Green Activists Bash BA for 'Ghost Flights'

Airline flies empty 747s across Atlantic to keep time slots
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2007 12:28 PM CST
British Airways planes parked at Heathrow Airport in London, in this Aug. 1, 2007 file photo.   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Like most airlines, British Airways says it wants to cut carbon emissions to head off global warming. But BA is flying dozens of planes across the Atlantic without any passengers as a tactic to maintain lucrative time slots at London's airport, the Telegraph reports. Environmentalists have bashed the airline for its "ghost flights"—at least six in the past 10 days.

London's airports assign takeoff and landing slots on a "use it or lose it" basis, and BA, short of cabin staff, has been forced to fly passengerless jets, some of them 747s, as far as Los Angeles. Said a Greenpeace spokesman: "Thousands of tons of carbon dioxide are being leaked out needlessly just so they can keep their slots."