The European Commission proposed this Monday to extend, until March 2022, the relief of the rules of the European Union (EU) for airline take-off and landing slots, due to the still visible effects of the pandemic in the sector.
In a statement, the community executive defends “the alteration of the regulation of slots and the extension of the relief rules”.
This means that “the relief [das regras] will be extended until the next winter season, which runs from October 31, 2021 to March 27, 2022″, providing that, “instead of the usual requirement to use at least 80% of a given set of slots to keep the rights to such ‘slots’, airlines can use only 50% of a given set”, adds the institution.
“At a time when the aviation industry is starting to recover from the impact of the covid-19 crisis, the Commission remains committed to keep relief from the normal rules allocation of slots to airlines”, he adds.
EU rules on ‘slots’ dictate that airlines must use at least 80% of their take-off and landing slots to keep them next season.
Due to the covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions adopted to contain the outbreaks, this obligation was suspended to also avoid the so-called ‘ghost flights’, operated by the companies just so that they would not lose their air ‘slots’.
At the moment, a relief to EU rules is in place, and airlines are expected to be able to return 50% of your series of slots, and must use at least 50% of the remaining slots if they want to keep them.
Cited in the note, the European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Valean, argues that “a 50% slot utilization rate is adequate for all interested parties to ensure the efficient use of airport capacity, while benefiting consumers.”
The Commission adopted the proposal for the temporary exemption of slots on 18 December 2020, justifying the initiative with the already bleak prospects for air traffic for the summer of 2021, noting that it was “reasonable to expect levels of traffic are at least 50% lower than in 2019”.
Before that, in March 2020, the EU adopted a total derogation from the slots for the summer of that year, a measure that was later extended and succeeded by this relief.