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How Many Airplanes (And People) Are in the Sky At Any Given Second?

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Airplanes in the Sky
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Since my two-year-old son has started spotting airplanes, it has become some kind of a riddle for me to know how many airplanes are actually flying in the air at any given moment. I found myself constantly shouting to him: “here’s another airplane and another airplane”. The sky is full of airplanes, and inside these machines, there are lots of people who are literally sitting in the air any moment you’d look at the sky.

The big question for those who love numbers and stats is how many airplanes are flying in the sky right now?

So, how many airplanes are in the sky right now?

So, what’s the number, right? Hard to say. Knowing the exact is nearly impossible as there are many military airplanes, and small private ones, ones that are not registered and, thus, can be counted.

Still, as of 2022, it is estimated that there are somewhere between 8000-10000 airplanes in the air at any given moment. Of course, during peak times, you’ll see the number rising to as high as 15,000. But on average, it is very likely that there are between 8000 to 10000 commercial planes in the air at any given moment these days.

If you need evidence, there’s a very cool website that shows you how many planes are being tracked in the sky in real-time – FlightRadar24, live air traffic. So, for example, right now, I can see there are 9182 airplanes in the sky.

But, this data includes commercial flights only. So, we can roughly estimate that including small planes and military, the number is higher at around 15000 to 20000 airplanes in the sky at any given second.

How many people are in the sky right now?

Now, we have another question to wonder about. If there are so many airplanes in the sky, and inside these airplanes, there are quite a lot of people, so many people are actually in the sky at any given moment???

So, assuming that the average number of passengers per flight – domestically and internationally – stands somewhere between 100-120 (very difficult to find accurate data BTW). That gives us an estimation of between 1 million to 1.2 million in the air at any given time. Quite an outstanding number. But remember, once again, the data does include other non-commercial flights so, the number of people in the air at any given time is even higher and may reach up to 2 million people.

The bottom line

Some people find those riddles quite interesting. After all, the planet is our home and you may wonder how ruined it is already. I mean, we know that there are so many satellites orbiting the earth, and airplanes are just another line of traffic for human beings.

So, yes, the sky is full of stars, but also airplanes, satellites, and people.

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