THE practice of airlines flying empty planes to keep coveted flight slots has been slammed by a Mallorcan politician.

The deputy for MES in Mallorca, Josep Ferra, is calling for the end of so-called ‘ghost flights’, calling them an ‘environmental outrage’ – and has put the blame on the EU.

The term ‘ghost flights’ refers to the slots given to airlines, which are renewed as long as they meet 50% to 80% of their commitments, in the EU’s ‘use it or lose it’ policy.  

As many flights have a low demand, especially during the pandemic, this means that companies fly planes without passengers to ensure they keep the routes.

Now he has presented an initiative in parliament to urge the European Union to modify the regulations.

He said “How is it possible that it is a European law that causes flights without passengers with the environmental cost that this causes?

“The economic and environmental cost will be enormous. Lufthansa alone has announced 18,000 ghost flights for the next few months,” said Ferra.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary has also called out Lufthansa over ghost flights,  saying: “The German and EU public have already bailed out Lufthansa with billions of state aid to Lufthansa and their subsidiaries, Brussels Airlines, Swiss and Austrian, and instead of operating empty flights just so they can block slots, Lufthansa should release the seats on these flights for sale at low fares to reward the German and European taxpayers who have subsidised it with billions during the COVID-19 crisis.”

O’Leary added: “Lufthansa loves crying crocodile tears about the environment when doing everything possible to protect its slots.”

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