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Flightradar24 images of Australia demonstrate the chilling way the covid-19 pandemic has impacted the Aussie life to a halt.
New images from FlightRadar24 shows almost empty skies over the country that have ban or stopped air travel and all of the Australian airlines have grounded almost their entire fleets. The airline industry has been one of the worst-hit sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Below picture: Flights seen over Australia 2019 - Imgae from Flightradar24
Below picture: Image taken 1 April 20 - Flightradar24
It’s a very similar story around the world. FlightRadar24 says the decline in global air traffic is “unprecedented”, with commercial air traffic plummeting 41 per cent below 2019 levels in the last two weeks of March. Pre our current global crisis, there were up to 20,000 planes flying around the sky and on the 1st March there were 14,629 flights at 3pm, 1 month later and there were only 5,632 flights at 3pm.
While some airlines continue to operate commercial flights to keep vital links open and return travellers to their home countries, many of the planes seen in plane tracking images are cargo planes carrying essential supplies such as food and medical equipment.
Cargo handling at London’s Heathrow Airport has actually doubled this week, BBC reported. And the lockdowns and closures have also made international flying logistically challenging. The United Arab Emirates is in the midst of a 14-day blanket ban on flights, meaning popular transit hubs at Dubai and Abu Dhabi, relied on by many of the world’s major airlines for long-haul routes, can no longer be used for commercial flights.
Air traffic took another massive hit when India announced a lockdown of its entire population of 1.3 billion people. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the world’s largest lockdown on 24 March, asking 1.3 billion Indians to stay home for 21 days to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, global airlines are dealing with the new challenge of what to do with massive fleets scattered and grounded around the world. Airlines are scrambling for parking everywhere, which adds expenses on top of what they’re losing by not flying.
Virgin Australia and Qantas have put forward cases for federal government bailouts to keep them afloat during the coronavirus crisis. The Australian government has announced a $715M Bailout for the airlines however Virgin Australia is seeking $1.4Billion while Qantas is saying they want $4.2Billion. The Federal Government will have to go back to the table and review the already committed $715M in relief for the airline industry.
Interesting times to come.
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