The European Union’s Commission has proposed returning the standard airline slot use rate to 80 per cent starting October 30 this year, based on projections that demand for air travel will continue to increase in the future.
The proposal was presented on Tuesday, June 12, and according to a Commission press release released the same day, the increase in the slot usage rate will also allow the European air travel industry to respond more flexibly. to unexpected developments in the near future.
“Although the current rapid surge in demand, as well as projections for future demand, point to a continued recovery of air traffic, recent experience has shown that current slot rules are not sufficiently resilient to large interruptions.”The Commission noted in its statement.
It further points out that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated how unexpected developments on particular routes can affect airlines ’ability to fully meet normal slot usage requirements and thus will also affect air travel.
To keep pace with air travel demand, the Commission proposed to raise the average slot utilization rate from the current 64 per cent to 80 per cent from Oct. 30, 2022. Prior to the pandemic, slot utilization was also 80 per cent.
The Commission also wants to make it possible for airlines to be exempted from having to meet the slot utilization rate in exceptional situations such as epidemiological emergencies, natural disasters, political unrest, and other situations that may have an impact. in air travel.
In cases where air traffic levels drop below 80 percent, compared to the figures in 2019, the Commission wants to retain the power to lower the slot usage rate, for four consecutive weeks, mainly for two reasons: an epidemiological situation or the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Commenting on the proposal, the EU highlighted the return of demand for air traffic, insisting that a return to normal slot utilization rates ensures efficient use of airport capacity as well as fair, competitive operations. access for airlines.
“The ‘Reasonable Non -Use of Spaces’ clause has provided us with a particularly effective tool to manage crisis situations. Maintaining this tool will give us enough flexibility – an insurance – to act in case there is a new deterioration of the public health situation, or indeed if we are faced with further collapse from the Russian war in Ukraine”Said the Commissioner.
Specific measures were also proposed by the Commission on Tuesday to mitigate the consequences of the war in Ukraine and, when the war is over, to restore air connectivity between the bloc, and Ukraine, including a 16 -week period. of recovery before the slot. -use the requirements, which will be applicable again once the Ukrainian airspace reopens.
Now, the proposal will be immediately discussed by the European Parliament and the Council, and once they approve, it will start applying on 30 October.
According to the European Travel Commission (ETC), Europe will recover 70 per cent of travel demand before COVID-19 this year.
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