As the climate crisis unfolds, there are reports of empty planes flying from one EU airport to another to keep airlines’ take-off and landing rights. Major airlines - such as Brussels Airlines and Lufthansa - claim that they will fly thousands of empty planes this year, while Greenpeace estimates that the total number could be as high as 100 000 empty flights this winter. These ghost flights are a disaster for the planet and completely unnecessary!
This is because the European Union imposes an obligation on airlines to use their slots at least 80% of the time in order to maintain their parking spots. If they fly less, even when there is a massive drop in demand, they risk losing their slots - which are extremely valuable for airlines . This threshold was dropped to 50% during the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 but is now set to be increased to 64% until October 2022.
Even though there are far fewer people travelling now than before the pandemic, current regulations encourage airlines to fly empty planes in Europe - at the cost of destroying the planet.
This EU regulation undermines the efforts of millions of citizens - young and old - who fight the climate crisis every day and do what they can to protect our planet for future generations.
The European Union and its member states have the power to change the rules to stop ghost flights and encourage more environmentally friendly transport. Let's join our voices and get rid of unnecessary ghost flights.
We demand that the European Union and its member states: