IATA: EC out of touch

IATA: EC out of touch

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has branded the European Commission’s (EC) decision to set the winter slot use threshold at 50% as ‘out of touch with reality’. It argues that the EC had ignored the advice and evidence presented by EU member states and the airline industry, which had made the case for a much lower threshold.

The EC’s announcement means that, from November to April, airlines operating at slot-regulated airports must use at least half of every single series of slots they hold. There is no alleviation to hand back slots at the start of the season allowing airlines to match their schedule to realistic demand or enable other carriers to operate. Additionally, the rule on ‘force majeure’, by which the slot rule is suspended if exceptional circumstances related to the Covid pandemic are in effect, has been switched off for intra-EU operations.

The result of these changes will be to restrict the ability of airlines to operate with the agility needed to respond to unpredictable and rapidly changing demand, leading to environmentally wasteful and unnecessary flights. It will also further weaken the financial stability of the industry and hinder the recovery of the global air transport network, IATA says.

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