Premature return to pre-pandemic slot rules risks continued passenger disruption – IATA

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed concern that a premature return to pre-pandemic slot use rules in the EU this winter risks continuing disruption to passengers.

The IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh, made this known in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos on Wednesday.

Walsh said the European Commission had announced it intends to return to the longstanding 80-20 slot use rule, which requires airlines to operate at least 80 per cent of every planned slot sequence.

The director general explained that the global slot rules were an effective system for managing access to and the use of scarce capacity at airports.

Walsh noted that the system had stood the test of time, while airlines were keen to restart services.

He, however, said the failure of several key airports to accommodate demand, coupled with increasing air traffic control delays, meant a premature return to the 80-20 rule could lead to further passenger disruption.

Walsh said the evidence so far this summer had not been encouraging because airports had the 2022 summer season schedules and final slot holdings in January and didn’t evaluate how to manage this in time.

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He said airports declaring that full capacity was available and then requiring airlines to make cuts this summer shows the system was not ready for reviving “normal” slot use this winter season which begins at end of October

“The chaos we have seen at certain airports this summer has occurred with a slot use threshold of 64 per cent.

“We are worried that airports will not be ready in time to service an 80 per cent threshold by the end of October.

“It is essential the member states and parliament adjust the commission’s proposal to a realistic level and permit flexibility to the slot use rules.

“Airports are equal partners in the slot process, let them demonstrate their ability to declare and manage their capacity accurately and competently and then restore the slot use next summer,” he said.

 

(NAN)