With most schools in the UK breaking up for the summer holidays, Friday 24th July was expected to be the busiest day of the year.
Our controllers handled just short of 8,000 flights (7,940 flights) on the day, as people took off for well-earned summer getaways.
Routes to all the usual holiday destinations in Spain, the Canaries and southern Europe are especially busy at this time of the year and July is always a busy month for air traffic. While July 2014 recorded 230,000 flights, which is around 1,000 more a day compared to the usual monthly average, July 2015 is on target to be even busier.
We prepare for summer peaks well in advance to ensure flights get away safely and with minimum delays. Airline schedules together with airport capacity are all analysed to make sure that resources are in place to safely handle the expected demand. Plans are then constantly tweaked and updated as applicable.
Rather than just looking at statistics for the day we thought it would be interesting to put some faces to those who flew on Friday. We asked anyone posting a selfie to include the hashtag #FlyFriday with their Tweets or in their Facebook posts. The hashtag proved very popular gaining just under 8,000 mentions online, which produced 3.6 million impressions on Twitter and Instagram alone.
We also visited Southampton Airport and recorded some quick interviews with those who were flying on the day.
Despite heavy rain and an accident on the nearby motorway causing congestion on the road, this is what they had to say of their personal experiences on #FlyFriday:
Neil Garwood, Head of Customer Service at Southampton Airport was also asked about #FlyFriday and said:
Last year NATS choreographed safe journeys for a total of 2.2 million flights, an increase of 2.5% on the year before. Yet despite the growing demand to fly, 99.8% of those flights experienced no air traffic control delay at all.
And at Heathrow Airport even the Harlem Globetrotters were Tweeting about going on their hols with #FlyFriday
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