Coronavirus has struck fear across the entire world, and the widespread consequences of this concern are starting to become apparent. It has now been revealed that planes have been flying around Europe without any passengers.
Strict industry policy means that planes must continue to fly despite the complete lack of passengers that are attempting to avoid contracting the virus.
Due to Europe’s “use it or lose it” policy for flight slots, completely empty planes have been flying across the continent.
It makes sense that passengers are hesitant to fly, however, airlines are not cancelling flights in response to that lack of demand. If airlines don’t have flights during the times allocated to them, they risk losing the spot to a competitor. As such, they’ve been continuing to fly during the coronavirus outbreak, despite there being no one on their planes.
The policy dates back decades and has never been majorly problematic. But on Monday, the EU’s transportation secretary wrote to the EU Commission to change the regulations due to concerns over the environmental impact of the overwhelming number of empty flights. With air travel accounting for 2.5% of global carbon emissions, and copious amounts of fuel being burnt even though nobody is travelling, these environmental concerns are most certainly called for.
It is obvious that the air transport industry will struggle with an estimated loss of $113 billion due to the Coronavirus crisis. Gary Kelly, the CEO of Southwest Airlines, said:
“At the end of last week, we started seeing very sharp declines. It has a 9/11-like feel.”
More than 100,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been reported with concerns surrounding it having detrimental impacts on many industries, causing a newfound racial tension, and not to mention the health and safety of people all over the world. Here’s to hoping the crisis is averted sooner rather than later.