Wherever you are in the world, if you look up towards the sky, there’s a good chance you’ll see an aeroplane flying. Maybe even more than one.
We can’t say exactly how many aeroplanes are in the air around the world at any one time, since the statistical data available only relates to airliners and doesn’t include private or military aircraft, or cargo aeroplanes transporting goods.
You might have heard about the portal FlightAware and the app Flightradar24, which track aeroplane routes in most of the world, recording departure and landing times. According to FlightAware, every year around 15 million aeroplanes take off carrying around 1.2 billion passengers.
But each day of the year is different. Think of peak-season periods such as the summer months or Christmas holidays, in which flight demand increases steeply and, as a consequence, so do the number of flights on offer from airlines. On the other hand, there are calmer days in airports and air traffic control towers. Let’s look at an example.
According to Flightradar24, on 25th July this year, 230,409 aeroplane routes were in operation. An average of 160 take-offs per minute, just to give you an idea. Considering that the average aeroplane capacity is around 150 passengers, if we multiply the 230,409 flights by the average number of passengers, we could say that more than 34 million people flew on that day. That’s the equivalent to the population of Saudi Arabia.
These calculations were done “on the fly”, as the saying goes, but did you have any idea that the numbers were so high?!