Ghost Flights: Why do airlines have to operate The flights without passengers?

airlines have to operate flights without passengers

Why would anyone fly a plane that has no 1 on board ? Why would an airline pay a pilot & crew for such a flight why would a commercial airliner fill it is tank with fuel & take off without cargo or passengers?

Does it really happen?

Yes dozens of planes take off in Europe every month that are essentially empty or less than 10 percent of their capacity. These are called ghost flights.

Many airports require airlines to fly at least 80 percent of scheduled flights in order to retain their take off & landing rights.

This gives them up to 20 percent margin for cancellation.

If their operations do not meet this ratio they are forced to fly empty planes without Passengers to maintain slots or risk losing their prime commercial hours for  following year.

Taking off from London at 6am is not quite the same as taking off at 8 or 9am.

Nor is landing in Madrid at 5pm the same as landing at 1am when the metro is already closed & connections to city center are difficult.

Their cost is also not same

Many metro trains in European capitals do not operate at night

Use it or lose it Flight

So in the busiest airports and to manage all air traffic European Commission & the United States US Federal Aviation Administration FAA apply use it slot or lose it rule.

According to the Airports Council International ghost flights are those operated voluntarily by airlines in order to preserve their historic rights to slots.

Body which represents airports interests to governments adds that ghost flights are not offered for sale do not carry passengers & do not generate revenue for airlines.

Many people believe that these ghost flights do not benefit any1 & are an unnecessary and wasteful practice.

System of ghost flights ensures competition between airlines in addition to coordinated allocation of slots at airports to their maximum possible capacity & benefits customers.

New airlines face barriers to market entry

These are flights that a priori, do not make economic sense & are less important environmentally says Diego R. Gonzalez president of the World Association of Airports. In them kerosene is burnt a lot which has a clear impact on climate change.

Conventional & low cost airlines

Commercial aspect is certainly key in this.

Slots are fixed times or shifts says Gonzalez. If they do not use them they are fined. Next year airport authority assigns them to another company & for the airlines it is like losing market share.

For the lawyer there a bidding war between traditional airlines and recent market entrants encouraging carriers to do everything possible to comply with the regulation even if it is  an empty flight.

Airlines that dominate the market do so because they have the best schedules which are the most expensive he says. These are the routes that conveniently reach airports at core times.

Because a dominant carrier that has no scheduled competition on a route does not lower prices.

This business model encourages airlines to fly at low capacity or empty to maintain slots says Willie Walsh director of the International Air Transport Association.

If you fly between 2 airports with regulated capacity you must obtain permission from both to not fly.

Airlines demand more flexibility in this rule

But before flying an empty plane affected airline may also lower prices in an attempt to entice passengers to fly.

According to the International Energy Agency IEA since 2000 emissions have increased by 50 percent & industry is expected to grow by more than 4 percent each year for the next 2 decades.

According to Greenpeace environmental damage from ghost flights in Europe is equivalent to annual emissions of 1.4 million more cars.

The aviation industry has committed to zero carbon emissions by 2050.

This is not case in Latin America

The situation is different in Latin America & the Caribbean.

It is important to keep in mind that this slot system is implemented at limited capacity airports.

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Obviously some countries like Brazil Mexico Peru & Colombia have airports that are congested at certain times but that not happening in this region right now because the capacity of airports has not reached the point where they have restrictions says Gonzalez. need.

Although passenger numbers are improving after pandemic number of aircraft movements has not increased enough to force airports to take measures.