London has slumped to eighth in the list of the world’s most connected cities, according to new data from Iata.
The world’s most connected city a year ago has lost its crown to Shanghai following a 67% decline in connectivity.
The English capital has also fallen behind Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chicago, Shenzhen and Los Angeles.
Comparing Iata’s September 2019 and September 2020 data, Shanghai moves up from second to first and Beijing from fourth to second, while Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shenzhen are all new entrants into the top 10.
Iata said cities with large numbers of domestic connections, such as those in China, now dominate, "showing the extent to which international connectivity has been shut down".
New York, meanwhile, has experienced a 66% fall in connectivity, Tokyo 65%, Bangkok and Hong Kong 81%, and Seoul 69%, ensuring all five drop out of the top 10.
“The dramatic shift in the connectivity rankings demonstrates the scale at which the world’s connectivity has been re-ordered over the last months," said Iata senior vice-president for member external relations, Sebastian Mikosz.
"The important point is that rankings did not shift because of any improvement in connectivity. That declined overall in all markets. The rankings shifted because the scale of the decline was greater for some cities than others. There are no winners, just some players that suffered fewer injuries.
"In a short period of time we have undone a century of progress in bringing people together and connecting markets. The message we must take from this study is the urgent need to rebuild the global air transport network."
At its 76th annual general meeting, Iata said systematic testing of travellers was the most important "immediate solution" to rebuilding connectivity.
"The technology exists," said Mikosz. "The guidelines for implementation have been developed. Now we need to implement, before the damage to the global air transport network becomes irreparable."
Iata’s air connectivity index measures how well connected a country’s cities are to other cities around the world, combining the number of seats flown to the destinations served from a country’s major airports and the economic importance of those destinations.