Baltic Sea Region Territorial Monitoring System

Accessibility potential by air

Indicator definition

This indicator is defined as the number of people that can be reached by plane, where the attractiveness of destinations is defined by their population size, subject to the flight travel time to reach them.

Indicator importance

This indicator measures the market potential and locational advantage of a city or region.


Regions with major airport hubs and their surroundings clearly appear as those central regions with highest air accessibilities in Europe. In most cases, these are the capital city regions, plus selected other agglomerations. The immediate fall in accessibility towards surrounding and towards the other regions is remarkable in all countries, so that the big-gest visible divide is between agglomerations/urban areas and rural areas. Consequently, the variations within all countries are rather high, with regions clearly above EU27 average and also regions clearly below. The disparities between the countries are in any case smaller than those within the countries.

Due to their good flight connections, capital regions in the BSR (Copenhagen, Stockholm, Warsaw, also Riga and Vilnius) compete with other regions in Europe in terms of accessi-bility potential; in most cases, also their surrounding regions benefit from these high ac-cessibility levels; however, some distance away from these hubs the fall in accessibility is then even higher as in other parts of Europe, due to missing flight connections and lower population densities. For air, the northernmost regions of Norway, Sweden and Finland are not so peripheral, compared to the other modes, due to their good flight connections to the capital cities; indeed, accessibility levels of some northernmost regions are in the same range, or even better, as regions in Spain or Portugal.

Since flight networks for most global and European flight hubs did not change substantially from 2001 to 2011, significant improvements to air accessibility can only be found in some East European countries, namely Bulgaria and Romania, the south of Poland, and the Bal-tic States.

Between 2001 and 2006, disparities for all types of regions in Europe decreased for po-tential accessibility by air. While for urban regions disparities were already lowest, they dropped even more, but also for intermediate and rural regions, both close to a city and remotely, disparities decreased significantly.