UTC 17:39

Airspace Viral Videos Underline Extent of Covid Crisis

As the Covid-19 crisis continues to unfold, the impact on air traffic remains profound. And four new videos produced by RadarBox succinctly illustrate just how quiet the skies have become.

The four videos depict the amount of air traffic in three important locations, both before and after the pandemic virus spread worldwide. And a fourth video also shows how British Airways flights have vastly reduced in number during recent months.

The three locations in question are the United States, Europe, and Brazil. The videos show the profound impact of the coronavirus, with business traffic having been massively reduced, and commercial flights having been almost completely eradicated in large parts of the world.

On viewing the videos for the United States and Europe, the visual difference before and post-Covid is striking. The number of flights across the two most active regions in the world has dried up almost completely, as you can see in the YouTube video for the United States:

The same applies in Europe:

British Airways is one of the world's most renowned carriers, but this has proved meaningless during the lockdown necessitated by the Covid-19 crisis. With reports suggesting that the carrier will axe 12,000 jobs, and ask its remaining workers to sign new contracts, it is clear that BA has been hugely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

And this is also evident in the video illustrating its recent flights, with BA aircraft almost eliminated from the airwaves in the post-pandemic environment:

Air traffic in Latin America has fallen by 91% due to the Covid-19 outbreak, and this is strongly reflected in the fourth video, which deals with the most populated country in the region – Brazil. Flights in Brazil have almost ground to a complete halt during the ongoing coronavirus situation, as can be seen here:

Indeed, the rapid increase of Covid-19 cases in Brazil has prompted huge concerns about the Latin American region as a whole. Described by NBC as a “virtually uncontrolled surge”, the rise of the coronavirus in Brazil has prompted fears about the survival of its major airlines, in a country hugely reliant on tourism.

Coupled with the weakening of the Brazilian currency, this has meant that Brazil’s largest airline Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes made a loss of 2.3 billion reais ($419 million) in the first quarter of 2020 alone. And the carrier has also outlined the stark reality that it only has enough cash to last until the end of the year.

The spectacular reduction in air traffic forced on airlines by measures intended to combat Covid-19 continues to make news headlines. And the videos produced by RadarBox have received a huge amount of media coverage this week.

Among the outlets to cover the issues was 60 Minutes, which drew attention to the videos in a recent tweet.
Stuff.co.nz also reported on the issue recently.

With many of the flights that would usually be expected having been grounded, air passenger numbers in the US have fallen by over 95%. This is having a profound impact on the airline industry, and the long-term consequences remain open to speculation.

However, with several countries now preparing to ease lockdown measures, there may be a small chink of light at the end of the tunnel, not merely for the airline industry, but for society in general.

You can catch up with all of the latest data on aircraft data, and everything that you need to know about the airline industry, on our statistics page.

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