EUROPE: Bmi to fly empty to keep Heathrow slots

British Midland Airways (bmi) willfly near-empty planes from Heathrow airport later in the year in order to keep their take-off and landing slots- valued at US$1.5 million, the Times has reported. The short-haul trips, known as “ghost flights”, will carry only a handful of passengers but are necessary if the carrier wants to keep its […]


British Midland Airways (bmi) willfly near-empty planes from Heathrow airport later in the year in order to keep their take-off and landing slots- valued at US$1.5 million, the Times has reported.

The short-haul trips, known as “ghost flights”, will carry only a handful of passengers but are necessary if the carrier wants to keep its slots. According to rules that govern slot allocation at Heathrow airport, airlines must use their scheduled slots 80 per cent, otherwise they will forfeit them.

Bmi owns 11 per cent of Heathrow’s take-off slots. The largest holder is British Airways with 41 per cent. Environmental group, Friends of the Earth, reacted to the news by saying that flying near empty planes was akin to “environmental vandalism”.