Brussels Airlines makes 3,000 unnecessary flights to maintain airport slots

Brussels Airlines makes 3,000 unnecessary flights to maintain airport slots

Brussels Airlines has operated 3,000 empty or near-empty flights this winter to avoid losing take-off and landing rights at major airports, it has been revealed.

The airline’s parent company, Lufthansa, operated 18,000 flights this winter that would otherwise have been cancelled due to lack of passengers, including 3,000 flights under the Brussels Airlines banner, reports Le Soir and RTBF.

The news has prompted the Belgian federal government to write to the European Commission, urging it to rethink the rules on securing slots.

Before the pandemic hit, the rule was that airlines must operate flights in at least 80% of their scheduled take-off and landing slots, or they risked losing them.

This was revised down to 50% after coronavirus broke out, but this still remains much higher than the actual number of flights needed to meet passenger demand.

Belgium’s federal mobility minister Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo), has written to the European commissioner for transport, Adina Valean, to raise the issue.

Gilkinet said the rules were incomprehensible from an economic and ecological point of view – and the threshold for keeping these sought-after slots should be further reduced to give airlines more flexibility.

Lufthansa plans to cancel 33,000 scheduled flights by the end of March due to a drop in bookings caused by the omicron variant of coronavirus.

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2 thoughts on “Brussels Airlines makes 3,000 unnecessary flights to maintain airport slots

  1. Aditya avatar
    ยท January 6, 2022 at 2:49 am

    This is not just something that this airline does. There are MANY airlines that do that, especially internationally, but also domestically in the USA. The reason you likely aren't aware is that you fly at times when the routes are popular.

    In the USA there is also a totally different issue, Congressional pork barrel that, e.g., subsidizes a route or even whole airline that serves the interest of a single Congressman so he does not have to take longer routes or fly on limited schedules. There are even famous instances of whole airports being built/funded for that very reason.

  2. Aditya avatar

    When I think of global warming it's stuff like this that makes me chuckle. I can try to reduce my emissions, but the system is built for unlimited fuel burning. Leaving the oven on with the door open so you don't miss your chance to bake cookies.