Global commercial air traffic tracked by Flightradar24 is now 10% lower in March 2020 compared to 2019. This week has seen a sharp decrease in commercial flights as airlines begin parking their fleets and operating minimum services or none at all.

Commercial air traffic down 10% in March 2020

As COVID-19-related schedule reductions take hold, the drop in traffic has been substantial. Through 19 March, we have tracked 1,851,099 commercial flights (out of 3,187,508 total flights). For the same 15 days in March 2019, commercial flights tracked were 2,061,016 (out of 3,275,902 total).

Commercial traffic 2019 vs 2020 through March 19

Commercial traffic includes scheduled passenger or cargo flights operated by an airline. Excluded here are non-scheduled private flights, general aviation, gliders, and balloons.

The major decline in commercial traffic began during the third week of January and accelerated in to February before making a modest recovery toward the end of the month into the first week of March as China restarted some flights. In the second week of March, governments around the world began implementing restrictions on travel that have led to a further—and continuing—decrease in the number of flights operated globally. This trend has increased sharply this week.

Below is the 7-day moving average of all flights tracked by Flightradar24 from May 2016 to 19 March 2020.

7-day moving average of total flights tracked

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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