70 years of UK air traffic

Based on independent historical research, flight records and CAA archive material, this visualisation charts the history of the UK’s skies from the 1950s to the present day.

From the dawn of the jet-era and Concorde through to the advent of the low cost airlines and the modern age of mass air travel, it catalogues the incredible success story of UK commercial aviation, but also starkly illustrates how the structure of UK airspace has had to evolve – and sometimes struggled – to keep pace with ever growing traffic levels.

Now, with over 3 million flights a year expected in the UK by 2030, the design of UK airspace is in urgent need of modernisation.