European airports and airlines agree conditions for winter slot waiver

Photo: (Mick Dodsworth)

A joint announcement by several of the world’s aviation industry bodies have jointly announced that their respective members have agreed to abide by a set of conditions together with slot coordinators under which an extension of the waiver of the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule could be applied for the entire 2020-2021 winter season.

In an effort to obtain a quick decision from the European Commission, ACI Europe (ACI), 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 enable a timely return of slots not planned for use this winter. The group said their move represents: “a significant achievement given the extraordinary circumstances airports and airlines find themselves in.”

A joint statement issued on September 3 said: “It is now critical that the European Commission formalises an extension of the slots waiver and clarifies how the conditions will be implemented. Industry and slot coordinators require a clear signal from the Commission as to the rules of the game for the coming winter season.”

Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe, commented: “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 paralyse the winter planning process and add millions in costs for all parties.”
Thomas Reynaert, managing director, A4E, said: “Restoring passenger confidence is a top priority for the entire aviation sector and indeed the European economy. Given the constantly changing government restrictions, it is vital that the upcoming winter schedules provide passengers with as much predictability as possible.”
Rafael Schvartzman, IATA regional vice president for Europe, added: “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.”