The spread of COVID-19 and response by the aviation industry has resulted in an unprecedented decline in global air traffic.Commercial air traffic dropped in the third week of January, but made a slight recovery during February into the first week in March. As COVID-19 spread around the world and airlines reacted by halting flying and governments put travel restrictions in place, commercial air traffic has shrunk 41% below 2019 levels in the last two weeks of March.

Shrinking air traffic

Total and Commercial traffic in 2020

Total flights in context

Total air traffic since 2016The above graph displays the total number of flights tracked by Flightradar24 per day since May 2016. The average number of total flights per day in March 2019 was 176,000. In March 2020 the average number of total flights per day is 145,000.


View updated daily flight tracking statistics


Below, we’ve charted the total number of flights from the same period overlaid with a 7-day moving average.

Moving Average Total Traffic since 2016Commercial flights drop off

Commercial fights 2019 vs 2020Commercial flights decreased 55% in the final week of March 2020 compared to 2019. We expect this trend to continue as airlines remove additional flights from their schedules.

What do the skies look like?

Global Air Traffic 29 February 1200UTC Global Air Traffic 29 March 1200UTC
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29 February 2020 | 1200 UTC

Ian Petchenik’s love of aviation began at an early age growing up next to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. As Flightradar24’s director of communications and co-host of the AvTalk podcast Ian now gets to share that passion for aviation with millions of Flightradar24 users and listeners around the world.

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