl (IAH) 4 (-3) 16
8 Amsterdam-Schiphol (AMS) 7 (-1) 14
9 New York-John F Kennedy Intl (JFK) 9 13
10 Atlanta-Hartsfield (ATL) 8 (-2) 1

Frankfurt keeps the top spot and the ever-busy Germans push Munchen up a notch as well, even though it’s now fallen off the Airports Council Top 30 (September 2009).  The big news this time is the appearance of Air France homebase Charles de Gaulle, showing up at #6 — precisely the same as its world rank — and pushing San Francisco off the chart.  Alas, Asia remains underrepresented, with still no sign of world #4 Beijing-Capital or #5 Tokyo-Haneda.

Bonus: Top 5 flight numbers

Just as a lark, we also decided to peek into the database and see which flight numbers were the most popular, and I have to say the results came as a bit of a surprise.   At the head of the pack were OK520 and OK527 with 270 and 205 flights respectively: OK is Czech Airlines, not a Top 10 powerhouse on any list, and they’re flights from Cologne and Dusseldorf to Prague, nearly all credited to a single user — who has chosen to stay private, alas.   The next three slots were somewhat more predictable: all Lufthansa (airline #1) from Frankfurt (airport #1,) but while I had thought that a flight to Munich had to be up there, it turns out that LH1051 (167 flights) and LH1058 (115 flights) both go to Dresden, while LH4810 (77 flights) is that old bankers’ favorite, Frankfurt-London City.   It’s a little counterintuitive, but a popular city pair means many flights to spread the load, whereas on a sufficiently quirky route like DUS-PRG there isn’t that much choice and thus lots of hits for the same flight.

What next?

We’ve been promising features that would take advantage of all this data for a while now, but haven’t quite gotten around to it yet.  Top of the list are autocompletion based on flight number (punch in a number and we’ll guess the rest) and airline/airport route maps derived from user data, and while it may be a while longer until we launch either, it’s certainly time to start experimenting.

Next update at 500,000,


Facebook application changed, your action required to keep posting flights

Recent changes inside Facebook have broken the existing OpenFlights Facebook application‘s ability to  post recently added and/or today’s flights to your Facebook Wall.  To fix your copy, please go to this URL:

Right below “Step 1″, click on the link entitled “Grant permission to publish posts”, click on “Allow publishing” in the dialog that pops up, and then click one last time on “Update preferences”.  That’s it — and as a complimentary bonus, the flight map posted to your profile should now always be up to date.

Geek version: Effective today, Facebook has discontinued the old “template bundle” functionality, which used the offline_publish permission.  We’ve replaced it with stream publishing, but to work this requires the separate stream_publish permission instead.  In addition, we’re now calling fbml.refreshImgSrc after all profile changes to make sure the dynamically generated map is refreshed as well.

As always, the Facebook application code is available in the OpenFlights SVN, take a look if interested.  index.php is the core application, while updater.php is a standalone command line app that handles Wal updates.

Unbundled and streamlined,