FlightAware – The free Flight-Tracker

FlightAware is a free Service for Tracking Flights. The company is based in Texas (USA) and also provides up-to-date information on the flight status of scheduled air services. The key features of FlightAware include:

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  1. Live Flight Tracking
  2. Flight Finder
  3. Airline / Fleet Tracker
  4. Search by Airport

The Live Flight Radar allows you to Track Flights. From take-off, along the entire flight route, to touchdown. Data is transmitted in real time. Users can track every flight on a digital world map from the comfort of their own homes. This option was unthinkable just a few years ago. Another fantastic feature of FlightAware is its ability to cover air traffic worldwide. There is hardly a company in civil aviation whose flights are not found in FlightAware’s inventory.

Live Flight Tracking Offers at FlightAware

FlightAware’s flight tracking service consists of the following building blocks and is comparable to flightradar24:

  • Flight Finder
  • Flight Cancellations
  • Airport Delays
  • Misery-Map
  • Search by Operator (Airlines)
  • Search by Airport Search
  • Search by Aircraft Type
  • IFR Route Analyser
  • Weather
  • E-metar
A plane on approach. This landing can be followed live with the flight radar of FlightAware.
FlightAware makes aircraft like this one traceable from takeoff to landing.

Furthermore, users who only want to browse can choose to let FlightAware decide. Using the navigation points “Any airport” or “Any flight” FlightAware automatically selects a current data set. The user is then presented with information about the airport or aircraft. Here, using aviation radar, avaiation enthusiasts can browse and discover regions and flights they have not visited previously.

Statistics with FlightAware

Numerous statistics for user software are also available at FlightAware. Flight radar coverage is partly provided by private persons. There is a list in which all flight tracker types are listed. Three different trackers are in use: “PiAware”, “FlightFeeder” and “Radarcape direct connections”. Data on these ADS-B receivers are continuously updated. And the number of locations is constantly growing, which means that flight tracking is likely to become even more accurate in the future.

Here are the current statistics at FlightAware, pertaining to radar coverage:

  • More than 30,000 locations
  • Over 21,400 participants
  • 199 countries represented
  • More than 150.000.000 position transmissions per hour
  • More than 200 sites added in the last days

The company creates a ranking using the data collected by FlightAware. The basis for the ranking position is the sum of the recorded aircraft. In plain language this means that FlightAware motivates individuals to install a flight radar in their own front yard. Because only those who record many flights are included by name in the Flight Radar Ranking. If you take a look at the flight tracking statistics, it becomes remarkably clear that individual persons provide data on more than 4,000 flights daily.

Users of the Flight-Tracking-Service

The use of FlightAware or Flight Trackers in general is important for the following users:

  • Passengers
  • Business Travelers
  • Airport Transfer Providers
  • Relatives of Air Travelers who pick up or take their family members to the airport
  • Planespotters or Flight Enthusiasts, whose hobby is planes
  • Aviation Crews and Crew Members
  • People affected by Aircraft Noise
  • Logistics companies (cargo planes are also visible on the radar)

Which flight tracking data is available at FlightAware?

Extensive data is available for every flight that is listed on FlightAware. The flight details include the following information:

  1. Departures
    • Time of Exit at the Gate
    • Actual Take-Off Time
    • Scheduled Take-Off Time
    • Taxiing Time (Movement of the Aircraft on the Runway Before Take-Off)
    • Average Delay
  2. Arrivals
    • Landing Time
    • Scheduled Landing Time
    • Time of Arrival at the Gate
    • Scheduled Time of Arrival at Gate
    • Taxiing Time (Movement of the Aircraft on the Runway, After Landing)
    • Average Delay
  3. Aircraft Data
    • Aircraft Type (incl. Link to Photos)
    • Registration (Tail Number)
  4. Airline Data
    • Airline
  5. Flight Data
    • Speed (Real time / Live)
    • Altitude (Real time / Live)
    • Flight Number
    • Total Travel Time
    • Time Remaining Until Arrival
    • Delay Indications (e.g. “On Time”)
    • Distance Travelled (in km)
    • Distance Remaining to Destination
    • Gate at Airport of Departure
    • Place of Departure (incl. airport abbreviation)
    • Place of Arrival (incl. airport abbreviation)

This information is of course integrated into the exciting map display of the live flight tracker of FlightAware. The listed data are otherwise visible to every user free of charge. If you want more information about individual flights, you can activate additional data for a fee.

