Slots waiver extended to tackle carbon-intensive ‘ghost flights’

The measure allows airlines to keep their rights to slots even if they don’t operate flights at least 80% of the time

The Big Zero report

The government has legislated to extend a measure that has been offered to airlines to avoid operating carbon inefficient ‘ghost flights’.

These are flights that, under the current circumstances of the Covid-19 restrictions, carry fewer passengers than usual and are operated mainly to allow airlines to keep their rights to airport slots.

The legislation to extend the waiver will come into force from 26th March and is expected to provide flexibility, ensuring that airlines do not have to operate flights at least 80% of the time to retain their slots.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “I want to restart international travel as soon as it is safe and the slots waiver is a critical part of making that happen.

“With airlines flying a smaller proportion of their usual schedules, the waiver means carriers can reserve their finances, reduce the need for environmentally damaging ‘ghost flights’ and allow normal services to immediately restart when the pandemic allows.”

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