On 14 October, the European Commission adopted an extension to the waiver of EU rules on the use of airport slots. As a result, airline companies can plan their flight schedules with more certainty without fear of losing their slots because of the drastic reduction in flights. Under normal circumstances, airlines have to use 80% of the slots allocated to them to secure this allocation for the next season.
A first waiver to this rule was introduced in March, when the arrival of the pandemic in Europe saw planes being grounded across the EU. Today’s decision extends this waiver to cover the entire winter season, until 27 March 2021.
“The Coronavirus pandemic has had a tremendous impact on air travel and the aviation sector as a whole,” said EU Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean. “In extending the waiver, we are responding to traffic data, which show the number of flights in September was still 54% down on September 2019 and traffic is unfortunately unlikely to recover in the near future. This extension provides certainty for airlines, airports and passengers.”
Traffic is predicted to still be down 50% in February 2021. The Commission expects the industry to respect the conditions agreed voluntarily between all market players for the upcoming winter season, pending the adoption of fully enforceable conditions.
Today’s adoption follows the results of our report on air traffic data from 14 September.