Today Is Set to Be the Busiest Day in British Airspace History

May 31, 2019

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31 May 2019 is predicted to see 9,000 flights operate in UK airspace. That isn’t any random number — it’s expected break the previous all-time daily record of 8,854 set on 25 May 2018. While half-term and the commencement of the busy summer period would always make this week a busy time for British aviation, the big surge in flights are headed for Madrid (MAD) for the Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham on Saturday.

The National Air Traffic Services says there will be an extra 600 charter and private jet flights through Sunday, on top of the 8,000 for a normal May day. As a guide, European airspace in total would usually see around 37,000 flights each day during this period.

This means that right now, there are thousands of planes in the air above Europe.

Photo courtesy of FlightRadar24
(Photo courtesy of FlightRadar24)

The proximity of the football stadium in Madrid means many charter and private jets will depart immediately after the match. With no extra landing or take off slots available at Heathrow (LHR), the additional flights will be to other London airports, with a huge number of charter flights to and from Liverpool Airport (LPL) transporting local football fans.

You may be surprised to learn that although London Luton (LTN) is used by most travellers as a low-cost option to European leisure locations, it’s also a popular base for private jets.

May has already been a busy month for UK airspace with a number of major events increasing travel including:

  • Ramadan
  • Cannes Film Festival
  • Monaco Grand Prix
  • Europa League Final in Baku
  • Paris Airshow

Last Friday, 24 May, almost broke the current record, with the start of a Bank Holiday weekend seeing 8,742 flights in UK airspace in one single day.

We hope all your travels go to plan this weekend — and every weekend — but remember if the crowded airports and airspace does cause your flight to be cancelled or significantly delayed to or from the UK or the European Union, remember you may be entitled to compensation under EU261 Regulations. If your delay is caused by the airline (i.e. was within the airline’s control), you could get compensation from EU261. This would exclude air traffic control issues, as they are outside of the airline’s control.

You can read TPG‘s full guide on EU261 Regulations, and how to lodge your claim here.

Featured image courtesy FlightRadar24.

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