Reply to a Parliamentary Question shows during 18 months of…

reply-to-a-parliamentary-question-shows-during-18-months-of…

Reply to a Parliamentary Question shows during 18 months of…

Reply to a Parliamentary Question shows during 18 months of Covid, around 15,000 “ghost flights” flew from UK airports
2022-02-24 19:06:00
It has been difficult to obtain the data, from airlines, of the number of flights they operate that have no passengers, or are under 10% capacity. These are termed ghost flights, and are a terrible unnecessary source of carbon emissions. Now MP Alex Sobel has asked a parliamentary question, replied to by Robert Courts (Aviation Minister), giving some recent date for the UK. The responses, through the DfT and CAA, was that almost 15,000 “ghost flights” took off from the 32 UK airports between March 2020 and September 2021.  Heathrow was top, with 4,910 ghost flights in that 18 month period.  Manchester and Gatwick were the next highest. There were an average of 760 ghost flights a month over the period, although the data covered only international departure and not domestic flights. During the pandemic the slot use rules that had required 80% of slots to be used were completely suspended. Airlines did not have to operate flights to retain the slots, but nonetheless flew about 14,470 ghost flights. This was partly as demand for flying was so low, planes flew with just a handful of passengers. .Tweet   Airline emissions Almost 15,000 ‘ghost flights’ have left UK since pandemic began Exclusive: Thousands of near-empty planes flown since March 2020, new figures reveal By Damian Carrington,  Environment editor  (The Guardian)  @dpcarrington Tue 22 Feb 2022 Almost 15,000 “ghost flights” have departed from the UK, according to newly revealed official figures.  [Link to the data ]   The ghost flights, defined as those with no passengers or less than 10% of passenger capacity, operated from all 32 airports listed in the data. See link for better quality image Heathrow was top, with 4,910 ghost flights between March 2020 and September 2021. Manchester and Gatwick were the next highest. There were an average of 760 ghost flights a month over the period, although the data covered only international departure and not domestic flights. Flying is one of the most carbon-intensive activities people can undertake and ghost flights have angered those campaigning for action on the climate crisis. The German airline Lufthansa recently warned it would have to fly 18,000 “unnecessary” flights by March in order to keep its landing slots at airports. Under current rules, airlines lose their valuable slots if they are not sufficiently used. However, during the pandemic-hit period covered by the new UK data, the rules that had required 80% of slots to be used were completely suspended. Airlines did not have to operate flights to retain the slots, but nonetheless flew 14,472 ghost flights. “Flights may operate with a low number of passengers for a range of reasons,” said the aviation minister Robert Courts, who produced the data in response to a parliamentary question. “Since the onset of the pandemic, the government has provided alleviation from the normal slot regulations. This means that airlines have not been required to operate empty or almost empty flights solely to retain their historic slots rights.” The Labour MP Alex Sobel, who asked the question and is chair of the net zero all-party parliamentary group, said: “To really tackle the climate emergency we need to ensure that our aviation sector is as efficient as it can be with its carbon output.”  Slot rules were partially restored in October 2021, requiring 50% usage, and this will rise to 70% at the end of March. Anna Hughes, at Flight Free UK and whose parliamentary petitio

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