JUST four tracked flights took off from Southampton airport last week whilst nationwide flights were down by almost 91 per cent as the airline industry feels the pinch of the coronavirus pandemic.

Airports are "at risk" of closure because of the dramatic decline in air travel brought about by coronavirus, one analyst has said.

It comes after the dramatic collapse of the UK's largest regional airline, Flybe, earlier this year.

According to data from flightradar24.com, Southampton airport saw 63 flights in the week ending March 22 - before the nationwide lockdown came into force - with that plummeting to just four last week.

This is a drop of over 93 per cent, whilst flights have completely ceased at three UK airports - Cardiff, Leeds Bradford and Newquay Cornwall.

Basingstoke Gazette:

However, a spokesperson for Southampton Airport told this newspaper that there is much more activity at the site.

They say that as well as the two "lifeline" flights to the Channel Islands they run every day, private flights are also operated out of the airport. They have also been involved in the movement of medical supplies in the Covid-19 response.

Across the country, there were 8,682 flights tracked by the website on the week ending March 22, which dropped to 784 last week.

Some airports told us they were still running a few repatriation flights for the Foreign Office but that many planes were actually cargo and freight journeys.

Basingstoke Gazette:

When a passenger aircraft is used to carry cargo, most of the seats can be covered with netting, so that supplies can travel in the cabin as well as in the belly of the plane.

Normally, most of the world's air cargo is transported in the hold of passenger aircraft.

But with the majority of airliners grounded, cargo companies have had to step up their operations in an effort to meet the demand to ferry into the UK such cargo as medical supplies, component parts for projects to manufacture respirators and personal protective equipment (PPE) in recent days.

London Heathrow still has the highest amount of flights per day, with 464. Meanwhile, East Midlands Airport has seen the lowest fall, 72 per cent down.