Airlines have wasted thousands of gallons of fuel running empty ‘ghost’ flights because of European rules saying operators can lose their flight slots if they keep their planes on the ground.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, demand for flights has collapsed across the globe, because of people’s growing fear (or incapability) of travelling or even leaving their house.
Under Europe's rules, airlines operating out of the continent must continue to run 80 per cent of their allocated slots or else they risk losing them to a competitor, which is why companies keep on flying empty planes (at huge costs).
On Thursday, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps wrote to Airport Coordination Limited (ACL) asking for the rules to be suspended during the outbreak to prevent further environmental and economic damage.
ACL has already suspended the rules for flights to and from Hong Kong and mainland China. However, they remain for all other flights. The International Air Transport Association has estimated that the outbreak could cost airlines $113 billion worldwide.