So long staycations! UK Air Traffic Controllers set for busiest day of Summer as Brits head abroad

27 July 2018

Air Traffic Controllers to manage over 8,800 flights across UK airspace today. NATS launches #SkyByNumbers to raise awareness of the ‘roads in the sky’.

UK air traffic controllers are today set for the busiest day of summer, as hundreds of thousands of Brits take to the skies to head off on their summer holidays.

NATS, the UK air traffic control service, is expecting to handle a massive 8,841 flights during the next 24 hours. To see what this looks like, view the video below:

The surge in flights isn’t just down to Brits looking for sun, sea, and sand, as flights from Heathrow to business and tourist hubs Dublin, New York, and Frankfurt, take the three top spots for the busiest routes.

Projected top seven routes on summer’s busiest day:  

  1. Heathrow to Dublin
  2. Heathrow to New York 
  3. Heathrow to Frankfurt
  4. Gatwick to Barcelona
  5. Gatwick to Malaga
  6. Gatwick to Majorca
  7. Gatwick to Faro

Of the 8,841 flights expected to depart and arrive in the UK today, more than 15% will be going through Heathrow (approx. 1,390 flights), while Gatwick (approx. 940 flights) and Stansted (approx. 670 flights) will be the second and third busiest airports respectively. Northern hub Manchester will handle around 700 flights, while Birmingham is predicted to manage 380 flights. Scottish transport hubs Glasgow and Edinburgh are expected to manage 320 and 440 flights respectively.

NATS predicts the busiest time of day for handling flights will be 6:40am to 7:40am, with up to 660 aircraft filling Britain’s skies in this hour alone.

Jamie Hutchison, Director at NATS’ Swanwick Control Centre, Hampshire, said:  

Jamie Hutchison

Jamie Hutchison

“With hundreds of thousands of people setting off on their holidays today, Britain’s air traffic controllers will be working harder than ever to ensure everyone can get away safely and on time. Over the past 12 months we have seen an extra 70,000 flights in UK airspace and further growth is expected over the coming years. Airspace is the invisible part of our infrastructure just like our roads and railways, it means we can get where we want, when we want.   

“It’s for this reason that NATS is launching the #SkyByNumbers campaign, to raise awareness of the role airspace plays in every part of our everyday lives. Airspace is vital, not only in getting us from A to B – whether that’s for business or pleasure – but also in bringing everything from coffee and chocolate to flowers and fruit direct to our shops and tables every day.”     

For more information on NATS’ Sky By Numbers campaign, offering people the chance to win £250 each week, please visit:

  • Home
  • News
  • So long staycations! UK Air Traffic Controllers set for busiest day of Summer as Brits head abroad

UK Flights

Departed today
Landed today
Currently airborne
Handled yesterday

Please start typing and we will search our website for you.

Search Results