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Q: Aviation: How many people are in the air at any given time? ( No Answer,   2 Comments )
Subject: Aviation: How many people are in the air at any given time?
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: cpenwell-ga
List Price: $8.00
Posted: 08 Feb 2005 15:00 PST
Expires: 10 Mar 2005 15:00 PST
Question ID: 471359
At any given moment, how many people on average are in the air; that
is, not in contact with the ground or seas? (This would exclude Ferris
wheels, tall buildings, ships, etc.) It would, however, include all
aircraft of any sort: private planes, military aircraft, balloons,

Request for Question Clarification by pinkfreud-ga on 08 Feb 2005 15:18 PST
I doubt that data can be found that includes all balloons,
ultralights, hang-gliders, and such. How accurate do you need the
figures to be? How recent must they be?

This article may be of interest to you:

Clarification of Question by cpenwell-ga on 09 Feb 2005 20:06 PST
Many thanks, pinkfreud, for both your speed and specificity. The link
you provided gets me in the ballpark (or at least near the airfield),
though the explication and more detailed answer seems to apply only to
commercial aircraft. I shouldn't think that hot air balloons,
experimental aircraft etc. raise the numbers much, but military
aircraft very well might, with the various conflicts here and there
these days. If you could get a rough estimate on noncommercial
aircraft to add to the picture that would be great; otherwise I'm very
happy with what I have, as it's a whole lot more specific than my
guess (which was between 400,000 to 500,000, by the way!)
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Aviation: How many people are in the air at any given time?
From: omnivorous-ga on 09 Feb 2005 20:47 PST
Cpenwell --

Though the large percentage of the world's air traffic is from the G-6
nations, even that's tough to track.  Here's a real-time tool for the

The random nature of the statistics is illustrated by how infrequently
the DOT (U.S.) did its "U.S. International Air Travel Statistics"
study.  Here's a resource that may help:

Best regards,

Subject: Re: Aviation: How many people are in the air at any given time?
From: cpenwell-ga on 09 Feb 2005 23:42 PST
Many thanks, Omnivorous. As you say, it looks like a tough gig, and
the resources seem to be spotty. Although the sites you list appear to
be subscription based, it also looks like they will let me poke around
enough on a trial basis to answer at least the basics--and I'll need a
calculator and a sharp pencil or two! I appreciate the pieces in the
puzzle you've offered. From what I've gleaned so far, it looks like at
any given time we have a city "up there" almost the size of Toledo
(Ohio, that is).

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