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Industry calls for slot waiver extension

In continued market uncertainty with forward bookings far below normal levels and passengers booking their tickets much closer to planned travel than usual, the airline industry faces a hard winter. Therefore, the airline industry is calling on governments around the world to continue providing relief measures as the COVID-19 crisis continues.

In a letter sent to DG MOVE and also to EU transport ministers on 23 June co-signed by ERA, airlines are advocating for continuation of slot use alleviation for the full length (25 October 2020 to 27 March 2021) of the upcoming northern winter 2020/21 season (NW20) at all slot-co-ordinated airports and schedule-facilitated airports. Airlines are already in the middle of the planning period for the NW20 season; without the certainty of the slot waiver being in place, planning cannot be optimised. The Worldwide Airport Slot Guidelines (WASG) requires all slot series to be handed back before the Series Return Deadline of 15 August. This is an important deadline in the NW20 season aviation planning process and can only be of use if airlines have the certainty of a slot waiver.

Whilst appreciating the European Commission’s assistance to the aviation industry throughout the crisis, it is important that the sector continues to be supported through the restart phase as well. Based on forward bookings, demand continues to be highly unpredictable, thus airlines will need schedule flexibility to ensure loads are sustainable. The letter was accompanied by a position paper outlining conditions to be established in combination with a slot use waiver provides a responsible approach that balances the needs of all aviation industry stakeholders.

Download the position paper here

Download the letter here