As per a report in The Bulletin, Lufthansa Group has confirmed that it has flown as many as 18,000 flights empty, including 3,000 Brussels Airlines services to avoid losing take-off and landing slots.
It is worth mentioning that according to the EU rules, airlines are required to operate a certain percentage of scheduled flights to keep their slots at major airports.
Under these “use it or lose it” regulations, prior to the pandemic carriers had to utilize at least 80 percent of their scheduled take-off and landing slots.
After the coronavirus broke out, the rule was revised down to 50 percent, but this still remains much higher than the actual number of flights needed to meet passenger demand.
Belgium’s federal mobility minister Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo), has written to the European commissioner for transport, Adina Valean, to raise the issue.
Gilkinet said, “The rules were incomprehensible from an economic and ecological point of view – and the threshold for keeping these sought-after slots should be further reduced to give airlines more flexibility.”
Lufthansa plans to cancel 33,000 scheduled flights by the end of March due to a drop in bookings caused by the omicron variant of coronavirus.