At this point of the climate crisis, there’s no excuse for ‘ghost flights’

A petition is calling for the eradication of the practice of flying empty planes – and about time too, writes Helen Coffey

Friday 21 January 2022 21:30
<p>Ghost flights are when planes fly empty to keep a route active</p>

Ghost flights are when planes fly empty to keep a route active

If I were to tell you that, over the next couple of months, one single airline group is gearing up to operate 18,000 completely empty flights, you might have questions. Questions like: What the actual f***?

I’m with you, buddy. It doesn’t make much sense to me either. And yet that’s exactly what Lufthansa Group – which owns airlines including Lufthansa, Brussels Airlines, Swiss International Airlines and Austrian Airlines – announced it was doing. And it’s far from the only one. Other major flag carriers all over Europe will be running similar schedules of passenger-less planes – a phenomenon known as “ghost flights” .

So, why on earth are they doing it? It’s an expensive business, getting an aircraft airborne – and the only thing that makes it financially worthwhile is a high load-factor of fully paid-up travellers.

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