The UK government has laid regulations before Parliament today (January 24) that will extend the airport slots rules alleviation for the upcoming summer season, helping the aviation industry as demand for international travel returns.
Aviation industry’s recovery from
Airlines will require to use their slots 70% of the time to keep them but will also profit from added flexibility over when they are explained not to use them, for example where a market is substantively closed. If this alleviation weren’t provided, the usage threshold would default back to 80:20 with no additional flexibility on justified non-use, increasing the chance of ghost flights, according to the government.
Following a time of consultation with the sector, the government believes the wing of alleviation from slots rules will further support the aviation industry’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic as air travel returns to normal levels.
UK’s new freedom to
- This aims to balance the demand for continued help for the aviation sector’s finances, providing airlines with enough flexibility to adapt to changing restrictions and concerns near new variants, while ensuring slots get operated where need permits. It also takes benefit of the UK’s new freedom to set its own slots rules after leaving the EU.
As part of these new rules, the list of conditions where airlines can claim justification for not operating their slots is being widened further. As in the present winter season, this will cover situations where Covid-19-related restrictions at either end of a route result in a severe reduction in need; however, for the summer 2022 season, it will no extended be required for the airline to reveal that the measures were unforeseeable.
This means airlines won’t require to make the choice between running environmentally damaging ghost flights and losing their historic slot rights where markets stay closed because of Covid restrictions, while also protecting long-term connectivity. For example, airlines would be able to involve in this measure if a country demands hotel quarantine or closes hotels or restaurants because of Covid.
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- In such circumstances, the regulations permit the airlines to keep their historic rights to the slots even if passenger demand does not justify working for the flight.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told, “Leaving the EU has permitted us to take back control of our airport slots rules, giving us greater flexibility to balance the demands of our magnificent aviation industry as it faces up to the pandemic. Today’s wing marks a step back toward normal rules, helping the sector to recover and develop as travel returns while protecting it against any future uncertainty.”
Aviation Minister Robert Courts said
Aviation Minister Robert Courts counted, “Since the onset of the pandemic we have provided relief from the slots usage rule to provide financial stability to the sector and prevent environmentally damaging ghost flights. As the need for flights returns, it’s right we gradually shift back to the previous rules while making sure we continue to provide the sector with the help it requires.”
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