Airlines Secure EU Relief on Airport Slots Until Late March
(Bloomberg) -- European airlines were guaranteed longer regulatory relief from the impact of the coronavirus, after the European Commission won the final go-ahead to suspend airport slot-use obligations until late March.
European Union governments and the bloc’s Parliament cleared the commission’s decision to waive until March 27, 2021, a requirement that carriers use at least 80% of their takeoff and landing positions or risk losing them the following year. The EU earlier this year suspended the obligation for eight months until Oct. 24.
The commission, the bloc’s regulatory arm, said in September that a continued slump in air traffic justified a further five-month waiver and enacted it beginning on Oct. 25 as an urgent measure. EU capitals and the European Parliament had until Dec. 14 to express objections and refrained from doing so, ensuring the longer relief, Brussels-based officials said on Tuesday.
The 27-nation EU’s goal is to avoid a scenario in which empty planes fly routes just so operators can retain their slots, which are worth millions of dollars. The suspension of the bloc’s “use-it-or-lose-it” slot rule earlier this year marked the first such regulatory relief in more than a decade.
The U.K., whose Brexit transition period runs out at year-end, has said it will continue to apply EU rules on slot allocation until the government creates its own system.
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