Picture used for illustrative purpose only.
Gulf Today Report
The coronavirus has made a huge impact on virtually every segment of life, including trade and industry. The travel sector appears to be one of the hardest hit.
International airlines including British Airways and Cathay Pacific have drastically truncated routes to such places as northern Italy and South East Asia as demand sharply plummets.
As a result, pictures of empty airports have become a normal sight.
Passengers have taken to social media to share such photographs.
The drop in demand has seen a new phenomenon: airlines operating ‘ghost flights.’
Virgin Atlantic is operating near-empty flights in order to "retain take-off and landing slots at major airports such as Heathrow", reports the BBC.
Under the European law, air carriers like Delta, American Airlines, and Southwest pay top dollars to secure prime spots at busy airports but they risk losing to a competitor if they don't use the slots at least 80 per cent of the time.
To maintain this 80 per cent requirement, airlines are forced to fly empty with little or no passengers on board.
"Today I've written to the EU Commission urging an end to the 'use-it-or-lose-it' rule that's leading to 'ghost planes' during this COVID-19 outbreak. Temporary relief now makes both environmental and financial sense," tweeted UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
In the UK, the rules apply to Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester, London Luton and London City, said the report.
Some planes can burn five gallons of jet fuel per mile of flight, emitting tonnes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
"Even the BA flight Houston-London (not two heavy-plagued areas with #coronavirus #COVID2019 at the moment) is almost empty. Surreal times," tweeted a user with a picture.
United Airlines announced it would reduce flights, freeze hiring and ask employees to volunteer for unpaid leave owing to poor demand for travel, according to a report.
"Temporary suspension will enable UK airlines to respond to market conditions with appropriate capacity and avoiding any need to run empty flights in order to maintain slot rights," said Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK in a statement shared with a British newspaper.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), air carriers could lose upwards of $113 billion in revenue this year if coronavirus continues to spread.
Hong Kong Airport, usually one of the busiest in the world, has cut hundreds of flights as it deals with a lack of passenger demand due to the coronavirus.
Elsewhere in Europe, frustrations with COVID-19 curbs were spilling over, with scuffles breaking out at a large anti-restrictions protest in the German city of Kassel, and thousands joining a similar demonstration in Liestal, Switzerland.
England's months-old rules have been relaxed thanks in large part to a successful vaccination drive, enabling outdoor gatherings of up to six people, or two households, in what newspapers have dubbed "Happy Monday."
During the seven-day period of Feb.3-9, the EU as a whole recorded an average daily of 103,250 new infections, which was 16 per cent down on the previous week. The average number of deaths each day was 3,137, or seven percent fewer.
The property features a 360-degree infinity-edge pool and view of Palm Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab and Ain Dubai.It has an indoor garden of 200 square metres on four floors and roof terrace with a 360-degree view.
Sultan Al Neyadi, the Emirati astronaut who is currently on the station, will be as close as possible to his family, loved ones and his homeland today, and he will salute them with pride in this achievement that the country is ruling in space day after day.
Dubai saw the completion of the first successful trial of medical delivery via drones at the Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), in yet another unique public-private sector partnership.
The food control report stated that the administrative closure decision followed the restaurant’s repeated highly dangerous violations and its failure to meet the health and food safety requirements, the ADAFSA added, noting that insects were detected on the meat and vegetable washing sink and in the clean utensil storage area.