NATS runs air traffic control in the United Kingdom, and aside from getting planes headed in the correct direction, they do an incredible job visualizing their work. There’s are plenty of statistics out and available in regards to massively reduced flight capacity, but visuals often speak louder than words, and when you can see them moving, it’s even better.
NATS has released two incredible visualizations comparing air traffic from this time in 2019, a record time in aviation, to present day. When statistics such as 91% reduction of route network are thrown out at you, this is exactly what that looks like.
It’s serious, it’s shocking and it’s hard to know when it will be any different.
In 2019, Good Friday was the busiest day for flights over the Easter period. This is how it compared to Good Friday this year, when traffic is down 91% pic.twitter.com/UsnsBWVsOP
— NATS (@NATS) April 14, 2020
Perhaps most poignant in the video is the heat map, with the left side lit up like a Christmas tree, and the right side just a mere flicker. Airlines are in absolutely desperate hopes of getting that flicker back, with some airlines losing up to $100 million a day at present. Analysts say it may take up to three years for a full recovery of the sector.
For those looking for ways to pass their stay at home induced days, NATS has a series of other fascinating visualizations including all air traffic in a 24 hour rolling period for London, the UK, Europe, Asia and more.
Obviously, many of the videos were made prior to the closure of borders around the world and most do not reflect current outlooks, but understanding the flow of traffic can be incredibly calming. Once you realize just how measured and metered everything is, it’s harder to be afraid of flight.