Ready to fly: More than 600 empty flights in 13 months

In more than 80 percent of all flights, the government aircraft in readiness for flight are en route without passengers. The Greens criticize this practice as “crazy”. The Ministry of Defense promises an end soon.

From April 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020, aircraft in readiness for flight from the Ministry of Defense flew a total of 761 times between their locations in Berlin and Cologne / Bonn – 617 of them without passengers.

The share of empty flights was 81 percent, as indicated by a response from the ministry a written question from the Greens in the Bundestag emerges. The Green transport politician Stefan Gelbhaar called this practice climate-hostile and “simply crazy”. That must “be organized differently immediately,” he told the dpa news agency.

If in doubt, still training flights

There are empty flights because planes are transferred to pick up passengers or return to their location after being transported, the ministry said. In addition, reserve aircraft would be made available. This is to prevent breakdowns from leading to top politicians not being able to take off.

In addition, there are training and further education flights for the crews, where no passengers could be with them. “In principle, all flights without passengers also serve to train the crews within the framework of the established training programs.”

Waiting for the BER

According to the Defense Ministry, the situation is likely to change soon: “With the full commencement of political parliamentary flight operations (…) at Berlin Brandenburg Airport, standby flights will no longer be necessary,” the answer said.

Yellow hair was not satisfied with this: “The federal government could long ago use the government airport at BER,” he said.

With 18 aircraft and three helicopters, the Ministry of Defense’s flight readiness provides a substantial part of the Bundeswehr’s air transport capacity, which is also used by the parliamentary area. According to its own information, it carries out VIP, personnel and material transports, among other things.

Deutschlandfunk reported on this topic on August 14, 2020 at 7:00 a.m.

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