The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has expressed concern that a premature return to pre-pandemic slot use rules in the EU this winter will lead to continuing disruption for passengers.
The European Commission has announced that it intends to return to the longstanding 80-20 slot use rule, which requires airlines to operate at least 80% of every planned slot sequence. IATA argued that global slot rules are an effective system for managing access to and the use of scarce capacity at airports. Additionally, it contested that the failure of several key airports to accommodate demand, coupled with increasing air traffic control delays, meant a premature return to the 80-20 rule could lead to further passenger disruption. In contrast, ACI Europe has welcomed the European Commission’s (EC) proposal to reinstate standard airport slot usage rules for the upcoming winter 22/23 season.
IATA pointed out that airports that had the 2022 summer season schedules and final slot holdings in January didn’t evaluate how to manage these in time. The organization believes that airports declaring that full capacity is available and then requiring airlines to make cuts this summer shows the system is not ready for normal slot use to be reinstated this winter season (which begins at end of October 2022).
Willie Walsh, director general of IATA, said, “The chaos we have seen at certain airports this summer has occurred with a slot use threshold of 64%. We are worried that airports will not be ready in time to service an 80% threshold by the end of October. It is essential the member states and parliament adjust the commission’s proposal to a realistic level and permit flexibility in the slot use rules. Airports are equal partners in the slot process; let them demonstrate their ability to declare and manage their capacity accurately and competently and then restore the slot use next summer.”
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