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Continuation of slots waiver vital for airlines to survive the winter as aviation starts to rebuild

Whilst ERA, IATA and AIRE greatly appreciated the speed at which DG MOVE was able to grant the slot use waiver for this year’s summer season, the airline industry remains in the middle of the worst crisis it has ever experienced, and the situation has deteriorated since this matter was last addressed.

As the aviation industry continues its fight for survival, ERA (European Regions Airline Association), alongside the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airlines International Representation in Europe (AIRE), has written to the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) to ask for urgent support.

This letter highlights the need for an extension of slot alleviation for the upcoming winter 2020 season (25 October 2020 to 27 March 2021) and has been accompanied by a paper outlining conditions that if established will provide a responsible approach to the issue.

Airlines in Europe are currently in the middle of the slot co-ordination process for the winter season and are required to return slots they will not operate by the deadline at the end of August. However, it is clear during this first season of restart that the industry will not be able to operate at the same size and scale seen in previous seasons.

Whilst ERA, IATA and AIRE greatly appreciated the speed at which DG MOVE was able to grant the slot use waiver for this year’s summer season, the airline industry remains in the middle of the worst crisis it has ever experienced, and the situation has deteriorated since this matter was last addressed.

Airlines are now expected to post a loss of €74.67bn in 2020, by far the biggest in aviation history, with losses of €14.17bn forecast already for 2021. By comparison, airlines lost €27.45bn during the global financial crisis and oil price spike in 2008–9.

One of the elements needed to support airlines’ recovery is an extension of the slot waiver to the whole winter season 2020/21. Without the urgent certainty of a waiver, airlines assume a huge risk to schedules and networks that have been built and optimised over decades. Winter demand is insufficient to sustain existing schedules at required levels and airlines must make difficult decisions in the coming weeks about their schedules and future survival.

Montserrat Barriga, ERA Director General, says: “As we now enter the challenging period of restarting aviation from virtually nothing, we must ensure consumer confidence is rebuilt and that the industry can respond to demand and resume essential air services in a sustainable manner. It would be environmental and financial suicide for airlines to be forced to operate services purely to protect their post-recovery network. It is therefore vital during the restart that the sector continues to be supported and alleviation measures will be a vital ingredient for this recovery.”

Tatiana Rokou

Tatiana is the news coordinator for TravelDailyNews Media Network (traveldailynews.gr, traveldailynews.com and traveldailynews.asia). Her role includes monitoring the hundreds of news sources of TravelDailyNews Media Network and skimming the most important according to our strategy.

She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.

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