An additional 35,000 commercial flights have flown almost empty since 2019, with less than 10 percent of the seats filled, according to an analysis of data from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). This means a total of about 40,000 “ghost passages” a The Guardian according to his information.
In one quarter, 62 empty planes left Luton Airport for Poland, while another quarter saw 663 near-empty flights from Heathrow Airport to the United States and back. Both quarters were during the coronavirus epidemic.
Aviation generates more carbon dioxide emissions per hour than any other consumer activity and is dominated by a minority of frequent travelers, making it the focus of climate campaigns. They called the ghost flights “shocking” and said there should be a tax on jet fuel. The UK government classifies ghost flights as ‘environmentally harmful’.
There were 130 completely empty flights per month
The reasons behind empty-launched aircraft are known only to the airlines, but they do not release any data to explain the practice. The new figures provide the most complete picture of the number of British ghost flights to date, as previous figures only included international departures. They now include both international and domestic flights. The CAA will now publish this data on a quarterly basis.
Publishing the data is a step in the right direction, but we need more transparency to understand why these inefficient, polluting practices continue and to hold the main culprits, the airlines, accountable
said Tim Johnson of the Aviation Environment Federation. He added that, given the climate emergency, it is quite shocking to discover that so many nearly empty planes are burning fossil fuels and adding to the carbon dioxide build-up in the atmosphere.
A spokesman for the Department of Transport said it would work with the CAA to monitor aircraft utilization and seek greater transparency on ghost flights.
According to the data, since 2019, there have been an average of 130 completely empty flights per month. The number of empty flights remained at a similar level before, during and after the travel restrictions due to the pandemic, the second highest level was in the second quarter of 2022.
(Cover photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)