A Lufthansa plane at takeoff.
Aircraft at departure: Usually already on the runway, aircraft can be tracked on the flight radar of FlightAware.

Payment Plans for FlightAware

Besides the ability to use FlightAware free of charge, various payment models are also available. The monthly costs vary between 39.95 USD and 129.95 USD. The following table provides an overview of the various features of the flight tracker. There are obviously differences between commercial and private user packages.

ServiceEnterprise WXEnterprisePremium+BasicGuest
Flight History8 Months8 Months5 Months3 Months14 Days
Flights per Page 7575504020
Flight Alerts (Email)umlimitedunlimitedunlimited5
Support for Mobile Web and Mobile Applicationsyesyesyesyes– 
My FlightAware – My Aircraft/My Airports unlimited/50unlimited /50unlimited /50Mar 05
Premium Map Levelsyesyesyesyes
Position Only Flightsyesyesyesyes
Air Matrices and Sigmets yesyesyes
My FlightAware – Fleet Tracking yesyes
Flight Alerts – Fleet Alerts yesyes
Flight Numbers for Airlines / Salzigen Flights yesyes
ATC Call Sign yesyes
Maps – Full Screen Without Adsyesyes
Aircraft – See the Main Airportsyesyes
Premium Weather Layers yes
Price (monthly)$129.95$89.95$39.95gratisgratis

The Most Popular Countries for FlightAware

By following the coverage of FlightAware and drawing conclusions about the popularity of the Flight Tracker, an interesting ranking emerges. The flight radar provider is at home in the USA. The flight radar provider is based in the USA. It therefore comes as little surprise that the highest coverage is available there. More than 11,000 ADS-B sites collect data in the United States. The second most common flight radar receivers are located in the United Kingdom. There are about 2,000 of them. Germany ranks third. More than 1,500 receivers record the daily flight movements for FlightAware in Germany.

In addition to the recorded data points, the sum of the recorded aircrafts also plays a role in the statistics. Here too, Germany is among the leaders, as can be seen in the following table.

RankCountryADS-B SitesTracked Aircrafts
1 United States (USA)11.010442.865.394
2 United Kingdom (UK)2.00058.874.775
3 Germany1.56348.178.783
4 Netherlands70926.602.741
5 Canada1.01315.984.374
6 France40010.095.590
7 Japan6189.593.397
8 Switzerland3098.429.162
9 Czech Republic2378.537.189
10 Belgium1887.320.151
11 Italy3245.810.449
12 Australia8155.715.521
13 Poland2284.099.660
14 Russia4653.845.464
15 Austri1343.668.197
16 Spain2653.592.828
17 Brasil6132.755.379
18People’s Republic of China1812.868.866
19 Mexico3372.724.175
20 Sweden2282.386.755

Most Popular Cities for FlightAware

Due to the dominance of the US market and the air traffic radar coverage there, the ranking by cities presents a somewhat different picture. The top 20 positions are held almost exclusively by US cities. Only four exceptions from other countries feature in the top 20. Among them is Munich for Germany. Other locations are London in the UK, Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Upon closer inspection it becomes interesting: Munich apparently has the second highest coverage of ADS-B receivers after Houston. Perhaps a particularly large number of flight radar fans live in Munich and the surrounding area? However, due to the number of detected aircraft, Germany with Munich is only ranked 14th in flight tracking. The following table shows the sum of the aircrafts being tracked per city:

