Video: Our busy skies

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EUROPEAN airspace is some of the busiest and most complex anywhere in the world.

Now this image, a data visualisation produced by NATS air traffic management, proves just how complex things can get.

NATS 24 hours of air traffic

NATS 24 hours of air traffic

It represents just one day’s activity above the UK and continental Europe.

The information to produce it was based on UK radar data from June 21 and European flight plan information from July 28, 2013.

Thousands of air traffic controllers guide millions of passengers safely to their destinations – including from NATS’ centre in Swanwick, where more than 1.8 million flights were handled last year.

The centre is home to the London Area Control Centre and London Terminal Control Centre.

It is responsible for handling higher level traffic travelling over England and Wales in UK airspace.

To most people, the choreography going on above them is entirely unnoticed – it quite literally goes over their heads.

Some say that is how it should be.