EU temporarily suspends airport slots rule to avoid airlines operating “ghost flights”

© Bart Noëth

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen today held a news conference announcing that many sectors are suffering from the Coronavirus crisis and that the European Union is looking for ways to support them. Von der Leyen specifically mentioned the aviation industry, hit very hard by the virus.

The coronavirus outbreak has had a major on the European and international aviation industry. We see that the situation is deteriorating on a daily basis and air traffic is expected to decline further,” she said.

The Commission will put forward very rapidly legislation regarding the so-called airport slots. The European Commission wants to make it easier for airlines to keep their airport slots (*) even they do not operate those slots because of the declining traffic. A temporary measure to help the aviation industry and also the environment, by avoiding the so-called “ghost flights“, where airlines fly almost empty planes just to keep their airport slots.

(*) an EU rule (Regulation 95/93, the so-called “Slots Regulation”) says that airline must operate 80% of scheduled services to keep landing slots at airports

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