RankCityCountryADS-B SitesTracked Aircrafts
1 Washington United States23112.903.562
2 London United Kingdom2078.045.928
3 Houston United States3058.229.572
4 New York United States1497.073.986
5 Denver United States1567.255.577
6 Dallas United States1346.383.419
7 Chicago United States1045.535.317
8 Atlanta United States1215.327.841
9 Baltimore United States895.175.991
10 Orlando United States845.066.290
11 Philadelphia United States774.561.751
12 San Jose United States1174.312.721
13 Phoenix United States893.859.674
14 Munich Germany2333.483.684
15Raleigh / Durham United States873.708.545
16 Austin United States1173.676.263
17 Amsterdam Netherlands1043.380.980
18 Rotterdam Netherlands873.238.096
19 Minneapolis United States1583.647.541
20 Indianapolis United States653.469.503

Latest Locations Covered by FlightAware

FlightAware also provides information about where in the world receivers were last installed to improve flight tracking. Munich has recently made significant progress in this area, with a whole series of additional installations. The following table gives an impression of the recent expansion of the flight tracking infrastructure.

RankCityReceiver InstalledAirport Abbreviation
1Silverstone, EnglandPiAwareEGBV
2MunichFlightFeederOBF / EDMO
3MunichFlightFeederOBF / EDMO
4MunichFlightFeederOBF / EDMO
5MunichFlightFeederOBF / EDMO
6MunichFlightFeederOBF / EDMO
7MunichFlightFeederOBF / EDMO
8MunichFlightFeederOBF / EDMO
9MunichFlightFeederOBF / EDMO
10MunichFlightFeederOBF / EDMO
11MunichFlightFeederOBF / EDMO
12MunichFlightFeederOBF / EDMO
13MunichFlightFeederOBF / EDMO
14HeistPiAwareEDHE
15New South WalesPiAwareYXWM
16Glenrothes, ScotlandPiAwareEGPJ
17MunichFlightFeederOBF / EDMO
18MunichFlightFeederOBF / EDMO
19MunichFlightFeederOBF / EDMO
20MunichFlightFeederOBF / EDMO

However, it is probably in FlightAware’s interest to expand the structures beyond metropolitan areas. This expansion is particularly necessary in areas that are less well covered worldwide.

FlightAware also makes this process transparent. It can easily be seen on a world map that the infrastructure for flight tracking is best developed in North America and Europe. Large parts of Africa and Asia as well as the poles are hardly covered. It is obvious that data gaps exist in areas with weak coverage. Consequently, information provided by flight trackers on position, speed and other flight-related information must be classified as inaccurate.

World map with position information of receivers: The flight tracker FlightAware has a high coverage in North America and Europe.
Flight-Tracker: Abdeckung von FlightAware – weltweit

Statistics and History

FlightAware was established in 2005. Today, there are branches in five cities. The company headquarters are located in Houston, with additional offices in Austin, New York, London (UK) and Singapore.

According to company press releases FlightAware bases its services on the following principles:

  • Data from 45 Air Traffic Control Centres Worldwide
  • Network of ADS-B stations in 195 Countries
  • Satellite-based ADS-B Data

FlightAware was founded in 2005 by Daniel Baker. Baker had the idea of processing live flight data a year earlier. He wondered how he could best keep his family informed about his private and corporate flights. His wife and children should know as precisely as possible where he is, even if he was on board an aircraft. The idea of providing a free flight search service was born. Due to the fact that there were hardly any solutions for this problem in the digital world shortly after the turn of the millennium, Baker took the fate of his product into his own hands. In order to assist him, he contacted two friends who helped him implement the offer. After the company was founded in March 2005, something amazing happened: FlightAware achieved a turnover of more than 1 million US dollars in its first year alone.

