New York tops the destination board for flights out of London

Departure sign IR Stone shutterstock_180866810-2

Photo: IR Stone | Shutterstock

New York is the most popular international destination for passengers flying out of London’s airports.  Combined traveller numbers to JFK and Newark airports were 4.2 million according to the latest data from the Civil Aviation Authority.  But running a close second to New York is somewhere much closer to home, the Irish capital Dublin, with 4 million people flying out of London.

The international destinations data for 2014 shows a mix of globetrotters and short-haulers, but it doesn’t make clear how many were from the UK or just routing through London as part of their onward journey.

Amsterdam and Dubai were also in the top five, both cities welcomed over 3 million London flyers. While European cities mostly dominate the list, Hong Kong and Los Angeles also take in significantly high numbers from London at 1.5m and 1.3m respectively.

City All passengers travelling from London
New York 4,207,478
Dublin 4,068,327
Amsterdam 3,611,494
Dubai 3,213,296
Madrid 2,582,799
Barcelona 2,534,636
Geneva 2,394,016
Rome 2,210,471
Paris 2,031,242
Copenhagen 1,901,898
Malaga 1,798,104
Frankfurt 1,739,429
Zurich 1,712,376
Hong Kong 1,563,714
Munich 1,527,020

The USA is the favourite destination country – 15.9 million London passengers took the long-haul flight across the Atlantic. Spain’s holiday appeal makes it London’s second country of choice, taking 12.6 million people many of them flying out of Gatwick to holiday destinations.

In total, 73 million people flew out of Heathrow airport, almost double the number from the UK’s second biggest airport, Gatwick, which had 38 million.

The most popular flights from Heathrow range greatly between long-haul to the likes of New York, Dubai and Los Angeles, and short-haul to neighbouring European countries.

City airport Passengers travelling from Heathrow
New York (JF Kennedy) 2,972,729
Dubai 2,437,889
Dublin 1,650,675
Hong Kong (Chek Lap Kok) 1,563,714
Frankfurt Main 1,506,705
Amsterdam 1,486,995
Los Angeles International 1,354,610
Madrid 1,274,707
Barcelona 1,268,729
Paris (Charles De Gaulle) 1,247,665

Gatwick’s most common destinations are a little closer to home, flying to Europe, with the exception of Dubai. The destination board is dominated by holiday traffic.

City airport Passengers travelling from Gatwick
Barcelona 1,268,729
Malaga 1,055,257
Dublin 990,236
Amsterdam 848,996
Geneva 816,778
Dubai 775,362
Alicante 768,373
Copenhagen 734,328
Tenerife (Surreina Sofia) 732,873
Madrid 718,235

The past twelve months has seen another rise in total passenger numbers with 146.3 million arriving and departing on the capital’s runways – an increase on the same period in 2014-15 of 4.7%.

A new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick will increase capacity further but amid the political turmoil caused by the Brexit vote a decision on where it should be build  has been pushed back until October at the earliest, according to the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

Source data: DestinationsTotal passenger numbers

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London cheaper option for expats in global cost of living rankings

Credit card payment-2Living in London as an expat has become a more attractive choice on the basis of the cost of living in 375 global cities.

London has moved down from 12th to be 17th most expensive city to live and work as an expatriate in the annual rankings by HR and consulting company Mercer.  But it is still the most expensive city in Europe with the exception of those in Switzerland – Zurich, Geneva and Bern are higher up the cost league.

Other UK cities have also become comparatively cheaper.  Aberdeen has move down to 85 from 82 last year and Birmingham is 96th in 2016 compared to 80th in 2015.  Mercer say that the strength of the pound against the dollar in the past 12 months has been a factor as dollars are used as the base currency for calculations.

The most expensive city in the world for an expat is Hong Kong, according to Mercer research. Last year’s most expensive city, Luanda, drops to second place.  Five of the top ten are Asian cities, three of them in China.

Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2016 – 10 most expensive
City Country Continent
1 Hong Kong China Asia
2 Luanda Angola Africa
3 Zurich Switzerland Europe
4 Singapore Singapore Asia
5 Tokyo Japan Asia
6 Kinshasa Dem Republic of Congo Africa
7 Shanghai China Asia
8 Geneva Switzerland Europe
9 N’Djamena Chad Africa
10 Beijing China Asia

In Europe, apart from the Swiss cities and London, the only cities in the top 50 globally are  Copenhagen, Paris and Dublin.

Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2016 – Europe’s most expensive
City Country
Zurich Switzerland
Geneva Switzerland
Bern Switzerland
London UK
Copenhagen Denmark
Paris France
Milan Italy
Vienna Austria
Rome Italy
Oslo Norway

The survey looks at the cost of 200 items in each city including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.  The cost of housing helped push Hong Kong to the top of the rankings, but London comes out as expensive for a number of everyday purchases.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 16.36.22

Source data

See also

London expensive? Not compared to being an expat in Luanda

How London compares for the cost of public transport

London may win for iPhone earning power over Poland but cost of living much higher

Financial sector’s post election confidence helps city pip NY to top ranking

city aerial 2London has notched up another win in the see saw contest with New York to be the world’s leading financial centre. The latest edition of the Global Financial Centres Index, a research project that reports twice a year, places the capital just ahead of its American rival.

But it’s a close contest, as it has been since the index, created by financial research organisation Long Finance, was first published in March 2007. London comes out on top as greater confidence returns following uncertainties created by the Scotland independence referendum and the general election.

The index is based on a survey questionnaire of 3,200 financial sector professionals plus data from the UN, World Bank and the World Economic Forum. It is scored out of 1,000 and London won by just 8 points.

The assessment is split into 5 categories: business environment, financial sector development, infrastructure, human capital, and reputational and general factors. London came top in each category after losing to New York in 3 of them last time.

After London and New York the top 5 is completed by Asian cities – Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo, with Seoul in 6th place. Zurich is the only other European financial centres in the top 10, which is completed by North American cities.

Global Finance Centres Index

Geneva, Frankfurt and Luxembourg make the top 20 but Paris only manages 37th place. Sydney ranks at 15 with Dubai a place below.

In building the index, assessments are only included from people from outside each centre to avoid any home preference. Respondents from North American and the Middle East are most positive about London, while those from Latin America, Asia/Pacific and Western Europe view it less favourably.

Analysis of the data split into industry sectors shows London comes top with respondents in investment management, banking, government and regulation, and professional services. It is only beaten by New York for those in the insurance sector.

The data also reveals that bigger companies favour New York, just, but those with fewer than 2000 employees rate London more highly.

The longer-term trends in the index show that the dominance of Western Europe and North America is being eroded as Asia/Pacific grows, particularly through the rise of China.

Stability has been key to the success of leading financial centres and the researchers point out that the strongest ones are successful, cosmopolitan cities in their own right.

See also

Economic clout helps London to another global cities crown

London flies flag for West as East leads global growth ranking

NY beats London in economic power

London may win for iPhone earning power over Poland but cost of living much higher

It takes 100 hours longer to earn enough money to buy an iPhone in Poland as it does in the UK.

This insight into earning power by researchers at the financial services company UBS helps to demonstrate why overseas workers find London an attractive city to find a job.

But their findings also show that while the earning potential may be better, London is an expensive city with prices much higher than they are in the place many Londoners once called home.

UBS took 68,000 pieces of data from 71 cities around world to put together an index which looks at costs and the spending power of people working there.

London is ranked as the 5th most expensive city after New York, Zurich, Geneva and Oslo and 6th most expensive if rents are excluded. When it comes to take home pay, the amount we earn after tax, London trails in 11th in the list.

And UBS came up with some interesting measures of spending power. Using a new iPhone as a benchmark they examined how long the average worker would take to earn the cash to buy one. In New York it takes 3 working days. In London it’s 41 hours, in Warsaw 141, but the longest labour was in Kiev.

Iphone earnings

Across the globe it is much quicker to eat a Big Mac than to earn the money to buy one. In London it takes 12 minutes and in Warsaw twice that. In Nairobi it’s nearly 3 hours.

Big Mac earnings

Many can happily avoid the indulgence of a new smartphone or a burger and the real cost of living is measured in essentials such as food and housing.

UBS looked at a shopping basket of 39 common food items including bread, milk, meat, fish and vegetables. Many arriving in London to work will have realised that it is much more expensive to feed the family, unless you have moved from New York or Zurich. The average global price for the basket of goods was $400. Prices were highest in Zurich and lowest in Kiev. London was 8th most expensive of the 71 cities


USB has published the Price and Earnings Index every three year since 1971.

See also

London expensive? Not compared to being an expat in Luanda

What National Insurance really tells us about London’s overseas workforce



London leads Europe but lags behind US as tech start up base, says survey

town hall and tower bridgeLondon emerges as Europe’s leading tech start-up hub but Silicon Roundabout is still well behind Silicon Valley, according to a survey by a business software company.

The Global Start Up Ecosystem Ranking looked at 5 measurements for a successful start-up hub – performance, funding, talent, market reach and the start-up experience. Compass, a company that sells tools for automated management reports and benchmarking carried out the survey following on from a similar study in 2012.

11,000 people in the start-up sector took part and Compass additionally conducted 200 interviews in 25 countries.

