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Thousands of planes from some of Europe’s biggest airlines have been forced to fly empty planes in order to keep their prized departure and landing times at major airports.

Europe’s second biggest carrier, Lufthansa reports it had to operate 18,000 ‘ghost flights’ over the winter. Around 3000 of those flights were from the carrier’s subsidiary, Brussels Airlines. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

In a statement from Lufthansa said “Without this crisis-related flexibility, airlines are forced to fly with planes almost empty, just to secure their slots,”.

Despite this, a senior spokesman for the European Commission – the executive branch of the EU – Stefan De Keersmaecker – has refuted the claims of airlines being forced to operate ghost flights. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

He quoted data and forecasts from Eurocontrol which reported initial traffic from 2022 was at 77 per cent of pre-pandemic rates. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});