IATA calls for suspension of slot quotas coronavirus

With demand for air service plummeting due to the Covid-19
coronavirus, IATA has called upon airport regulators around the world to
suspend slot rules through this October. 

In the more than 200 slot-coordinated airports around the
world, airlines typically must operate at least 80% of their allocated slots or
be subject to losing them in the following year. Airports become
slot-coordinated when they don’t have either the runway, ramp or gate capacity
to handle all of the flights that commercial airlines, cargo carriers and other
air service providers would like to operate there. Approximately 43% of all
passengers depart from slot-coordinated airports, according to IATA. 

Regulators, the trade group, have already been waiving slot
rules on a rolling basis, primarily for operations to mainland China and Hong
Kong, but carriers need the certainty that would come with a blanket worldwide
suspension through the summer flying season. 

“Suspending the requirement for the entire season will mean
that airlines can respond to market conditions with appropriate capacity
levels, avoiding any need to run empty services in order to maintain slots,”
IATA said. “Aircraft can be reallocated to other routes or parked, crew can
have certainty on their schedules.”

Currently, many carriers are reporting 50% no-shows on
flights across several markets, IATA said. And as bookings are softening,
airlines are giving crew unpaid leave, freezing pay increases and making plans
to ground aircraft.

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