Airlines flying empty planes to keep flight slots

Posted on 10 March 2020

The coronavirus outbreak has drastically affected the global travel industry. People are taking caution by not flying internationally, to avoid contracting the virus. As a result, airlines have to fly empty planes in order to keep their coveted fight slots.

According to European aviation rules, flight operators can lose their slots if planes remain grounded. Airlines that operate outside of the continent have to run 80% of their allocated slots or forfeit the spot to a competitor.

Majority of the planes being forced to fly ghost planes are British airlines according to The Times (London). Carrier planes are flying without a single passenger so as not to lose their slot.

British transport secretary, Grant Shapps, has written to the European independent airport slot co-ordinator requesting for the regulations to be relaxed. His concerns surround the environmental impact that flying empty airplanes have, due to the amount of fuel being burned. He is calling for the rule to be temporarily postponed until Autumn, when the drop in passenger numbers is expected to end.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has extended the quarantine measures to the entire country. Nobody will be able to leave unless they have special permission. Italians are ordered to stay indoors at home to protect citizens and to prevent the virus from spreading.

Confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in all 20 Italian regions, according to the BBC.

Image: Unsplash


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