Here is the EU proposal to waive the 80% ‘use it or lose it’ airport slot rule – and IATA is not happy

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The European Commission has published its draft proposals to relieve airlines of the obligation to operate a flight on 80% of its scheduled dates each season or forfeit the relevant take off and landing slots.

You can see the document here.

I think this is still just the draft proposal which will require approval by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

European Commission take off slots proposal 80% rule

Here are the key points as I see it:

Air carriers are experiencing a 40-60% year-on-year drop in forward bookings for the period March-June 2020

European airports are predicting a loss of 67 million passengers in the first quarter of 2020

All take-off and landing slots in March, April, May and June will be treated as ‘operated’

All take-off and landing slots used for flights to China and Hong Kong SAR will be treated as ‘operated’ from 23rd January

The regulation allows for an extension beyond 30th June if it is seen as necessary

For clarity, the ‘Summer’ airline season runs from 29th March to 24th October.  This means that, even with a credit for operating 100% of slots in April, May and June, airlines will still need to run roughly 65% of flights in July, August, September and October to hit the 80% average and retain their slots.

IATA is very grumpy and is insisting that a full slot waiver be granted immediately until 24th October.  This is dangerous, in my view, as it leaves the very real possibility of price gouging over the peak Summer season – assuming that coronavirus concerns have weakened sharply by the end of June as predicted – with airline deliberately grounding aircraft to force up fares.

Thanks to Alex for the link.

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  1. Shoestring says:

    Just listening to Trump & his team – reviewing whether the UK should be added to the banned list – only a matter of time.

    But what strikes me is not so much complacency but serious lack of awareness that Covid-19 can’t easily be stopped from running rife in USA – not wanting to exaggerate here: I mean similar levels to European countries. They’re probably not very far behind UK, maybe 10 days?

    They seem to think they’re stopping it in its tracks with the flight ban and by sorting out their testing regime.

    • James H says:

      The real question here is why would you be surprised that Trump (and his team of sycophants) have a serious lack of awareness of anything whatsoever? 🤷‍♂️

    • He’s been talking the same thing about Japan for the last two weeks.

    • Oh Matron! says:

      I’ve been in the US for two days (Boston, but on the train to NYC as we speak)

      The local trader joes was empty. Most conversations I over heard contained corona.

      The aloft was empty.

      There were NO hand sanitizers anywhere.

      There was tonnes of digital signage, though, telling people to be careful.

      The news reports were full of “concern”

      Will be interesting to see what the dbl tree times square occupancy will be.

      I am looking forward to getting some excellent photos 🙂

    • Stopping flights alone won’t solve the problem but in the reverse taking domestic measures to contain it whilst allowing people from heavily infected countries to arrive and love in the community also isn’t going to be effective.

      Trump has been appalling so far on this but I think the travel ban is sound at this stage.

      This talk of herd immunity is really worrying.

      The WHO report on China basically said 15% of cases need oxygen, another 5% need ICU respiration for 2-6 weeks. If you do that the mortality rate is low, without that it’s about 5%.

      So if you overwhelm ICU you get lots of dead people.

      Herd immunity would need 60% infected. Thats about 40 million in the UK.

      If 5% need ICU that’s 2 million needing ICU for and average of 4 weeks, so you need 8 million ICU hospital bed weeks. Even to accomplish that over 2 years it’s 75,000 ICU beds constantly for 2 years.

      There are about 5000, of which maybe 1000 are available. You can probably scale that up but not by 15 times or for that long.

      Then should it mutate significantly you can start over again.

      Right now China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea are the only models that can produce acceptable mortality rates which means long term big change in lifestyle, then you play for a vaccine.

