The bizarre flights from Heathrow which purposely flew to Wales and back 6 times a week without a single passenger on board
Now that Covid-19 restrictions have started to ease, planning a sunny overseas getaway is easier than it has been for some time.
When we imagine an exciting airplane trip, sitting side by side with strangers on a crowded plane is the image that comes to mind.
But surprisingly, we know that planes fly over the United Kingdom without any passengers.
READ MORE: Why Heathrow Airport Has ‘Empty’ Ghost Planes Flying Due To Covid-19
In the mid-2000s, a number of flights were departing from London heathrow airport in Cardiff without a single passenger on board.
From the online trivia magazine Mental Floss, in 2007, these so-called “ghost flights” caused a stir among environmentalists when it became clear how many were leaving London’s busiest airport.
At least six times a week, British Mediterranean Airways, which no longer exists, is said to have sent planes into the air without any passengers from London to Wales. The planes would then leave the next day.
The reason for these weird ghost flights is believed to be due to Heathrow’s highly sought after runway slots.
The airport, of course, wants a third runway, but right now there are only two and that means prime locations can be in high demand.
Back then, airlines were only allowed to keep their slots if they used them a certain number of times every six months.
If they didn’t keep those numbers, they risked assigning their landing slots to another airline.
So British Mediterranean Airways had the not very climate-friendly idea of launching a few fast flights to Wales just so as not to risk losing the slots they really wanted.
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While the demise of the airline prevented these empty flights from happening, ghost flights still seem to be rampant around the world despite our current awareness of environmental damage.
Last March, for example, at the start of the Covid pandemic, Virgin Atlantic confirmed that it was forced to operate near empty flights after reservations were rocked by the coronavirus outbreak.
He was exploiting them to retain take-off and landing slots at major airports such as Heathrow, because under EU law if flights were not carried out valuable slots had to be lost.
Have you ever heard of these ghost flights? Let us know in the comments below.
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