ACI EUROPE has today welcomed the European Commission’s proposal to finally reinstate standard airport slot usage rules for the upcoming Winter 22/23 season. Accordingly, airlines will be required to use airport slots they have been allocated for 80% of the time in order to keep them during the following corresponding season – putting an end to successive usage alleviation measures that have remained in place since Spring 2020.
The return to the so-called 80:20 usage rule is consistent with the dynamic air traffic recovery underway. It reflects the need to shift from protecting the airport slot portfolios of incumbent airlines to promoting effective use of airport capacity and the restoration of Europe’s vital air connectivity – now that COVID-19 travel restrictions have been largely eased or even abolished both within Europe and in most other world regions.
ACI EUROPE also supported the flexibility that the Commission proposed to extend through the ‘justified non-use of slots’ or JNUS provisions – which will still allow airlines to keep hold of airport slots they cannot use due to remaining travel restrictions on specific markets or to the war in Ukraine and related international sanctions.
Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE commented; “Airports understood and accepted the need for slot waivers for airlines during the pandemic. But there is no question these waivers also came with forgone connectivity and forgone revenues for airports. Going back to the normal slot usage rule while still giving airlines the flexibility and protection they need when faced with travel restrictions or the impact of the war on specific markets is the right thing to do now that air traffic is finally recovering. We urge the EU Council and the European Parliament to support this Commission proposal and expedite its approval.”