      • Shoestring says:

        on CNN just now a US health expert said there are 60,000 ICU beds and that they could squeeze that to 80,000 by converting surgeries etc to extra beds – obvs they couldn’t magic up respirators, though

      • Yet, without the herd immunity/resistance the thing will bounce back and have more chances to mutate sooner.
        It thus becomes about accepting the least worst path is 40 million plus will get infected and dealing with that; as awful as it sounds.
        Flattening the curve is crucial, but pushing it too far into Summer/Autumn creates its own spike risk and capacity risk issues … let alone care fatigue.
        Separately there are tasks to complete to reduce some of the estimates Will cites. Some of those tasks flow from intelligent learning from data out of China … and now other countries. It should not be forgotten UK science are world leaders in some of these tasks.
        Whether it can and will join up is another matter but the basic UK plan currently feels the right one

        • Having a limited number of infections for a long time is far less of a mutation risk than mass infections.

          Every replication is a mutation risk, thus the more instances of the virus you create the more chance of infection.

          So the herd immunity theory is very dangerous from two perspectives:
          1. No health system can cope with 60% infection rate of 5% of those infected need ICU. You are saying we’re going to allow 5% of the population to die. (Cheap houses, yay)
          2. We know so little about this virus that it’s completely irresponsible to risk a mutation by allowing it to replicate in millions of people. You could literally do it all only to have a new strain cause the same (or worse) problems all over again. Spanish glue got worse after a mutation and we really don’t understand how or why it mutated to a deadly version and then how or why that proliferated.

          China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea got it under control. The strategy must be to do the same then hold out for a vaccine.

          You don’t have to be in lockdown to keep it under, you just have to cut back on social interactions and act fast if you get a new cluster.

          • Shoestring says:

            yep my father has obvs worked out that the current strategy might be good for others/ the economy (it probably is, barring an effective vaccine next year) – but it’s pretty bad for him personally – 80 and rather unhealthy eg late onset diabetes, no exercise, 1 amputation already (only a big toe!)

            he has announced today he’s self isolating/ locking himself away for 2 weeks now and it seems obvs he will turn it into a repeating 2 weeks until Covid-19 retreats

            he’s quite anti-social anyway ie prefers his own company/ computer/ books/ TV so not exactly a hardship & quite sensible

          • Sensible post Will. Articulates another route/choice.
            On 1. If 5% have to go through ICU, then that’s a task to prepare for and manage. If containment remains the best option, and much fewer of the ‘5% cohort’ even get infected then that’s fine. If the science has got to a point where that route is more sure then great.
            On 2. One risk to set off against other risks (such as the risk this having gone past the full containment stage in too many countries).
            As I’ve mentioned elsewhere there is a lot of good science coming out and needing assessing on this. It will surely point to better conclusions as to what works and what doesn’t and clearer options. Ultimately, it then remains for those to actually be chosen and implemented.

          • I’m trying not to be sensationalist about this and stick to what the WHO have both found and are advising and I’m in disbelief how the U.K. government is in direct contradiction to it.

            The WHO have been issuing statements for a month now on China buying the world time and the world needing to prepare, so little was done and understood. If you allow this virus to proliferate there is not a healthcare system in the world that can cope. Anyone who does not impose measures to contain it will turn into Wuhan.

            There’s a lot of very clever people worldwide trying to figure this virus out right now but the uncomfortable truth is that it’s going to take a long time to do so and really no one can ever speak on the probability of mutation and the outcome of a mutation with any certainty.

    • BlueThroughCrimp says:

      Where does he have Golf Courses?

    • Shoestring says:

      so in Italy the first case of Covid-19 was identified on 23 February – yesterday the death toll hit over 12450

      now – what makes USA think it won’t follow a similar trajectory? even if they’ve slowed it/ flattened the curve with the travel ban, they’re still charting a similar course, just that we can’t see it yet because the number of tests is so low

      • Shoestring says:


      • TGLoyalty says:

        Reading reputable news source they believe people showing symptoms were arriving in northern Italian hospitals and not being tested, and therefore no investigation into where they’d been and isolating any close contacts etc

        There is proof one person made repeated trips to hospital of a number of days before they were diagnosed.

