British Airways sending empty planes across Atlantic

British Airways has flown dozens of empty planes across the Atlantic Ocean in the past two weeks to avoid losing valuable runway slots at London's airports.

British Airways has flown dozens of empty planes across the Atlantic Ocean in the past two weeks to avoid losing valuable runway slots at London's airports.

The airline is experiencing a staffing shortage and doesn't have enough cabin crew, but wants to keep its airport space, said British media reports Tuesday.

In order to retain its take-off and landing slots at London's airports— which have a "use it or lose it" rule— the airline has sent empty planes to Canada and the United States.

"We are trying to minimize disruption to customers," an airlines spokesperson toldThe Telegraph newspaper.

Environmentalists say the empty flights, which use thousands of tonnes of jet fuel, go against the airline's pledge to cut down C02 emissions.

The empty flights left London for a number of destinations, including Toronto, New York, Houston and Los Angeles, said British reports.

On Monday, the airline announced it was raising its fuel surcharge on tickets, citing the rising price of oil.