Despite relaxations of intertional flight regulations, ghost flights continued. | R.L.

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Palma airport, like many other key destinations around Europe, never actually closed to air traffic during the peak of the pandemic because many airlines continued to operate ghost flights because airlines are required to keep 80% of their flight schedules under contractual obligations, otherwise, they will lose their permits and valuable landing slots at airports.

But, airlines did not have to operate flights to retain the slots during the pandemic and those that did have come under criticism for their high carbon emissions.
So-called ghost flights refer to flights that carry no passengers or less than 10% of passenger capacity.

Some airlines have said that they were operating to transport medical equipment but many environmentalist have criticised the continued operation of ghost flights and their contribution to the climate crisis during the pandemic.

Now, the situation is different, travel restrictions have been eased and Palma airport, for example, is now handling a similar number of flights to pre-pandemic levels - despite the Balearic government having said that it would like to emerge from the pandemic with fewer tourists which spend more to ease the pressure on the region’s natural resources and society in general.

It makes one wonder if the zero-emissions target will ever be reached.