COVID-19 has obviously had a harsh impact on the aviation industry and, as such, airlines around the world have been reducing their flight schedules.

I was keen to find out just how many flights had been cancelled on some key routes both in Australia and overseas. To do so, I compared a Thursday in April 2020 with one six months ago.

Virgin Australia and United planes at Sydney Airport
Which airlines and routes have been the hardest hit?
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How much have flights dropped due to COVID-19?

Key domestic & international routes in Australia

Route10 October 201916 April 2020Change
Sydney - Melbourne
Virgin Australia251-96%
Brisbane - Perth90-100%
Adelaide - Darwin20-100%
Melbourne - Singapore90-100%
Sydney - Hong Kong60-100%
Sydney - Los Angeles50-100%
Qantas 737-800 on tarmac
Australia’s busiest route is down to just two frequencies a day

Other key international routes

Route10 October 201916 April 2020Change
London - Dublin575-91%
New York - Toronto512-96%
Singapore - Kuala Lumpur390-100%
New York - London322-94%
London - Dubai140-100%
Flight map New York - London
The world’s most profitable route, New York – London, is currently running less than 10% of its regular flights

Top 5 routes by number of flights

Route10 October 201916 April 2020Change
Seoul - Jeju10576-28%
Sydney - Melbourne992-98%
São Paulo - Rio de Janeiro922-98%
Tokyo - Fukuoka7028-60%
Delhi - Mumbai660-100%
Korean Air city check-in
The world’s busiest route by aircraft movements, Seoul – Jeju, has seen only a ~30% reduction in flights

Summing up

COVID-19 has led airlines to cancel a lot of the flights on their schedule. Based on the routes I’ve selected above, there has been a ~93% decrease in the number of flights on key routes in Australia and overseas.

As the curve is flattened, we can expect to see an (albeit) slow increase in the frequency of flights.

Crunching the numbers: by how much have flights dropped due to COVID-19? was last modified: April 16th, 2020 by Matt Moffitt