This week it was reported that Lufthansa Group – which also owns Brussels Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings and Swiss International Airlines – expects to operate 18,000 ‘ghost flights’ with no passengers on them between December and March this year. Other airlines will be following Lufthansa’s lead over the year.
At a time when the world is meant to be tackling climate change why are airlines spending a fortune shuttling thousands of empty planes, each spewing tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, between airports? The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is European Union red tape. ‘The EU surely is in a climate emergency mode,’ Greta Thunberg sarcastically tweeted in response to the news.
The problem is that these flights are operating to protect airlines’ take-off and landing slots at different airports in Europe.