European airlines and airports agree to further suspend ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ slots agreement

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport ©AirTeamImages

With the threat of a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, European carriers are still trying to deal with the disastrous effects of the continued downturn in passenger demand. As a consequence, airport slot coordinators have agreed with airports and airlines to further suspend the ‘use it or lose it’ rule for the whole of the 2020-2021 winter season.

According to the International Air Travel Association (IATA), to facilitate a prompt decision by the European Commission, ACI EUROPE, Airlines for Europe (A4E), Airlines International Representation in Europe (AIRE), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the European Association of Slot Coordinators (EUACA) have agreed on specific conditions to ensure a timely return of slots not planned for use this winter. This represents a significant achievement given the extraordinary circumstances airports and airlines find themselves in. However, the rules for how extension of the waiver will be implemented have yet to be determined with regard to the winter season.

“Decisions must be made now to enable the timely return of slots for the winter season once the waiver is granted. This will give airports and airlines certainty in planning their schedules and operations and ensure that passengers know what to expect in the tough months ahead. Further delays will paralyze the winter planning process and add millions in costs for all parties,” said Olivier Jankovec, Director General, ACI EUROPE. “Only a full-season slots waiver will ensure that the flying of empty planes is avoided and enable flights to be operated in the most sustainable way possible.

Airlines and airports in Europe stand ready to apply the agreed conditions as soon as the full-season waiver is granted and call on the European Commission to endorse this agreement and authorise the waiver immediately,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA Regional Vice President for Europe.

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