CANSO and Aireon announce data-driven partnership to understand COVID-19 impact on aviation industry


Amsterdam, Netherlands — 8 April 2020: Today, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) and Aireon announced an initiative to produce data-driven insights and analysis to better understand how COVID-19 is impacting a broad range of stakeholders within the aviation industry, with a particular emphasis on how the pandemic is impacting the air traffic management (ATM) and the flow of essential goods and services.

This partnership comes at a time when the aviation industry faces a crisis unlike any throughout its history. Starting in March 2020 the aviation industry saw the erosion of traffic from a daily average of approximately 100,000 flights to just 32,000 flights on 4 April 2020. Daily flight hours have fallen 78 percent from typical global averages captured in January 2020.

“Since the pandemic first started, we’ve seen a dynamic air traffic picture: travel restrictions, changing air cargo patterns, the complete closure of international airports and the grounding of airlines,” said Simon Hocquard, Director General of CANSO. “At the same time, however, there are still many aircraft in the sky, and CANSO remains dedicated to supporting the air traffic control organisations that enable these to continue to fly safely, including the transport of critical services.”

The COVID-19 crisis has shown the important role the ATM industry plays in ensuring safe air transport. While global flight totals have seen significant drops in daily averages, the data also shows that a significant number of global traffic remains. On 7 April 2020, for example, approximately 22,000 aircraft flew nearly 71,000 flight hours.

“From the start, good data has been fundamental to tracking the spread of COVID-19, and it is clear that jurisdictions making decisions based on strong data have been the best prepared,” said Don Thoma, CEO of Aireon. “Air traffic management is all about safety, performance and predictability through collaboration, and Aireon is proud to partner with CANSO to deliver data-driven insights in the hopes our efforts will provide answers in the face of growing questions.”

In the coming days and weeks, CANSO, its Members and Aireon will work to produce further assets that provide expanded and extraordinary access to global ATM data—statistics and information that have never before been available to CANSO Members and the public at this level of fidelity, using Aireon data. These insights will be shared to keep Members and the public up-to-date on the latest traffic pictures, regional comparisons and trends.