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Plane stupid indeed

July 16, 2008

Low cost airline bmi flies ‘ghost planes’ into Heathrow to preserve landing rights.

I have a guilty green conscience: I know the world is facing environmental crisis, and I know that flying is the least sustainable method of travel. And yet still I fly: sometimes for work, sometimes for pleasure.

I agonise about it, and if there is a realistic alternative, I take it. But often there isn’t, and – too selfish to miss out on a trip I want to make – I choose to fly.

But stories like this make a mockery of everyone who thinks twice about flying:

Britain’s third-largest airline, bmi, will fly near-empty aircraft from this autumn to preserve multimillion-pound take-off and landing slots, The Times has learnt….

Flybe, an Exeter-based airline, has already advertised for actors to fly between Norwich and Dublin to boost passenger numbers. The airline came up with the idea when faced with the prospect of losing £280,000 because it had not met a passenger target imposed by Norwich international airport as part of a commercial deal.

The system is fucked up. No matter how much we, as individuals, try to change our lives to cope with climate change, we will always be undone by structural problems like this.

So much for a market solution to climate change.

Really, we’re wasting our time unless we can change the system. I do believe it is important for ordinary people to take responsibility for our carbon footprint – but I get very angry when those who are really responsible for the crisis shift their responsibility on to us.

I’ll cut down on flights when trains are affordable.

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