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Government moves to protect airline slots

, © Gatwick Airport

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LONDON - Britain plans to relax slot use regulation through the winter to protect airline assets. London Gatwick Airport warned the Governement that the step will eventually backfire. The airline landscape is in a split mood: British Airways and Easyjet favor an extended slot relief, while Ryanair and Wizz Air push for a return to normal rules.

British airlines may return unused slots to airports over the winter season - and will be eligable to reclaim the slots for the next summer season, according to recent Government plans. Slots they operate over the winter must only be utilized 50 instead of 80 percent to be kept.

The plan is not well received by airports. Freezing slots will eventually slow industry recovery, Gatwick CCO Jonathan Pollard argued in a letter to Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps, "Bloomberg" reports. "Providing access to a non-historic slot will not facilitate any additional flights or new entry."

British Airways and Easyjet are among airlines that favor continued slot protections to cope with the crisis. Airlines tend to operate empty planes on slots they need to keep, instead of surrendering them to competitors. Meanwhile, Ryanair and Wizz Air hope for additional slot availability once the protections expire.
© | Image: Gatwick Airport | 23/07/2021 09:17

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