STATEMENT on IATA’s requested suspension of slot rules due to the COVID-19 outbreak

3 March 2020

Brussels - Responding to IATA's request for a global suspension of slot rules, Olivier Jankovec, ACI EUROPE's Director General has made the following statement: The spread of the coronavirus is significantly impacting Europe’s airports, with the impact especially dramatic for airports in Italy – with traffic declining by up to -50% over the past days.

Unlike airlines, whose aircraft are movable assets, airports can neither close nor relocate their terminals and runways to weather the storm. We support a partial relaxation of EU rules governing the use of airport slots use but do not consider at the moment that a blanket relaxation for all air routes is justified.

The epidemic is not affecting all markets to the same extent. The European Commission has already allowed a targeted relaxation, focused on those air routes to Asia that are the most impacted. The targeted approach limits cancellations unrelated to the coronavirus outbreak and helps maintain air connectivity. It should still be the way forward, possibly along with other alternatives to a full relaxation - such as lowering the required airport slot usage threshold of 80%.

Decisions taken by the Commission on this must remain data-driven and proportionate to the actual impact they seek to address.


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