Big Data 2020
Conference paper

The Impact of COVID-19 on Flight Networks

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As COVID-19 transmissions spread worldwide, governments have announced and enforced travel restrictions to prevent further infections. Such restrictions have a direct effect on the volume of international flights among these countries, resulting in extensive social and economic costs. To better understand the situation in a quantitative manner, we analyzed the OpenSky Network data to clarify flight patterns and flight densities around the world. Then we observed relationships between flight numbers with new infection cases and the economy (the unemployment rate) in Barcelona. We found that the number of daily flights gradually decreased and then suddenly dropped 64% during the second half of March in 2020 after the United States and Europe enacted travel restrictions. We also observed a 51% decrease in the global flight network density decreased during this period. Regarding new COVID-19 cases, the United States had an unexpected surge regardless of travel restrictions. Finally, the layoffs for temporary workers in the tourism and airplane business increased by 4.3 fold in the weeks following Spain's decision to close its borders.