Watch: Flight radar recordings show unprecedented drop in global air traffic during COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many industries to the brink of extinction, none more so than the aviation sector.

Even after weeks of headlines about airlines carrying out massive fleet groundings and slashing routes and capacity, the extent of the reduction in air travel is most obvious when you look at activity on flight tracking websites such as FlightRadar24.com.

Watch: Flight radar recordings show unprecedented drop in global air traffic during COVID-19 pandemic
Photo credit: FlightRadar24.com

In the last week of March this year, air travel is down a massive 55 percent on the same week last year.

Newshub compared the number of flights visible on FlightRadar24.com this week with the same time in 2019. The changes are obvious and dramatic.

Europe then and now:

 

Watch: Flight radar recordings show unprecedented drop in global air traffic during COVID-19 pandemic
Photo credit: FlightRadar24.com

Asia was the first region to begin cancelling flights after the outbreak of coronavirus and while some of the region's services have resumed, there's still a long way to go before the industry reaches the heights of just 12 months ago.

Asia then and now:

Watch: Flight radar recordings show unprecedented drop in global air traffic during COVID-19 pandemic
Photo credit: FlightRadar24.com

The skies above New Zealand have never been anywhere near as busy as those of the northern hemisphere, but the changes are obvious even when comparing our own airspace.

The Tasman Sea then and now:

Watch: Flight radar recordings show unprecedented drop in global air traffic during COVID-19 pandemic
Photo credit: FlightRadar24.com

Cam Wallace of Air New Zealand said the number of people who flew the airline's domestic network on Saturday was around 1.4 percent of its pre-coronavirus daily average.

The drop on travel demand has seen some of the world's largest airlines almost ground their fleet entirely. Singapore Airlines is currently operating just nine of its nearly 150 aircraft.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz