How Many Planes Are in the Air At Any One Time?

Air Travel by the Numbers

Air travel is becoming increasingly important as our world becomes more and more connected. A look at air travel over time shows a steady increase in air travel, omitting of course effects from COVID. It is estimated that around 800 flights depart in one day from New York City’s JFK airport alone.1 So how many airplanes are there in the sky at any moment? 


As the oldest aircraft dispatcher school in the world, we are always intrigued by air travel data, and feel it is a great way to gauge the current state of the airline industry. 

How Many Airplanes Are in the Sky at Any Given Time?

Based on data from 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that at peak time there are about 5,400 passenger flight aircraft in the air.2


How Many Flights Are There in a Day? 

On a daily basis, the FAA handles roughly 45,000 daily flights, meaning that there are roughly 16,405,000 flights in a year, a little over 10,000,000 of those being passenger flights.2 


How Many Airports Are There in the U.S.?

As of 2019, the United States had a total of 19,633 airports, with 14,551 being private, and 5,082 being public.2 


How Are That Many Flights Scheduled?

The flight data released by the FAA is staggering. With that many flights, how are they all scheduled, routed, and prepared?


For the most part, the organization and completion of that many flights can be accredited to talented flight dispatchers. Most flight dispatchers would not be shocked to learn the number of airplanes in the sky at a given time, as their responsibilities are to prepare, route, and plan these flights. 


The scheduling and routing of that many flights may seem like a logistical nightmare, which is why dispatchers must complete flight dispatch training and attain an FAA aircraft dispatcher license to ensure they are properly prepared. 


Flight Dispatcher Certifications

Sheffield School of Aeronautics makes getting your certification simple. We provide aircraft dispatcher courses at our school, and online. As the oldest aircraft dispatcher school in the world, we have strong and lengthy relationships with all major airlines, quickly assimilating our students into the airline industry’s workforce. 


View our description of the responsibilities of an aircraft dispatcher to learn more about what the position entails, and contact us today to begin a new and exciting career! 

Related Readings:

How Do Airplanes Fly?

Is Electric Aviation the Future of Flying?


Sources Used:



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