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A4E Welcomes European Commission (EC) Proposal for Airport Slots Waiver Through 30 June in the Context of the COVID-19 Crisis

Extension of the temporary waiver for full summer season still necessary.

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A4E welcomes today’s swift action by the European Commission and Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean granting airlines a temporary waiver on the airport slots 80/20 rule through 30 June 2020. A4E also welcomes that the waiver applies from 1 March (i.e. for the remainder of the current winter season), and retroactively for flights to Hong Kong and China between 23 January and 29 February.

“Europe’s airlines will feel the impact of COVID-19 for months to come, and while this is a good first step — we expect an extension of the waiver for the full summer season will likely be necessary”, said Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director, Airlines for Europe (A4E).

Such an extension would provide airlines the certainty they need to respond flexibly to the evolving COVID-19 crisis.

“For the sake of efficiency and predictability, and rather than seeking extensions on a rolling basis, a longer waiver would allow airlines to fly where the demand is and allow airports to adapt their services accordingly”, Reynaert added.

In light of recent developments, Europe’s aviation sector is increasingly impacted. The U.S. travel restrictions have now placed EU airlines on a worse footing than before, and there is an urgent need to safeguard the competitiveness of European aviation. The slots waiver and other supportive measures, including the deferment of new aviation taxes, the categorisation of COVID-19 as an extraordinary circumstance under regulation EU261 (air passenger rights) and positive consideration towards national support measures should be actioned as a matter of priority in the coming weeks.

About A4E

Launched in 2016, Airlines for Europe (A4E) is Europe’s largest airline association, based in Brussels. The organisation advocates on behalf of its members to help shape EU aviation policy to the benefit of consumers, ensuring a continued safe and competitive air transport market. With more than 720 million passengers carried each year, A4E members account for more than 70 per cent of the continent’s journeys, operating more than 3,000 aircraft and generating more than EUR 130 billion in annual turnover. Members with air cargo and mail activities transport more than 5 million tons of goods each year to more than 360 destinations either by freighters or passenger aircraft. Current members include Aegean, airBaltic, Air France-KLM Group, Cargolux, easyJet, Finnair, Icelandair, International Airlines Group (IAG), Jet2.com, Lufthansa Group, Norwegian, Ryanair Holdings, Smartwings, TAP Air Portugal, TUI and Volotea. In 2019, A4E was named “Airline & Aviation Business Development Organisation of the Year” by International Transport News. Follow us on Twitter @A4Europe.