This is completely insane!
Airlines are forced to run empty “ghost” flights during the coronavirus outbreak as European rules force operators to run their allocated flights or risk losing their slots.
Demand for flights has collapsed worldwide, with one airline-industry group saying the coronavirus outbreak could wipe out up to $113 billion in sales.
Meanwhile airlines have wasted thousands of gallons of fuel running empty “ghost” flights because of European rules saying airlines operating out of the continent must continue to run 80% of their allocated slots or risk losing them to a competitor.
This has led to some operators flying empty planes into and out of European countries at huge costs.
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps wrote to flight regulators demanding that the “use it or lose it” rules be suspended to stop the ghost flights to prevent further environmental and economic damage, adding:
“I am particularly concerned that, in order to satisfy the 80/20 rule, airlines may be forced to fly aircraft at very low load factors, or even empty, in order to retain their slots. Such a scenario is not acceptable. It is not in the industry’s, the passengers’ or the environment’s interest and must be avoided.“
The rules already have been suspended for flights to and from Hong Kong and mainland China. However, they remain for all other flights. More economic collapse news on Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle. [The Times]