Europe’s Airports Call for Return to 80-20 Slot Use Rule for Airlines
ACI Europe, the trade body representing airports in Europe, is calling for the reinstatement of standard airport slot rules which would see airlines operating at least 80 percent of every planned slot sequence this winter.
“As the EU+ market has been very much driving recovery and traffic volumes are finally getting closer to pre-pandemic levels, it is essential that the EU bring its airport slots rules back to normal – requiring airlines to effectively use these slots for 80 percent of the time during the forthcoming winter season starting end of October,” said Olivier Jankovec, director general ACI Europe.
Jankovec referred to the European Commission proposal made in July which calls for the return to the standard slot use rate of 80 percent as of October 30 – reflecting demand – while also extending the option to carriers to make use of the ‘justified non-use of slots’ (JNUS) tool created during the Covid pandemic.
“Going back to the 80 percent usage rule is essential at this critical and dynamic juncture in the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. This is about ensuring an effective use of scarce airport capacity for the benefit of air connectivity, consumers and businesses,” said Jankovec.
In the meantime, back in July, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed concern that a “premature return” to pre-pandemic slot use rules for EU airlines this winter could lead to additional passenger disruption.
In a response to the Commission proposal, IATA Director General Willie Walsh said “the chaos we have seen at certain airports this summer has occurred with a slot use threshold of 64 percent. We are worried that airports will not be ready in time to service an 80 percent threshold by the end of October.”
It is reminded that the Commission has extended the airport slot relief rules – that launched due to the pandemic – until October 29.