The European Commission has announced it will extend the suspension of the rule enforcing airlines to use their take-off and landing slots for at least 80% of the time, as flight schedules continue to struggle to recover due to coronavirus concerns.

Prior to the Covid pandemic, the standard 80/20 slot rule meant that airlines had to use their slots at airports at least 80% of the time to avoid losing them in the next season. In March 2020, this rule was suspended, and now this suspension has been extended until the end of the 2020/2021 winter season – March 27, 2021, to be precise.

This means airlines will continue to have their slots protected through to next year, avoiding unnecessary ghost flights and allowing carriers to plan their winter schedules.

In related news, we’re still waiting to hear if Hong Kong will be doing the same. Back in March, they also announced they would be suspending their “use-it-or-lose-it” slot rule until the end of October, which allowed airlines to cut some of their schedules over the summer period. So, good news for them, but also for GA/BA operators, as the overall reduction in traffic meant that a lot more slots became available.

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David Mumford

David Mumford

Opsgroup team member. International flight ops news hound.

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