Germany’s Lufthansa and Ireland’s ultra-low-cost airline Ryanair have been at loggerheads with each other two weeks ago over the environmental impact of take-off rules in Europe.
Ryanair has accused Lufthansa of running “ghost flights” as well as making false claims about climate concerns to dominate competition, TheSchengen.com reports.
A “use it or lose it” rule adopted by the European Union Commission has allowed leading airlines to maintain access to the airport during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite a significant drop in air traffic.
This thing has caused protests from low-cost competitors, including Ryanair and Wizz Air, who claim these slots should be available to low-cost airlines.
“Instead of only operating empty flights so they can block certain time slots, Lufthansa should release seats on these flights for sale at low prices to reward German and European taxpayers,” said Ryanair’s CEO.
A Lufthansa spokesperson said the airline has never spoken out regarding these ghost flights in response to the accusations.
Under rules set by the European Union, airlines must use at least 80 percent of their slots in order to be able to keep them for the next year.
These rules have been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions imposed around the world. However, the authorities decided to partially return the rules.
In response to all the allegations, a European Commission official said that its use or loss in Europe has not caused any inconvenience to airlines during the pandemic. The same claimed that there was no evidence that the airlines, in this case, Lufthansa, were operating empty flights.
The official said the situation created was an unnecessary hype while adding that travel from one country to another was relatively unrestricted and net bookings were stable.
Furthermore, the EU official said they see no reason for Lufthansa to operate empty flights just to keep their flights, stressing that the decision to keep a flight in the air is a commercial one.
Previously, TheSchengen.com reported that the European Union is under pressure to lift travel restrictions because airlines are operating many empty flights. In addition to the pressure, the reluctance of passengers to travel due to the Omicron variable indicates that it will be difficult to reach the pre-pandemic level.
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