EC publishes new slot relief proposal as of summer 2021
On 16 December, the European Commission adopted its proposal for the revised EU Slots Regulation, taking into account the need to provide relief from the use-it-or-lose-it rule in view the ongoing COVID19 pandemic.
The proposal, which shall apply as of the Summer Season 2021, does not foresee to grant a full waiver as is currently the case, but instead reduces the use-it-or-lose-it rule from 80/20 to 40/60, meaning that operators will have to use 40% of the slots allocated in order to retain their allocated slots in the following year.
The proposal also introduces a number of conditions aimed at ensuring airport capacity is used efficiently and without harming competition during the COVID-19 recovery period.
- Slot series newly allocated to an air carrier for the first time, i.e. slot series to which the air carrier is not entitled as a result of having obtained grandfather rights, should not be covered by the relief. Instead, the normal 80/20 rule applies.
- The normal 80/20 use-it-or-lose-it rule should also continue to apply in the event of slot exchanges, where the exchange is accompanied by any financial or other compensation. By contrast, exchanges without financial or other compensation, carried out to improve timings, for example, would not stand in the way of the relief being applied to the slots concerned.
- The proposal includes a deadline of three weeks before the scheduled date of operations for air carriers to return unwanted slots to the coordinator if they are to benefit from the relief. The proposed amendment is planned to apply as of the Summer Season 2021, with the possibility for the Commission to extend the relief by delegated act until the Winter Season 2024/2025. This also entails the possibility for the Commission to further adjust the rate of slot utilisation based on a number of indicators, including actual and forecast air traffic data, load factors and fleet utilisation.