Having upped fuel surcharges, BA is also flying empty planes across the Atlantic.
The airline industry is truly a law unto itself!
British Airways is shuttling dozens of empty planes across the Atlantic because it has a shortage of cabin crew, it has emerged.
The "phantom" services have been flying between Britain and Canada and the US over the past two weeks in order to retain valuable slots at London's airports.
Several BA passenger flights took off without a single passenger, using up thousands of tonnes of jet fuel.
advertisementThe news emerged as the airline passed on the soaring cost of oil to customers by increasing its fuel surcharge on all flights.
Environmentalists accused the airline of "hypocrisy", saying the strategy underlined the aviation sector's indifference to the fight against global warming.
On Nov 4, BA flight 179 crossed the Atlantic to New York completely empty.
Another passengerless jet, BA flight 176, later flew back from the US to Heathrow airport.
According to ITV News, two further empty planes left Heathrow at the weekend - flights 093 to Toronto and 279 to Los Angeles.
At least two other empty flights - including one from Gatwick to Houston, Texas - have departed in recent days, it was reported.
A spokesman for British Airways admitted the airline had been having problems rostering cabin crew.
"We are trying to minimise disruption to customers," he added.
BA operates the empty services to avoid losing its take-off and landing slots under "use it or lose it" rules at the London airports.
Some of the aircraft are thought to be Boeing 747s, which when full carry between 500 and 600 passengers. Every return flight from London to New York generates about 1.3 tonnes of CO2.
A spokesman from Greenpeace said: "It's pretty outrageous that BA are flying these empty flights half way across the world whilst saying they’re trying to cut down on CO2 emissions.
"They should be setting a leading example. Thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide are being leaked out needlessly just so they can keep their slots."
Meanwhile, BA announced fuel surcharges would go up from £8 to £10 on short-haul flights, while passengers on flights of up to nine hours face a £48 fuel charge – a £10 increase.
BA raised the fuel surcharge on longer flights by £15, adding £58 to the price of a ticket.
Last night the airline said it had no alternative but to increase the cost of air travel, with some speculators prepared to bet on crude oil prices doubling by December next year.
Earlier this year it emerged that BMI, which operates as a British Airways franchise - was also running "ghost planes", between Cardiff and Heathrow.
BMI announced in March that it would scrap the six-times-a-week shuttle when it switched to a new timetable.
The flights were run by British Mediterranean Airways (BMed), a struggling carrier that operates as a British Airways franchise and runs services under the BA brand to destinations including Beirut and Teheran. It was taken over this year by BMI.