BA flying empty ‘ghost planes’ across Atlantic

(13.11.2007   Telegraph)

British Airways is shuttling dozens of empty planes across the Atlantic because
it has a shortage of cabin crew, it has emerged.   The “phantom” services have
been flying between Britain and Canada and the US over the past 2 weeks in order
to retain valuable slots at London’s airports.   Several BA passenger flights took
off without a single passenger, using up thousands of tonnes of jet fuel.   BA
will now pass on the soaring cost of oil to customers by increasing its fuel surcharge
on all flights.

Environmentalists accused the airline of “hypocrisy”, saying the strategy underlined
the aviation sector’s indifference to the fight against global warming.

On Nov 4, BA flight 179 crossed the Atlantic to New York completely empty.

Another passengerless jet, BA flight 176, later flew back from the US to Heathrow

According to ITV News, two further empty planes left Heathrow at the weekend
– flights 093 to Toronto and 279 to Los Angeles.

At least two other empty flights – including one from Gatwick to Houston, Texas
– have departed in recent days, it was reported.

A spokesman for British Airways admitted the airline had been having problems
rostering cabin crew.

A  spokesman from Greenpeace said: “It’s pretty outrageous that BA are flying
these empty flights half way across the world whilst saying they’re trying to
cut down on CO2 emissions.

“They should be setting a leading example. Thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide
are being leaked out needlessly just so they can keep their slots.”

Meanwhile, BA announced fuel surcharges would go up from £8 to £10 on short-haul
flights, while passengers on flights of up to nine hours face a £48 fuel charge
– a £10 increase.

BA raised the fuel surcharge on longer flights by £15, adding £58 to the price
of a ticket.
Story also in the Daily Mail