Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 26 November 2020

10 striking visualisations show how the world's busy airspaces have gone quiet

Europe, North America, Japan, and even New Zealand skies look starkly different now than they did a month ago

The skies on two Friday evenings in Europe - February 28 and March 27. FlightRadar24
The skies on two Friday evenings in Europe - February 28 and March 27. FlightRadar24

As airlines across the world ground flights and international travel is restricted, airspaces have cleared. That's especially true for some of the busiest routes in the world, places where flights are normally zooming overhead non-stop.

Flight tracking service FlightRadar24 are tracking fewer flights as the days go by. A graph posted today shows an almost vertical dip in the amount of commercial flights in the air.

On Saturday, March 28, they reported tracked 69,510 flights – 20,000 less than the day before. A normal day in late March last year saw them tracking around 180,000 flights.

We already looked into the quietening of UAE skies (which you will find here) after a two-week ban on commercial flights departing from and arriving into the UAE came into force last Wednesday.

But the same has happened elsewhere across the world.

Here's a striking look at the how the world's skies have changed in recent days:

1. General Europe air traffic

This comparison of Europe (slide to see difference) shows the number of commercial flights tracked on February 28, compared to March 27

2. Low-cost carriers in Europe

Whereas this visualisation (click to play) shows Europe's low-cost carriers – easyJet, Ryanair, Norwegian, Wizz Air — on March 28, compared to one month ago. Shockingly, the March 28 image shows less than ten flights in the air.

3. South Africa air traffic

This one from South Africa shows the changes over the same time period, from February 28 to March 27.

4. North Atlantic air traffic

This visualisation shows flight routes over the North Atlantic, comparing March 2019 with March 2020.

5. Empty skies over New Zealand

Meanwhile in New Zealand
Meanwhile in New Zealand

This picture shows one lone aircraft leaving New Zealand airspace, as the rest of the country is devoid of flying aircraft.

How the busiest airspaces in the world look right now...

6. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the US

The airspace over Atlanta on Sunday, March 29. Courtesy FlightRadar24.
The airspace over Atlanta on Sunday, March 29. Courtesy FlightRadar24.

7. Beijing Capital International Airport

The airspace over Beijing on Sunday, March 29. Courtesy FlightRadar24.
The airspace over Beijing on Sunday, March 29. Courtesy FlightRadar24.

8. Dubai International Airport

The airspace over the UAE on Sunday, March 29. Courtesy FlightRadar24.
The airspace over the UAE on Sunday, March 29. Courtesy FlightRadar24.

9. Los Angeles International Airport

The airspace over Los Angeles on Sunday, March 29. Courtesy FlightRadar24.
The airspace over Los Angeles on Sunday, March 29. Courtesy FlightRadar24.

10 Tokyo's Haneda Airport

The airspace over Japan on Sunday, March 29. Courtesy FlightRadar24.
The airspace over Japan on Sunday, March 29. Courtesy FlightRadar24.

Meanwhile, over in Hungary, a pilot took to the skies yesterday in a Magnus Fusion 212 to show their appreciation for healthcare professionals, creating a thumb's up and a cross in the sky.

  A Magnus Fusion 212 pilot took to the sky over Hungary today to show their appreciation for healthcare professionals.
A Magnus Fusion 212 pilot took to the sky over Hungary today to show appreciation for healthcare professionals.

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Read more:

The day the UAE skies fell silent: striking images show vanishing regional flights

UAE to ground all passenger flights in and out of the country

15,000 tests without a single positive: inside Abu Dhabi airport during the coronavirus crisis

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Updated: March 29, 2020 06:27 PM

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