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Flight-tracking apps are being downloaded by family members and friends who are concerned about the welfare of loved ones and want to track the progress of their flights in real time.

Flight radar tracking apps have spiked in popularity since the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in March, and the crashes of the airline’s flight MH17 and Air Algerie flight AH5017 last month, with users wanting to track aircraft locations in real time.

Google Trends data show an increase in searches for “flight tracker” since March’s Malaysia Airlines incident and then again after MH17 crashed last month, and flight tracking apps are now some of the most popular travel apps for iOS and Android, with both free and paid versions earning high rankings.

Flightradar24 Pro is the most-downloaded paid travel app in the U.S. for iOS and Android with more than three million downloads, according to Flightradar24 CEO Fredrik Lindahl.

Download numbers for July aren’t available, but Lindahl says he’s seen a “big increase” in sales over the past few weeks. The free version of the app has attracted even more downloads that the paid app.

FlightAware’s app also experienced a large increase in downloads following both Malaysia Airline disasters, and garnered more than 100,000 unique views on March 8 and July 17, according to Quantcast data and FlightAware’s CEO Daniel Baker. It’s now the top free travel app for Android.

Besides the U.S., most of FlightAware’s unique views came from the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands and Canada.

Top Flight Tracking Apps By Downloads


Free Rank
FlightView Free 33
FlightStats 43
FlightAware Flight Tracker 51
Flight Tracker Free 59
Flightradar24 Free 87
Paid Rank
Flightradar24 Pro 1
FlightTrack 5 22
Flight+ 30
FlightView 46
FlightView Elite 51


Free Rank
FlightAware Flight Tracker 31
FlightStats 48
FlightView Free Flight Tracker 57
Flightradar24 Free 84
Flight Tracker Free 93
Paid Rank
Flightradar24 Pro 1
FlightTrack 5 12
FlightView Elite Flight Tracker 28
FlightView Flight Tracker 32
Airport Premium Flight Tracker 62

Source: App Annie

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Tags: android, ios, malaysia airlines, mh17, mh370

Photo credit: The Flightrader24 app saw a spike in downloads after recent aircraft disasters. Frans Zwart

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