Ryanair has been operating ghost flights in order to prove that their aircraft are still flying, operating short trips but as an empty aircraft.
Many airlines have decided to ground their fleets, but the Irish low-cost carrier has continued to fly their aircraft every four days to maintain operational availability. If an aircraft is grounded for a significant amount of time, they are required to go through checks before returning to service making it unavailable for longer.
Therefore, Ryanair has chosen to fly most of its grounded fleet for a short amount of time in order to avoid these checks, taking off and then immediately returning in most cases.
With Ryanair claiming to be the greenest airline in Europe, this decision has questioned the airlines impact on the environment. Despite having only emitting 69g of CO2 per passenger per kilometre, these ghost flights are still producing carbon dioxide.
An airline spokesperson stated that “in order to ensure our aircraft are serviceable for both passenger repatriation flights and essential flights for the transportation of urgent medical supplies, some of our crew and aircraft must remain available and serviceable in line with Boeing requirements and EASA regulations.”
The airline does not expect to operate the majority of its flights until June at the earliest which could mean a consequence of two months of aircraft emissions without passengers.