As coronavirus infections rise around the globe, demand for air travel is projected to hit its lowest point since the last financial crisis. Airlines around the world could lose up to $113 billion in revenue this year if COVID-19 continues to spread, the International Air Transport Association forecast on Thursday.
Under existing European rules airlines operating out of the continent must continue to run 80% of their allocated slots or risk losing them to a competitor. This has led to some operators flying empty planes in and out of European countries at huge costs, the Times of London newspaper reported.
So Airlines are wasting thousands of gallons of jet fuel running empty ‚ghost‘ planes during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Shapps’ letter to British air regulators asked them to suspend the 80/20 rule during the coronavirus crisis. The IATA has also requested that global air regulators suspend the rule until the fall, so that “airlines can respond to market conditions with appropriate capacity levels, avoiding any need to run empty services in order to maintain slots.”
For reference, the average round-trip flight for a single passenger from Heathrow to Hong Kong produces about 1.82 metric tons of CO2, according to a flight emission calculator by The Guardian. That is more carbon pollution than the average person would emit in an entire year in 81 countries around the world.