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Number of flights above the UK hits an all-time high today

Britain’s crowded skies: Number of flights above the UK hits an all-time high today with more than six flights a minute set to jet through our airspace

  • Number of flights operating in UK airspace is set to reach an all-time high today
  • Air traffic control provider Nats expects to break previous record of 8,854 flights
  • Spike due to different factors such as the bank holiday and Monaco Grand Prix

The number of flights operating in UK airspace is set to reach an all-time high today.

Air traffic control provider Nats expects to handle more than six flights per minute –  breaking the previous daily record of 8,854 set on May 25 2018.

The spike is due to a combination of factors, such as the bank holiday weekend, school half-term, the Monaco Grand Prix and Cannes Film Festival all falling on the same weekend.

This animation shows is what the flight radar looked like over the South East between 5am and 7am this morning 

The UK’s most congested airspace is over south-east England, with four of the country’s five busiest airports serving London. This animation shows the UK’s skies at around 6am today

Air traffic control (ATC) provider Nats expects to handle more than six flights per minute – breaking the previous daily record of 8,854 set on May 25 2018. This flight radar map shows the packed UK skies at 9am this morning

It may not be long before the record is broken again, as May 31 will see a surge in chartered flights and private jets flying from the UK to Madrid as Liverpool and Tottenham fans travel to the Champions League final.

The UK’s most congested airspace is over south-east England, with four of the country’s five busiest airports serving London.

Last summer saw a spate of air traffic delays throughout Europe, partly due to limited airspace capacity combined with ATC staff shortages and industrial disputes.  

Figures provided by Nats show it handled a quarter of the continent’s air traffic in 2018 but contributed to just 2.6% of delays attributed to air navigation service providers.

This graphic shows the skies over London at 9am this morning as planes fly in and out of Britain’s major airports

The video shows flights over Britain on the last record-breaking day in UK skies in May 2018 

Nats’ head of service performance Wendy Howard-Allen said: ‘The demand for air travel is increasing all the time.

‘We’ve been planning for this busy summer period for a number of months – preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

‘Forecasting how many flights we will have to handle from our centres in Swanwick and Prestwick is one of the first tasks.

‘With many events coinciding at the end of May and in early June, it’s important to realise the impact this will have on air traffic.’  

Today’s record is due to the half-term, bank holiday and a number of international events. Pictured: A file photo of Gatwick Airport during strikes in December 2007

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