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Then and now: visualizing COVID-19’s impact on air traffic

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We‘ve compiled statistics and charted the dramatic decline in air traffic caused by COVID-19, but what does that actually look like on the map? We’ve created some ‘before and after’ images showing the impact on air traffic in various places around the world.

Global air traffic

From 7 March at 15:00 UTC with 15,012 flights in the air to 7 April with just 5,275.

World Map MarchWorld Map April


European skies have quieted considerably. The difference between the March and April images below is a decrease of 2,400 flights.

Europe 7 MarchEurope 7 April

East Asia

We compare flights in East Asia below between 7 January and 7 April as flights in China and surrounding countries saw declines first in the third week in January. Traffic at the busiest airports in China is still down about 60% from normal levels.

East Asia 7 JanuaryEast Asia 7 April

North America

Flights in North America have declined considerably, but a substantial number remain, especially in the United States. The image from 18:00 UTC on 7 March shows 8,400 flights, while the 7 April displays just 2,950 flights.

North America 7 MarchNorth America 7 April

India and the Middle East hubs

India has halted nearly all passenger flights, allowing just evacuation and relief flights. The major Middle Eastern carriers are operating dramatically reduced schedules as the UAE has halted most passenger flights. These images were taken 7 March and 7 April at 04:00 UTC

Middle East and India MarchMiddle East and India April

South America

Comparing the images from 7 March and 7 April at 18:00 UTC, 80% fewer flights are visible.

South America 7 MarchSouth America 7 April

From Kuala Lumpur to Christchurch

Australia and New Zealand have both closed to international passenger flights. Meanwhile Malaysia and Singapore, among others, have implemented arrival restrictions which have had a limiting affect on the number of flights. Images from 6 March and 6 April at 10:00 UTC.

Oceana MarchOceana April

Global traffic will likely continue to fall throughout April as airlines further reduce their flying schedules, especially in places like the United States where airlines are beginning an additional round of cuts this week.

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