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people in the air at one time

asked in aircraft

funrunna answers:

Your question has me up in the air too!

Can you be a bit more specific please?

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Aiming4777 answers:

Flight aware http://flightaware.com/ tracks all airborne aircraft in the USA. This Website shows all aircraft on an IFR or VFR flight plan so includes most private flights but not military aircraft.

The number obviously varies during the day but typically averages about 3000. Allowing an average number of 60 passengers per aircraft, this could be 180,000 people in the USA alone. At peak times, the number of aircraft can be as high as 4500 and most planes are probably full. This could mean as many as 650,000 (assuming 150 average per flight, allowing for smaller commuter flights).

This figure is just for the USA though. The feed from the Federal Aviation Authority that provides the info for Flight Aware is not considered public domain in Europe or Asia. Although traditionally there have been more flights within the USA, Europe and Asia are catching up with the proliferation of budget airlines. I would guess the total number of people in the air, Worldwide, could be about one million people (remember that the “rush hours” will occur at different times around the world).

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siasl74 answers:

at any given time, there are around 2,600 commercial airliners in the air at once. Multiple that by the average number of folks on a plane, and you have your answer.

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