Aircraft burning fuel in vain due to Coronavirus (Business insider)

Airlines are flying empty ghost planes during the coronavirus crisis due to European legislation that requires operators to run their flights in order to not to lose their slots.

This regulation encourages airlines to spend thousands of liters of fuel flying empty planes in and out of Europe.

Demand for flights is dropping worldwide, and the airline industry warns that the coronavirus crisis could cost $ 113 billion.

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps wrote to air regulators asking them to suspend slot rules so that phantom flights do not continue. Airlines are spending liters of fuel on phantom planes due to the coronavirus crisis, as European legislation encourages operators to lose their flight paths if they keep their planes on the ground.

Demand for flights has fallen worldwide amid growing fear of the coronavirus pandemic. However, under European law, airlines operating on the continent must continue to run 80% of the allocated slots or risk losing them in favor of a competitor. This has led some airlines to fly empty planes in and out of European countries at high costs, according to Times.

On Thursday British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps wrote to the independent airport coordinator requesting that these rules be suspended during the crisis to prevent further economic and environmental damage. “I am particularly concerned that, to satisfy the 80/20 regulation, airlines may be forced to fly aircraft with very low or even empty load levels to maintain their slots”; Shapps wrote to Airport Co-ordination Ltd (ACL) “This scenario is not acceptable. It is not in the interest of the industry, passengers or the environment and should be canceled.”

ACL has already suspended the rule for flights to and from both Hong Kong and China. However, the rule remains in effect for other flights. On Thursday, the Flybe airline filed for bankruptcy. An airline trade group that estimates the crisis could cost $ 113 billion to the industry worldwide.