Society Transport

Silent Skies

I can usually see a stream of little silver slivers on the horizon, landing and taking off from Dublin Airport. Now, the skies are empty and silent. Global air traffic has collapsed:

The tiny yellow aircraft symbols speak volumes. Anyone familiar with the flight-tracking website Flightradar24 knows the scores of miniature aircraft on the interactive world map, swarming all over the globe like insects. Usually it’s fascinating to watch the pulsating traffic patterns and movements between continents, varying according to local times and peak hours.

Currently, a look at global flight activities reveals an eerie picture as the swarms have all but disappeared. Clicking on the plane symbols allows users to identify what is still in the air — it’s mainly cargo aircraft, planes bringing home stranded tourists plus a handful of remaining regular flights.

Exactly 101 years after the world’s first international scheduled air connection in February of 1919, the new coronavirus has almost brought the world air transportation system to a virtual standstill.

The roads are empty too. Although, as everyone is limited to 2km exercise trips, there’s a lot more people out walking, cycling, at all hours. It’s been nice not to have to commute every day, luckily we both work in IT so our jobs are pretty much doable anywhere. It makes the day calmer, it’s something I’d like to continue after all this is over. Why battle into an office every day?