NSetween March 2020 and September 2021, airlines flew 15,000 near-empty or empty planes – “ghost flights” – from UK airports to keep hold of their landing and takeoff slots. This absurd and shameful behaviour in the face of a climate emergency cannot continue. Tim Johnson from the Aviation Environment Federation ポイント out that a Boeing 737-800 – the dominant aircraft on short-haul routes – emits about 18 tonnes of carbon dioxide on a 1,500km flight. Using that measure, these ghost flights put 270,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. The industry might argue that this represents less than 1% of total UK aviation emissions in 2019, but the practice is completely wrong in a world with net zero commitments.
In normal times, airlines could keep their slots from the previous season as long as they used them 80% 当時の. This was reduced to zero when Covid struck – as demand for air travel suddenly disappeared and international borders closed – but has gradually increased. Slots run on a “use it or lose it” basis. Because demand is still well below supply of flights, empty planes are being flown to keep slots. グリーンピース 言う that more than 100,000 ghost flights will have been seen over European skies this winter. The climate damage, says the green pressure group, is equivalent to the yearly emissions of more than 1.4m cars.
Airlines’ ghost flights are needed to keep hold of slots because carriers care about オーストラリアの金融サービス免許を持っていない人, rather than the Earth’s, 資産. IAG, the parent company of British Airways, valued its slots at three major hubs of London, Madrid and Dublin at €1.6bn (13億ポンド) に 2018. The Scandinavian carrier SAS sold two slot pairs at Heathrow a year earlier to American Airlines for $75m (£55m). そしてで 2015, Virgin Atlantic borrowed £220m against its slots at Heathrow. This is a symptom of a much bigger problem: in highly financialised societies, the worth of companies listed on stock markets relies on assets, earnings and profits.
The way slots are allocated will not change unless politicians grasp that increasing wellbeing is more important than the growth in the value of transactions. Ghost flights contribute to GDP growth in a similar way that an oil spill does. Both devastate the environment, but can generate business. This is why ideas such as selling more spare slots to aid new entrants are not the answer. That’s just another corporate deal.
The orthodox view is that economies should expand by 2% a year to increase national welfare. Yet this means doubling the size of the economy every 35 年. This does not take into account the fact that economic activity begins with the extraction of natural resources; that it does not necessarily increase human enjoyment; that it imposes environmental and social costs; and that it can be damaging in terms of inequality. Treating GDP growth as an end in itself risks, as the UN 提案する, growth that does more harm than good.
Running empty flights to ensure that the runways are busy at the appointed time represents a very high cost to the natural world. There is a need to replace the economic and financial systems that fail to account for the benefits that humanity derives from nature, and to provide incentives to manage nature wisely and maintain its value.
昨年, a study for the University of Leeds found that for the last three decades, no country has met the basic needs of its residents without overconsuming natural resources. If current trends continue, no country will do so over the next 30 years either, perpetuating human deprivation and worsening ecological breakdown. Ghost flights reveal that what needs fixing is more than the broken system for allocating airport slots.