CANSO and Aireon partnership finds global air traffic has recovered 51 percent since lowest point during COVID-19 pandemic


Amsterdam, Netherlands/Mclean, Virginia, 28 July 2020 – The Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) announced a considerable gain towards the recovery of the aviation industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic: a 51 per cent recovery of global aircraft movements since the lowest traffic point, which occurred on 12 April 2020. Since then, fourteen consecutive weeks have shown growth in unique aircraft movements, according to Aireon data.

“The industry has been hit with immense challenges in 2020, and while we still have far to go to regain normal traffic numbers, it’s encouraging to see trends that suggest we are on course for a rebound,” says Simon Hocquard, Director General of CANSO. “These numbers are a testament not only to the resiliency of the aviation industry, but to the efforts of air traffic controllers, air navigation service providers, airports and airlines who have provided an essential service throughout this period of uncertainty and change.”

The initial recovery comes after over six consecutive weeks of a remarkably steep decline in flight movements, including the weeks of 15 March and 22 March 2020, which saw reductions of 124,000 and 207,000, respectively. The week of 12 April 2020 saw global flight movements at their lowest point to date, with a total decline of over 535,000 movements. However, over the past fourteen weeks, CANSO reports an increase of approximately 272,000 flight movements, a 51 per cent increase. Global average daily flight numbers increased by 5,800 flights in the past two weeks, bringing air traffic volumes to 60 per cent of 2019 volumes for the first time since the widespread traffic restrictions began.

On 9 April 2020, CANSO announced a partnership with Aireon, a global provider of space-based ADS-B data and air traffic management technology, to produce data-driven insights and analysis to better understand COVID-19’s impact within aviation, including air traffic management (ATM).

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been clear that jurisdictions making decisions based on strong data have been the best prepared,” explains Aireon CEO, Don Thoma. “For the aviation industry, data on air traffic has been crucial in understanding how the pandemic impacts a variety of critical aviation stakeholders, both in terms of understanding the trajectory of traffic recovery and how the ATM industry can continue to provide support for our eventual recovery.”

As traffic continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, CANSO and Aireon will provide expanded and extraordinary access to high-fidelity global ATM data. Access to this comprehensive and high-fidelity information will provide vital insight both now, and in the future, to enable the industry to handle future traffic growth safely, efficiently and sustainably.