The rankings were dominated by the US with the top 4 places and 6 in the top 10. London ranked in 6th place, up one position from the last such ranking in 2012. Berlin is hot on its heels for the crown of leading European city jumping 6 places to 9th.


Global Start Up Econ-System Ranking 2015
Ranking Location Performance Funding Talent Market Reach Experience
1 Silicon Valley 1 1 4 1 1
2 New York 2 2 1 9 4
3 Los Angeles 4 4 2 10 5
4 Boston 3 3 7 12 7
5 Tel Aviv 6 5 13 3 6
6 London 5 10 3 7 13
7 Chicago 8 12 5 11 14
8 Seattle 12 11 12 4 3
9 Berlin 7 8 19 8 8
10 Singapore 11 9 9 20 9

The fatal flaw in the survey rankings and one that would inevitably knock London down the list is that China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are not included. Compass says that is was unable to get adequate survey participation or data. It would expect to see Beijing in the top 5.

The survey shows that London scored best for availability and cost of technical talent. It also did well in measurement of performance. The survey says that exit values on London start-ups have gone up 4-fold in the last 2 years.

The survey produced a few findings that may have particular relevance for London as a global capital. 27% of start-ups have investors from abroad, and 29% of people working in start-ups were foreigners to their chosen city.

There was a lack of gender equality in all locations. 18% of start-up have female founders compared to 10% in the survey done in 2012. Separate research, previously reported by Urbs, suggests that this in one area where London is doing better than Silicon Valley.

Source – Compass Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking

See also

London wins plaudits for support of tech sector growth.

Tech start ups more diverse than Silicon Valley but women struggle for funding

People good, infrastructure less so – what foreign business thinks of London


Economic clout helps London to another global cities crown

River Tower Br ShardLondon is the clear winner in a global cities ranking that scored 30 cities in 10 different categories. London won thanks to topping the categories that mark it out as a leading centre of the world economy. It had the highest score as the city with the most economic clout and the best gateway for connecting to other cities. And it was equal first with the South Korean capital, Seoul, in the technology category.

PwC, the multinational professional services firm, put the rankings together. This is the sixth time it has carried out the Cities of Opportunity study. It is the first time that London has come top and PwC said it has done so clearly after losing out to New York in the last rankings in 2012 by a tenth of a percentage point.

PwC global rankings

New York achieved second place without winning any of the 10 categories but by scoring consistently well across the range. Singapore climbed up from seventh place to finish third.   Of the top 10 cities, 9 have held on to a place despite some rises and falls, but Sydney is the only one to fight it’s way into the top flight, at the expense of Tokyo, which slipped to 13.

English is the native language in 6 of the top 10 cities. It is also one of the official languages in Singapore and Hong Kong, and widely spoken in Stockholm. Paris is the sole city in the top 10 to challenge the dominance of the English-speaking world.

Consistency was a key to success for the top 10 cities. London won 3 categories and came second in another 3. It’s lowest performances were for cost and sustainability.


How London scored
Category Position (out of 30)
Intellectual Capacity and Innovation 2
Technology Readiness 1 =
City Gateway 1
Transport and Infrastructure 6 =
Health, Safety and Security 6 =
Sustainability and Natural Environment 15
Demographics and Livability 2
Economic Clout 1
Ease of Doing Business 5
Cost 15

With the exception of Sydney all the cities in the top 10 of the overall rankings managed to be in the top 10 in at least half of the categories.

PwC used 59 data points to judge the 10 categories and additionally used a survey of 15,000 of its own employees around the world to answer questions about living, working and commuting in their city.   The data was sourced from multinational institutions such as the World Bank and IMF, national statistics offices like the ONS in the UK, and commercial data providers.

Source data

See also

London flies flag for West as East leads global growth ranking

London “most influential” global city

London ranked as top global city destination



London ranked as top global city destination


London has been ranked as the world’s top destination for international visitors with an estimated 18.82 million people expected to stay overnight in the city in 2015. London has topped the rankings carried out by Mastercard as part of its Global Cities Destination Index for 5 of the past 7 years.

The index looks at how 132 of the world’s most important cities are connected by air travel, him many international visitors they receive and the amount those visitors spend. Visitor numbers are based on data from governments and tourist boards and the role of some cities, like London, as a flight hub is factored in.

London remains slightly ahead of Bangkok, with global city rivals Paris and New York also in the top 10.

International visitors

The top feeder city for visitors to London is New York, accounting for nearly 1 million people. Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt and Stockholm, make up the top 5, but London has a very diversified source of visitors with 50% coming from 26 different cities. In comparison, 50% of Bangkok’s visitors come from just 13 cities.

London tops the list for spending by international visitors. Mastercard estimates that this will be a little over $20 billion in 2015, that’s 16% above its nearest rival in the spending league, New York.

