The European Commission on December 15, 2020, adopted a new proposal on slot allocation that grants aviation stakeholders much-needed relief from airport slot use requirements for the summer 2021 scheduling season.
While airlines normally have to use 80 % of the slots awarded to them to secure their full slot portfolios for subsequent scheduling seasons, the proposal reduces this threshold to 40 %.
It also introduces a number of conditions aimed at ensuring airport capacity is used efficiently and without harming competition during the COVID-19 recovery period. Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, said: “With today’s proposal we seek to strike a balance between the need to provide relief to airlines, which continue to suffer from the significant drop in air travel due to the ongoing pandemic and the need to maintain competition in the market, ensure an efficient operation of airports, and avoid ghost flights. The proposed rules provide certainty for the summer season 2021 and ensure that the Commission can modulate further necessary slot waivers according to clear conditions to ensure this balance is maintained.” Looking at the traffic forecasts for summer 2021, it is reasonable to expect that traffic levels will be at least 50 % of 2019 levels. A threshold of 40 % will therefore guarantee a certain level of service, while still allowing airlines a buffer in the use of their slots. The proposal on slot allocation has been transmitted to the European Parliament and Council for approval.