Flight Tracker Archive

The service provided by FlightAware relies on live data. Real time information is particularly sought after by users. But historical flight data is also important. For example, you would not be able to easily track flights that occured some time in the past with FlightAware. Different data periods are available to different user categories.

  • Every user who is logged in as a guest gets access to the historical data of the past 14 days.
  • Once a user has logged in and successfully completed the registration for use, a time window of four months (retroactive) is granted. Registered users can purchase individual data records on flights and flight movements from previous periods for an additional fee.
  • Subscribers of the “Premium” type receive all data records of the past five months.
  • Those who take out an “Enterprise Subscription” can even access the historical data of the past eight months.

Aircraft Types on FlightAware

The flight tracking provider FlightAware provides statistical information on which aircraft types are most frequently encountered in the airspace. The service provider counts the different aircrafts which are of the same type.

The fact that the leading positions are dominated by Boeing and Airbus should come as little surprise to the layman. Machines of type Embraer or Canadair can be found in the list below.

Aircraft enthusiasts may find one or the other piece of treasure throughout the list. In the current list of FlightAware you can find 255 different aircraft types. The list contains not only the big known airliners but also smaller aircraft. Even small machines like the famous Cessna and private jets of wealthy individuals are listed.

NumberingQuantityCodeAircraft Type
11373A320Airbus A320
21285B738Boeing 737-800
3527A321Airbus A321
4426A319Airbus A319
5374B737Boeing 737-700
6324B77WBoeing 777-300ER
7213B739Boeing 737-900
8203A333Airbus A330-300
9198E190Embraer ERJ-190
10192E75LEMBRAER ERJ-170-200 (long wing)
11188B789Boeing 787-9
12167B763Boeing 767-300
13153A332Airbus A330-200
14150CRJ9Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-900
15148A359Airbus A350-900
16143B752Boeing 757-200
17130B788Boeing 787-8
18126B772Boeing 777-200
19106A388Airbus A380-800
20103CRJ2Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-200
21102DH8Dde Havilland Dash 8-400
2293E145Embraer ERJ-145
2387B744Boeing 747-400
2480CRJ7Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-700
2577E170Embraer 170/175
2675AT72ATR ATR-72
2774B737Boeing 737
2872B77LBoeing 777-200LR/F
2963E75SEmbraer ERJ 175
3058C208Cessna Caravan

Airlines on FlightAware

The aircraft must naturally also be equipped with transmitters whose data is to be transmitted. FlightAware relies on a number of airlines that are active worldwide. Currently the number has grown to more than 600 different airlines. As an example, the following table shows which airlines are responsible for the majority of the flights shown in FlightAware.

NumberingNumber of FlightsAbbreviationAirline / Carrier
1435DALDelta “Delta”
2370SWASouthwest “Southwest” (Dallas, TX)
3334AALAmerican Airlines “American”
4312UALUnited “United”
5200RYRRyanair “Ryanair” (Ireland)
6189SKWSkyWest “SkyWest” (St. George, UT)
7141UAEEmirates “Emirates”
8140JBUJetBlue “JetBlue”
9138IGOIndiGo “IFLY” (New Delhi)
10137QTRQatar Airways “Qatari” (Doha)
11127EZYeasyJet “Easy” (United Kingdom)
12123THYTurkish Airlines “Turkair” (Turkey)
13119BAWBritish Airways “Speedbird” (United Kingdom)
14115DLHLufthansa “Lufthansa” (Germany)
15114AFRAir France “Airfrance” (France)
1695FDXFedEx “FedEx” (Memphis, TN)
1786ASAAlaska Airlines “Alaska”
1885UPSUnited Parcel Service “UPS”
1982RPARepublic “Brickyard” (Indianapolis, Indiana)
2081ACAAir Canada “Air Canada” (Canada)
2179NKSSpirit “Spirit Wings” (Miramar, FL)
2279ENYEnvoy Air “Envoy” (Fort Worth, TX)
2378EDVEndeavor Air “Endeavor” (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
2478GLOGol Transportes Aereos “GOL”
2573SVASaudia “Saudia” (Saudi Arabia)
2672AFLAeroflot “Aeroflot” (Russian Federation)
2769KLMKLM “KLM” (Netherlands)
2869EJANetJets Aviation “EXECJET” (Columbus, OH)
2966TAMLATAM Brasil “Tam” (Brazil)
3062ASHMesa “Air Shuttle” (Phoenix, AZ)

