European carriers are flying near-empty planes this winter to keep airport slots


A Boeing 747-8 Lufthansa airplane takes off from the Airport Tegel in Berlin.

Britta Pedersen | AFP | Getty Images

Airlines in Europe this winter are flying passenger planes that are at times nearly empty in order to hold onto coveted take-off and landing spots at airports during a time of lower travel demand.

Recent publicity around this usage requirement has sparked controversy and anger at a time of growing international concern over climate change and the carbon emissions created by the aviation industry.

Airport industry representatives, meanwhile, are defending it, arguing for the need to maintain commercial viability, connectivity and competitiveness.

Airlines have expressed…


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