Dimensions of distance: international flight connections, historical determinism, and economic relations in Africa

Nonkenge, Babalwa and Luiz, John M (2017) Dimensions of distance: international flight connections, historical determinism, and economic relations in Africa. Critical perspectives on international business, 14 (1). pp. 27-48. ISSN 1742-2043

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Purpose: The paper examines how distance manifests in terms of air passenger transport links between countries and focuses on the 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It asks to what extent do existing flight connections reflect economic relations between countries and if so, do they represent past, current or future relations? It asks whether the impact of distance is similar for all countries and at different stages of development.

Design/methodology/approach: Passenger flight connection data was extracted to generate map images and flight frequencies in order to observe inter-relationships between different locations and to observe emerging patterns. The paper uses ESRIs ArcGIS software to visualise all these data into maps.

Findings: SSA is poorly connected both intra- and inter-continentally. Cultural and historical ties dominate and elements of historical determinism appear within flight connections in SSA reflecting the biases associated with colonialism. Larger economies in SSA are less dependent on these past ties and their flight connections reveal a greater level of diversity and interests. SSA has generally been slow to develop flight routings to the new emerging markets.

Originality/value: Its contribution lies not only in examining these flight patterns for an under-researched region but aides in future work on SSA and its integration into the global economy and international business networks. It argues that whilst distance matters; how it matters varies.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Business and Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic history and conditions
Related URLs:
Depositing User: John Luiz
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2017 10:12
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 13:05
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/70223

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