This Stunning Visualization of Air Traffic Over Europe Will Mesmerize You

Anyone who’s ever been to a really busy airport can guess how complex it must be to guide all those planes safely across the sky. But that’s just one airport; can you imagine an overview of all the flights that happen in one day?


NATS Holdings, the main air navigation service provider in the UK, has visualized air traffic over Europe on a typical summer day, and the resulting video is a beauty to behold.

The video was created from real flight data, using two sources: UK radar data from June 21 and European flight plan information from July 28.

NATS’ senior press officer Paul Beauchamp shares some interesting statistics. On a typical July day, there are around 30,000 flights across European airspace. The total distance flown by these aircraft is 25 million nautical miles — long enough to make 104 trips to the Moon. Finally, the video above is 1440 times faster than real time.