This incredible video data visualization (below) of Air Traffic in Europe was created from real flight data by the UK air traffic provider NATS.
It shows the air traffic which flies on a typical summer day and highlights the intensity of the operation in Europe – an operation which runs 24x7x365.
Paul Beauchamp, Senior Press Officer for NATS takes up the story….
With Heathrow as the busiest international airport in Europe, and Gatwick as the busiest single runway airport in the world, we play a key role in ensuring air traffic under our control in European airspace is as safe and efficient as it can be.
European airspace is some of the busiest and most complex anywhere in the world.
Every day thousands of air traffic controllers guide millions of passengers safely to their destinations.
Yet to most people, the choreography going on above them is entirely unnoticed – it quite literally goes over their heads.
Some might say that is how it should be. “Why do I need to know about air traffic control as long as it gets me where I need to go?” might be the argument.
But, that ignores one very important point. Airspace might be the invisible infrastructure, but it is every bit as important as the road, rail and utility networks we all rely on everyday. It is the lifeblood of our island economy, connecting the UK to the rest of the world.
Getting it right matters and we all have a stake in it.
That’s why we created this data visualization showing a typical summer’s day of air traffic from last year. It’s an amalgamation of two data sources – UK radar data from 21 June and European flight plan information from 28 July – and it clearly highlights the structure of airspace across the continent.
A few highlights include the North Atlantic tracks that connect Europe with North America, the airways that run up the spine of the UK, the holding stacks at London’s capacity stretched airports and the military maneuvers off Anglesey in Wales.
We hope you enjoy it and that is acts as a small reminder of the incredible work air traffic controllers, working with pilots and ground crew, do every single day.
– On a typical July day there are around 30,000 flights across European airspace
– Approximately a quarter fly within UK controlled airspace
– The total distance flown by these aircraft is 25 million nautical miles
– That’s 998 times around the Earth
– Or 104 trips to the Moon
– On 21 June 2013, 5,675 aircraft departed or arrived from UK airports, of which;
– 2,295 departed from or arrived at Gatwick (894) or Heathrow (1,401)
– 1,532 were over-flights
– The video is 1440 x faster than real time