What are ‘ghost flights’ and why are they fuelling the climate crisis?

AN IMPORTANT airline has revealed it’s making 18,000 useless flights this iciness, prompting environmentalists to name for regulations around Europe’s airport slots to be reviewed.

The Lufthansa Crew – which includes Brussels Airways, Austrian Airways, Eurowings and Swiss – is having to fly “empty” aircraft just to keep its take-off and touchdown rights at European airports.

Belgium’s federal mobility minister Georges Gilkinet suggested the european Commission (EC) to put a prevent to this “environmental, economic and social nonsense” the day past, after it emerged that 3,000 of those “ghost flights” have been from Brussels Airlines’ planes.

Greta Thunberg is among those taking fireplace at the so-called “use it or lose it rule” which drives the problem. “the eu certainly is in a local weather emergency mode…” she tweeted sarcastically.

”Brussels Airways makes THREE,000 unnecessary flights to keep up airport slots”

the ecu definitely is in a climate emergency mode…https://t.co/eHLFrd06y0

— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) January FIVE, 2022

Campaign workforce Keep Grounded known as the empty planes a flagrant instance of “bull**** flights” – among which it also includes brief-haul journeys, personal jets and house tourism.

“it seems just like the proven fact that we’re in a severe local weather predicament and that flights are the quickest option to fry the planet has no longer yet arrived in the heads of resolution makers and airlines,” the group tells Euronews Green.

“If it had, empty flights wouldn’t be allowed anymore.”

So what is the purpose in those position-holder flights – and what’s their value to the climate?

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Why do airways have to take care of their airport slots?

Currently, airways should function flights in no less than 50 in step with cent in their scheduled take-off and landing slots, or risk losing them. This threshold was once revised down from the standard 80 in line with cent while the pandemic hit in 2020, but is set to be raised up to 64 in line with cent from the tip of March till the top of October 2022.

Announcing the amendment on 15 December, the EC stated that air site visitors estimates counsel the skies might be virtually NINETY in step with cent as busy this year as in 2019. But with airlines continuing to take a success on account of Omicron critics say the guideline is still too strict. Lufthansa alone has said it plans to cancel 33,000 scheduled flights by way of the end of March.

At occasions during the pandemic, airport runways have essentially been airplane-parking facilities. But in busier times, these spots are a treasured commodity for companies who vie for his or her share of air space.

The 80/20 rule (because it’s most often known) is set allocating scarce airport capacity successfully, says the Global Air Transport Affiliation (IATA). It gives airlines the security to promote tickets nearly a 12 months prematurely, allowing customers to e book trips within the lengthy-term.

Lynne Sladky/AP PhotoLufthansa is making 18,000 unnecessary flights this wintry weather to maintain its airport slots.Lynne Sladky/AP Photo

No mention is made of the climate impact in IATA’s explanatory truth sheet. So is it in point of fact the most efficient manner of doing things?

An not going alliance of airlines and environmentalists assume not. chatting with Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper closing month, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr defined the 18,000 journeys as “empty, needless flights.”

And the air company’s EMEA spokesperson Boris Ogurksy tells Euronews Green that more flexibility is needed this winter.

“Other areas of the arena are taking a more pragmatic method right here, for instance in the US by briefly suspending slot rules due the present pandemic scenario. That benefits the local weather and the airways.”

Ogursky also clarifies that each one 18,000 Lufthansa flights will raise some passengers or shipment, so don’t seem to be totally empty.

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What climate baggage do these ‘pointless’ flights carry?

the problem of empty – or near-empty – flights, extends beyond the German-based totally provider. Different leading airlines together with KLM and Air France say they are depending on additional flexibility from the EC to bypass those unnecessarily polluting journeys.

It’s been an ongoing downside given that March 2020, while a couple of vendors retained their commonplace flight frequency for weeks merely to keep slots at hub airports across Europe, the Irish Examiner suggested. On The time, Cork airport went from managing up to 15,000 passengers an afternoon to only 40.

As activists have talked about, the EC’s inflexibility flies in the face of the ecu Green Deal commitment to chop carbon emissions from the transport sector by way of NINETY in step with cent through 2050.

Fact take a look at: How green used to be British Airways’ sustainable aviation gas flight?

Such A Lot, however now not all, of Lufthansa’s 18,000 “ghost” flights are working in Europe nevertheless it can be difficult to calculate their actual environmental cost.

Catherine Livesley, founder of No Fly Go Back And Forth Membership says, “a brief-haul flight on a 737 emits roughly 18 a whole bunch CO2 in line with hour – that is nearly twice what a regular Ecu citizen emits in a whole year.

“it sort of feels incomprehensible that we actively require airways to provide those big emissions simply to safe touchdown slots – even at 50 in line with cent of ordinary capacity.

“Airlines and airports should make it a priority to seek out a better resolution – and will be incentivised by governments to do so”.

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