Last week saw an all-time record for daily flights, according to data released by FlightRadar24, which tracks global air traffic in real time.
The Swedish internet-based service that shows aircraft tracking information on a map took to social media on Friday (July 7) to announce what it called the “busiest day for commercial aviation that we’ve ever tracked.”
That record-setting day, the company says, was on Thursday, July 6, during which it tracked 134,386 commercial flights.
The day after (Friday) was also “shaping up to be another busy day,” the company said. “More than 20,000 flights are in the air right now.”
This number, which marks a new record ever since the website began tracking flights in 2006, doesn’t include flights that aren’t displayed on the platform, such as military flights, private flights, and cargo operations.
This unreported volume of flights is believed to reach upwards of 85,000 per day globally.
Demand is continuing, IATA says
One wonders what the demand for flights would have been without the prolonged impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But according to new figures released by The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the aviation sector is very close to reaching a full recovery.
The growth in air travel demand is continuing, IATA reported last week, releasing its May 2023 traffic figures.
Total traffic in May (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose 39.1 per cent compared to May of last year (which, in some parts of the world, was a period still marred by travel restrictions).
Globally, traffic is now at 96.1 per cent of May 2019 levels. As well, domestic traffic for May rose 36.4 per cent compared to the year-ago period, IATA said.
Total May 2023 domestic traffic was 5.3 per cent above the May 2019 level.
The total industry load factor rose to 81.8 per cent, led by North American carriers at 86.3 per cent.
“We saw more good news in May. Planes were full, with the average load factors reaching 81.8 per cent,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, in a statement.
“Domestic markets reported growth on pre-pandemic levels. And, heading into the busy northern summer travel season, international demand reached 90.8 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.”