Delta Slammed for Transatlantic 'Ghost Flights'

Empty planes flown from LA to London to be disinfected before flights to Australia
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2009 1:28 AM CDT
A Delta Air Lines plane flies into Portland International Airport.   (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
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(Newser) – Delta Air Lines' practice of flying empty passenger planes almost halfway around the world just to be disinfected has outraged environmentalists, the Guardian reports. Australia requires that inbound planes be sprayed with insecticide to combat malaria and other diseases. But Delta isn't allowed to carry out the treatment in the US, so it sends empty Boeing 777 planes to London to be sprayed before they return to start the Los Angeles-Sydney route.

The practice demonstrates the "wanton" attitude of airlines toward global warming, charge spokesmen for the environmental group Campaign for Better Transport. The airline plans to stop the "ghost flights" to Heathrow at the end of this month, but will then send its jets to China for treatment instead.