Instructional Videos on FlightAware

FlightAware’s dedicated YouTube channel shows interested users how the flight tracker works. Needless to say that an educational film about FlightAware is also included. But what is more interesting for most users is how to use the app in order to get the most out of it.

How to use FlightAware

Using FlightAware to track flights is easy for anyone who wants to do so. This is because the app is easy to use on your mobile phone as well as via the website. Users find their way intuitively.

Nevertheless, the most common functions of the flight tracker will be listed here once again. In essence, there are two things to take note of.

  1. Users can inform themselves about arrival and departure times of flights
  2. Users can follow flights in real time while they are in flight

You can easily trace a flight in real time with the Flight Tracker by entering the flight number. FlightAware also offers you the possibility to find flights by entering the place of departure or arrival. For example, if you search for “Berlin”, FlightAware suggests Berlin Airports as search destinations. Then click on “Schoenefeld” and a list of all expected arriving aircraft and all planned departures will appear. Within these lists you can select the flight of your interest and, if it is an arriving aircraft, you can also track it in real time.

The complete flight route for the selected flight is then visible on the map. All the flight data listed above can be viewed by the user. All these functions are provided by Flight Aware completely free of charge.

Your flight-tracking options:

  • Using the Airline
  • Using the Flight Number
  • Using the Place of Arrival
  • Using the Place of Departure
  • Using Aircraft Type

It is also exciting to browse the map with numerous flights displayed in the form of small icons. By zooming in, the area of interest can be viewed more closely. Monitoring aircraft movements around airports is naturally more exciting.

Another interesting difference is the massive variation in the number of aircrafts by area. The flight tracker shows mass flight movements, especially for Europe, the USA and also in large parts of Asia. At the same time, areas in Africa or Russia do not yet appear to be of any significance in terms of air traffic.

A comparison of air traffic with the flight tracker: air traffic in Europe is significantly higher than in Africa.
Obvious differences in the flight tracker – air traffic in Europe compared to Africa

How the Flight Tracker Works

The flight tracker works by processing data in a transmitter-receiver network. Internationally, a transmitter standard has been created that is used on board most civil aircrafts today. This transmitter effectively sends data from the aircraft to a network of receivers. The closer the aircraft is to a receiver, the more accurate the data. The number of receivers that are in the vicinity is also important for the accuracy.

The Flight-Tracker of FlightAware processes the data of the airplanes by the “ground stations” – the network of receivers – sending the data to the processing service. The flight tracker from FlightAware processes the data of the airplanes using data sent by the “ground stations” – the network of receivers – to the processing service. The data is digitally processed and presented in real time on the map display. There are therefore several parties involved in the maintenance of the network and the functionality of the flight tracker:

  1. The Aircraft or Operator / Airline
  2. Official Operators of Ground Stations / Air Traffic Control
  3. Private Operators of Ground Stations / ADS-B Receivers
  4. FlightAware as a Data Processing Company and Service Provider

Further information on how flight radar systems work and modern flight tracking is also available on flight-radar.eu

Sources and Further Links to FlightAware

  • Source des statistiques et des données: https://de.FlightAware.com/
  • Lien vers FlightAware dans la boutique Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.FlightAware .android.liveFlightTracker&hl=de
  • Lien de téléchargement pour les iPhones: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/live-flight-tracker/id316793974
  • Télécharger Link pour iPads: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/live-flight-tracker/id316793974