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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.

Comments (81)

  • Jcp says:

    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

      • Anna says:

        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?

      • Andy says:

        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.

        • AlexT says:

          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.

      • Anna says:

        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

      • Jcp says:

        “ 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.

        • JRC says:

          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.

          • Anna says:

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

          • JRC says:

            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.

          • Anna says:

            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 who.do

  • Andy says:

    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 🙂

    • marcw says:

      It´s mutated into Head for Coronavirus.

      • Rob says:

        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 ….

  • Shoestring says:

    informed discussion on coronavirus, go to 08:10am https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/live:bbc_radio_fourfm

    Neil Ferguson again (Imperial College)

  • Alex Sm says:

    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…)

  • 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.