Air navigation service provider NATS says it expects to handle more than 8,800 flights across UK airspace today, in what is the busiest day of the summer for the UK’s air traffic controllers.

The organisation says that a total of 8,841 flights are expected over the course of July 27, “as hundreds of thousands of Brits take to the skies to head off on their summer holidays”.

NATS said that the busiest period was expected to have been between 0640 and 0740 this morning, with over 660 flights across UK airspace during that hour.

Heathrow-Dublin is expected to be the busiest route over the course of the day, followed by Heathrow-New York, Heathrow-Frankfurt, Gatwick-Barcelona, Gatwick-Malaga, Gatwick-Majorca and Gatwick-Faro.

Of the total around 1,390 flights will go through Heathrow, with 940 through Gatwick, 700 through Manchester, and 670 through Stansted. In Scotland a combined total of 760 flights will pass through Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Commenting on the news Jamie Hutchison, Director at NATS’ Swanwick Control Centre, Hampshire, said:

“With hundreds of thousands of people setting off on their holidays today, Britain’s air traffic controllers will be working harder than ever to ensure everyone can get away safely and on time.

“Over the past 12 months we have seen an extra 70,000 flights in UK airspace and further growth is expected over the coming years. Airspace is the invisible part of our infrastructure just like our roads and railways, it means we can get where we want, when we want. “

The video below was published by NATS three years ago, but gives an idea of the sort of traffic flows in and out of UK airports each day.