Ryanair has today (Wed 12 Jan) called on the European Commission to ignore Lufthansa’s false claims about operating “ghost flights” just so they can “block” their slots and protect themselves from competition from low fare airlines. The solution is simple, Lufthansa should sell the seats on these flights at low fares, and reward EU consumers many of whom have funded the €12bn of State Aid that Lufthansa and their subsidiaries in Belgium, Austria and Switzerland have already received from hard-pressed taxpayers over the last 2 years of the Covid crisis.
Lufthansa complains about “ghost flights”, not because of concerns about the environment, but rather so they can further save the slot regime to protect their slots, which they aren’t using, while eliminating competition and consumer choice.
Ryanair’s Group CEO Michael O’Leary said:
“The solution to Lufthansa’s “ghost flights” problem is a simple one – just sell these seats to consumers. If Lufthansa really needs to operate these flights (solely to prevent the release of these slots to competitor airlines), then they should be required to sell these seats to the public at low fares. The German and EU public have already bailed out Lufthansa with billions of State Aid to Lufthansa and their subsidiaries, Brussels Airlines, Swiss and Austrian, and instead of operating empty flights just so they can block slots, Lufthansa should release the seats on these flights for sale at low fares to reward the German and European taxpayers who have subsidized it with €billions during the Covid crisis.
Lufthansa loves crying crocodile tears about the environment when doing everything possible to protect its slots. Slots are the way it blocks competition and limits choice at big hub airports like Frankfurt, Brussels Zaventem, Vienna, among others. If Lufthansa doesn’t want to operate “ghost flights” to protect its slots, then simply sell these seats at low fares, and help accelerate the recovery of short and long haul air travel to and from Europe.
In the meantime, Ryanair again calls on the European Commission to force Lufthansa and other State subsidised airlines to release slots that they do not wish to use, so that low fare GHOSTBUSTERS like Ryanair, among others, can offer choice, competition, and lower fares at these hub airports. The EU should ignore Lufthansa’s disingenuous claims about “ghost flights” when the solution is simple – sell the seats on these flights and then they will no longer need to be ‘afraid of no ghost’ flights”.