Brussels Airlines Flew 3,000 Empty Flights This Winter, All To Maintain Spots At Major Airports

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Jan 07, 2022 - 09:15 AM

Investing question: how "ESG" is it for an airline to operate to the tune of 3,000 unnecessary flights, all of which are burning jet fuel, simply to keep take-off and landing rights at major airports?

Because that's exactly what's going on with Brussels Airlines, according to news from Belgium's The Bulletin. 

The airline's parent company, Lufthansa, reportedly operated 18,000 flights over the winter that would have otherwise been cancelled due to lack of passengers, the report says. Brussels Airlines accounted for 3,000 of those flights. 

As a result, the Belgian federal government has contacted the European Commission, urging it to change its rules for how airlines secure rights at major airports. 

Previously, the rule was that "airlines must operate flights in at least 80% of their scheduled take-off and landing slots", the report says. Post-Covid, the requirement dropped to 50%, which is still far above the actual number of flights that would meet demand from passengers. 

Belgium's federal mobility minister Georges Gilkinet called the rules "incomprehensible from an economic and ecological point of view" and called for a further reduction of the threshold. 

Meanwhile, Lufthansa still plans to cancel 33,000 scheduled flights by the end of March.