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Airlines will no longer have to operate virtually empty flights just to maintain their airport slots quota, as the rules are temporarily relaxed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The existing rule requires that airlines operate at least 80% of their scheduled flights or lose their slot at the airport. This has led to airlines running “ghost flights” just to keep their slots.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) had requested temporary relief from the rules for airlines that needed to cut back on flights as demand flagged, but the European Commission dismissed the request on the basis that “solid data” was lacking.

EU temporarily relaxes rules that engender “ghost flights”
Credit: S O C I A L . C U T

However, on 10th March, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, confirmed that suspension of the rules would go ahead.

“The coronavirus outbreak has a major impact on the European and international aviation industry,” von der Leyen said. “We see that the situation is deteriorating on a daily basis and traffic is expected to decline further.

“This is why the commission is putting forward very rapidly legislation regarding the so-called airport slots. We want to make it easier for airlines to keep their airport slot even if they do not operate flights in those slots because of the decline in traffic.”

Von der Leyen noted that it would be beneficial to the industry and to the environment.

Source: The Independent

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