  2. Kirstin says:

    Waiting for TAP to cancel our flights from the UK to US via Portugal in 2 weeks, at the moment they will only date change which is as useful as a chocolate fire guard! I’m holding out changing to the last minute in the hope they are cancelled to get £ back rather than just a date change given our insurers current stance!

  3. Price gauging already in play. That’s why the book with confidence policy has flopped

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Agree, just received a Google flight tracker email. Previous price £1056, today’s price £2356. 😲

  4. The one good thing that will come out of this catastrophe is the end of his presidency. The US and global economy will tank and as the saying goes… its the economy stupid!

  5. Philip says:

    Blimey, this article has smoked out a whole bunch of people suffering from full-blown Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    Perhaps folk should stick to discussing practical travel issues here, and rehearse their political opinions on other more appropriate websites.

    • Problem is, Trump has an awful lot of power over travel right now…

      • he’s had precisely the same level of power over travel since he was elected. He’s simply now exercising that power. Keep up dear..

  6. It’s safe to say that pretty much everyone’s Easter holidays will be cancelled (including mine). The only thing that matters now is whether people get their money back (or a travel voucher etc)

    • Shoestring says:

      the kids & I are on Avios, so I think that’s just 50p to cancel (or get the travel vouchers, I guess)

      my wife’s flying out a few days later on Ryanair & they’re allowing free flight changes

      • But award tickets have their own Ts and Cs so it would make more sense to get the Avios back as they are more flexible than the vouchers?

      • I’m not so sure its 50p to cancel – I had to cancel some domestic connections recently and it was the standard £35. It didn’t even show me what I would get back when cancelling and the only way I found out was when the refund hit my account a few days later.

        • I assume those connections had been booked before BA made changes to their award booking system last year. Anything booked after -> 50p, anything before -> full taxes taken

    • Crafty says:

      That’s actually really far down the list of things that matter right now.

      • It is in the short term, but further ahead we are looking at huge global economic issues because of the impact on travel. And those issues will affect all sorts of things like health provision and education.

      • Shoestring says:

        you can do both: worry about senior citizens getting carried off early (the bigger concern) – *and* look after No1, ie yes I am fed up at the prospect of no Easter hols this year, particularly as my son & I planted about 2500 spring bulbs and loads of primroses LY and now won’t get to see them

      • “ That’s actually really far down the list of things that matter right now.”

        Of course. I meant in the context on cancelled holidays. People will just have to get over it.

        • Forget any travel by plane for the next 2 months. It’s all about staycation and frankly didn’t all the old people (>50) vote for that anyway. Brexit just got accelerated.

          • What an odd comment. The ability to travel, either for business or leisure, was never dependent on EU membership!

          • I’m pretty sure keeping Johnny Foreigner out was a major reason. The borders are shut and flights are cancelled. Hey presto, your dreams have been realised.

          • You seem to be particularly aggrieved however the UK hasn’t banned anyone from entering at this time, unlike many EU nations!

    • Lady London says:

      The only thing that matters now is to try to avoid vulnerable people getting it and gearing up to support those

  7. Rob – your headlines have been leaning towards Daily Mail clickbait recently – you would only have to capitalise the “not”, ie. “and IATA is NOT happy” to complete the job… Can we tone this down a touch 🙂

    • It´s mutated into Head for Coronavirus.

      • Nothing else to cover 🙂

        Actually we have a Daily Telegraph deal tomorrow.

        Page views yesterday were double a normal Friday. We don’t make any money, since all the booked ads have been pulled and Google rates have crashed to virtually nil, but hey ho ….

  8. Shoestring says:

    informed discussion on coronavirus, go to 08:10am

    Neil Ferguson again (Imperial College)

  9. This type of stuff is normally led by the Commission and rubber-stamped by the Parliament and the Council, everyone will be in agreement on this (if the EP sits at all…)

  10. Secret Squirrel says:

    BA TP point extension period & reduction in TP’s required:
    400 tier points need to be earned during the 18 month Extended -1000 for Gold.

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