Ghost Planes

So BA is running ghost flights, empty planes, so that it can keep its slots at the London airports:

Some of the aircraft are thought to be Boeing 747s, which when full carry between 500 and 600 passengers. Every return flight from London to New York generates about 1.3 tonnes of CO2.

That would be 1.3 tonnes per passenger they\’re not carrying actually.

A spokesman from Greenpeace said: "It\’s pretty outrageous that BA are flying these empty flights half way across the world whilst saying they’re trying to cut down on CO2 emissions.

"They should be setting a leading example. Thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide are being leaked out needlessly just so they can keep their slots."

"Just so they can keep their slots" is not "needlessly". It might be a need you don\’t understand, it might be a need you don\’t approve of, but it\’s not "no need".

6 comments on “Ghost Planes

  1. Time for a proper market in slots??

    Green as well as economically efficient. Unfortunately Greenpeace would not be able to understand an economically rational solution to an environmental problem.

  2. BA could easily sell tickets for seats on these planes as stand-by or by auction, Dutch or otherwise, thus covering the cost of flying the plane and, at least, providing some passenger miles for the fuel consumed.

  3. I remember going to California once, the outbound journey was horrendous, an overbooked plane and we got bumped off our window seats, my wife was veggie at the time (for dietary reasons) and consequently lost her meal.

    The homebound journey was amazingly different, in fact, every passenger had a window seat, most had an entire row of seats to themselves.

    Are these “empty” flights in fact scheduled planes on the return leg ?

    Isn’t it the same with bus and train transport and road haulage, we always cost everything, including emissions, on the assumption the journey is two way and more often double the figures to account for it ?

    The other issue I want to know is whose carbon is it exactly when a plane flies from one country to another, over several other countries, I suspect groups like Greenpeace do a bit of double accounting.

  4. “Some of the aircraft are thought to be Boeing 747s, which when full carry between 500 and 600 passengers”

    Err, no (this is the same misconception that was reported on the A380 launch, suggesting that the new plane’s capacity was scarcely an improvement on the B747) – a BA 747, with extensive space dedicated to First, Club and Premium Economy, carries less than 300 passengers. If you’re going to use the 500-600 charter capacity, you might as well go for broke and use the 1100 Ethiopians maximum ever recorded…

    “BA could easily sell tickets for seats on these planes as stand-by or by auction, Dutch or otherwise, thus covering the cost of flying the plane and, at least, providing some passenger miles for the fuel consumed.”

    No they couldn’t – the planes don’t have any cabin crew, because BA are suffering from a shortage of cabin crew, which is why they’re not operating in passenger service. It would be illegal, for reasonably good reasons, for them to carry passengers. [I wonder if they’re carrying cargo in the hold?]

  5. Thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide are being leaked out needlessly …

    I’d not want to be on the aircraft which decided there was no need to leak out carbon dioxide.

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