Analysis of the Structure and Dynamics of European Flight Networks


We analyze structure and dynamics of flight networks of 50 airlines active in the European airspace in 2017. Our analysis shows that the concentration of the degree of nodes of different flight networks of airlines is markedly heterogeneous among airlines reflecting heterogeneity of the airline business models.

We obtain an unsupervised classification of airlines by performing a hierarchical clustering that uses a correlation coefficient computed between the average occurrence profiles of 4-motifs of airline networks as similarity measure. The hierarchical tree is highly informative with respect to properties of the different airlines (for example, the number of main hubs, airline participation to intercontinental flights, regional coverage, nature of commercial, cargo, leisure or rental airline).

The 4-motif patterns are therefore distinctive of each airline and reflect information about the main determinants of different airlines. This information is different from what can be found looking at the overlap of directed links.

M. Milazzo, F. Musciotto, S. Miccichè. R. Mantegna, Analysis of the Structure and Dynamics of European Flight Networks, Entropy 24 (2) (2022)