World’s Busiest Air Traffic Airspace Location – Facts and Videos!

Watch 30,000 Flights in 24 Hours in TWO Minutes

So where is the busiest air traffic location in the entire world, and how busy is that location?

Some of you may immediately guess that the U.S. has the busiest air traffic, but… not.

Europe is indeed the busiest air traffic location on earth!

Here are the facts:

Why European Air Traffic Control is Busiest

At an average there are 30,000 flights in European airspace in any given 24-hour period, 365 days a year!

That amounts to a total of almost 11 million flights a year flying above Europe.

Total air travel distance during the summer season covered in one day: 46 million km, or 28.583 million miles. That’s the equivalent of flying 198 times around the earth every day!

United Kindom’s (UK) contribution to European air traffic

5,675 flights are going to and from UK airports every day.

London is natural connecting point for flights in and out of Europe, as well as inter-connecting European and UK flights.

Thus London is one important location contributing to why Europe is the busiest air traffic location in the world.

The busiest UK airport, in turn, is London Heathrow (LHR), with 1,000 flights taking off and landing every day.

Gatwick Airport (LGW), London’s second largest airport, takes the prize as the busiest one-runway airport on earth.

Watch 30,000 flights over 24 hours in TWO short minutes here!

Made from actual flight radar data in a 24 hour period. Credit: NATS (National Air Traffic Services), the UK’s main air navigation service provider.

Here’s a spectacular video radar animation of Europe’s air traffic during the course of 24 hours.

This pattern repeats itself once every 24 hours every day, year-round.

The animation shows you how busy the air traffic is in segments of every 24 hours.

The air traffic segments are divided into the following operating hours:

  • 00:00 midnight – 09:00 am
  • 09:00 am – 12:00 noon
  • 10:00 am – 01:00 pm (13:00)
  • 01:00 pm (13:00) – 03:00 pm (15:00)
  • 03:00 pm (15:00) – 06:00 pm (18:00)
  • 06:)) pm (18:00) to 00:00 midnight

The five London Airports

The five London airports are:

  1. Heathrow Airport (LHR)
  2. Gatwick Airport (LGW)
  3. Stansted Airport (STN)
  4. London City Airport (LCY)
  5. Luton Airport (LTN)

UK Air Traffic

The UK serves 2.5 million flights in its airspace on an annual basis. 1.2 million of these flights take off or arrive at one of these five London airports.

That is 3,000 flights a day using six runways.

99.8 percent of these flights experienced no ATC delays. Is that the most efficient Air Traffic Control (ATC) system in the world?

Watch the air traffic in and out of the five London airports in 24 hours here!

Here’s another great video showing the air traffic out of each of the five individual London airports in a 24 hour period.

Another video made from actual flight radar data. Credit: NATS.

Air traffic over the UK over 24 hours

This video shows all the air traffic over the UK, Norway (upper right) and south to France (lower right) over a 24 hour period. Data was taken from the air traffic activity on May 25, 2018.

Made from actual flight radar data over the UK, and Norway to France. Credit: NATS.

So what do you think about the professional air traffic controllers’ work keeping us safe in flights at all times?

Pilots are only a part of a big safety system when you fly. Aviation is an operation that works like a fine-tuned symphony to keep all of us safe.

Please send your comments to me here.

Featured photo: ©  Captain Jetson

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