And London also heads the index as the world’s leading flight hub. Mastercard looked at connectivity and the frequency of non-stop flights to international destinations scoring London ahead of Paris, Dubai, Frankfurt and Istanbul.

Source data

See also:

London “most influential” global city

London flies flag for West as East leads global growth ranking

Amid Heathrow-Gatwick battle smaller airports fuel passenger growth


Foreign property investment helps London to top of global ranking

towers and cranesLondon has come top in a global cities ranking that tracks the pace of change in the commercial property market and some underlying economic indicators.

The City Momentum Index is put together by international real estate and investment company Jones Lang Lasalle.  They used a weighted index to look at socio-economic factors like GDP and population, commercial real estate factors such as price, construction and investment, and what they call high value incubator factors like education, technology and the environment.

JLL examined 120 cities across the world.  Their top 20 includes 7 cities in China and 4 in the US, including London’s great global city rival, New York at 18th. Dublin was the only other European city to make the top 20.

The top 5 are:

  1. London, UK
  2. San Jose, USA
  3. Beijing, China, 
  4. Shenzhen, China
  5. Shanghai, China

JLL said that London achieved the top spot due to strong economic fundamentals and a high volume of commercial property investment from overseas.  Although not in the top 20, European cities including Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen and Stockholm perfomed well in education, innovation and technology.

JLL points out that the list does not indicate that the top 5 offer the best commercial property investment but shows a rapid rate of economic change and momentum in the city’s real estate market.

Source data

See also:

NY beats London in economic power

London flies flag for West as East leads global growth ranking

London flies flag for West as East leads global growth ranking

aerial river nightLondon is the only western city to feature in the top 30 places for economic and employment growth in a ranking of the 300 largest metropolitan areas in the world.

The rankings are carried out by the respected American think tank, the Brookings Institution for its annual Global Metro Monitor report. Brookings looks at the growth in GDP per capita (the sum of the market value of all goods and services produced divided by the population) in each city, plus the growth in jobs.

The results for 2013-14 show that three quarters of the fastest growing cities are in the developing areas of Asia-Pacific, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. The only city in Western Europe and North America is London, ranked in 26th place.

Position City Country Region
1 Macau China Developing Asia-Pacific
2 Izmir Turkey Eastern Europe/Central Asia
3 Bursa Turkey Eastern Europe/Central Asia
4 Dubai UAE Middle East/Africa
5 Kunming China Developing Asia-Pacific
26 London UK Western Europe

London went up 32 places from last last year with GDP per capita growth of 2.5% and employment growth of 3.6%. London’s traditional rivals in the global cities stakes fared poorly. New York was placed at 176 and Paris at 260.

Other UK cities performed well with Manchester at 60, Edinburgh at 71 and Bristol at 79 in the rankings.

Source data

See also:

London “most influential” global city

NY beats London in economic power

London “most influential” global city

city towersLondon is the most influential city in the world thanks to its pre-eminence as a global financial capital and its location, according to business publisher Forbes.

While the United Kingdom is described as a “second-rate power” the capital leads the list for global influence judged by 8 criteria.  Researchers ranked cities according to the amount of foreign direct investment they have attracted, the concentration of corporate headquarters, number of business niches they dominate,  ease of air travel to other global cities, strength of services like legal and accountancy, financial services, technology and media power, and racial diversity.

The top five cities were:

  1. London
  2. New York
  3. Paris
  4. Singapore
  5. Tokyo

Location plays an important role in London’s ranking. Forbes says that being outside the US and the eurozone keeps it away from, what it called, “unfriendly regulators”. It has the second best air connections in the world, beaten only by Dubai. And it has a time-zone advantage over American in doing business with Asia.

History and tradition play a part too. Forbes says that London is the birthplace of the cultural, legal and business practices that define capitalism.  As the home of the English language it boasts a powerful position in media and advertising.  London has also become Europe’s leading tech start up city

New York came second in the Forbes list though in separate rankings for economic power and as a smart city, both reported by Urbs, it outperformed London.  The top two were some way ahead of third place Paris in all criteria. Singapore was the leading Asian city outperforming the mega cities of China and Japan. Dubai is the only city in the Middle East to make the top 10, thanks, says Forbes, to its globalisation strategy and a population diversity that has made it the crossroads of the world.

The size of the cities was of less importance. Of the top 10 on the list only 3, New York, Tokyo and Beijing, are ranked in the top 10 of the world’s most populous cities.  The cities of the so-called BRIC nations are becoming more important and Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai are all in the top 20. Poor infrastructure means it will be some time before Brazil and India break into the top flight of these rankings, says Forbes.

Source date