Q:

How many planes are in the air at any given time?

A:

Quick Answer

It's estimated that there are around 5,000 planes in the air over the United States at any given time. There are probably a couple of thousand more airplanes flying in other parts of the world, and about 500,000 people are in those planes.

  Know More
How many planes are in the air at any given time?
Credit: ballyscanlon Photodisc Getty Images

Full Answer

Most of the planes are in flight over the U.S., Europe and East Asia; fewer fly over Africa, South America and Australia. There are more planes in the air during daylight hours than during the night.

During the course of a day, about 87,000 flights are undertaken in the U.S. skies, and of those, probably one-third are commercial flights. On an average day, U.S. air traffic controllers handle 28,537 commercial flights, 27,178 private plane flights, 24,548 planes for hire flights, 5,260 military flights and 2,148 cargo flights.

The amount of fuel used by all these planes is staggering. For example, it's estimated that on a flight from London, U.K., to Singapore in Southeast Asia, a distance of 6,741 miles, a Boeing 747 will use approximately 1,523 barrels of jet fuel.

Another factor of air flight is the CO2 emissions from each plane. According to the Air Transport Action Group, air flights worldwide produced 705 million tons of CO2 in 2013. People are being encouraged to fly only when it's absolutely necessary and to use a reputable and recognized carbon offset scheme when traveling by air.

Learn more about Airplanes & Helicopters

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How many planes take off from Heathrow every minute?

    A:

    As of May 2014, over 1,400 flights departed and landed at Heathrow airport each day; that is about one flight every 45 seconds. Heathrow handles around 80 percent of the long-haul air traffic for passengers arriving in the UK.

    Full Answer >
  • Q:

    Do planes basically fly themselves?

    A:

    While technology and automation are essential to modern flying, airplanes cannot automatically fly themselves without a pilot. Automated controls on commercial airliners allow the pilot to do many things, such as taking his or her hands off of the steering column or letting the airplane control the aircraft's altitude, but all of these functions must be programmed and controlled by pilots.

    Full Answer >
  • Q:

    How fast do planes fly?

    A:

    NASA states that small planes can fly up to about 350 mph, while subsonic planes, which include the jets that carry the majority of air traffic passengers, fly from about 350 to 750 mph, as of 2014. Supersonic planes can fly at speeds up to 3,500 mph.

    Full Answer >
  • Q:

    Why do some planes still have propellors?

    A:

    Airplanes can achieve necessary thrust through jet engines or propellor drive, and smaller aircraft typically rely on the use of propellers in order to achieve lift. One of the main reasons that propellor planes are still in widespread commercial use is the fact that they are less expensive to fuel than those planes that are driven by jet engines.

    Full Answer >

Explore