LONDON – After an increasing state of uncertainty and increased Ghost Flight operations in Europe, ACI Europe has expressed trepidation at the escalating industry and political rhetoric around such ‘ghost flights’ and asserted its strong support for the European Commission’s position on the thresholds for use of airport slots by the airlines.
As per the EU mandate, the slot usage threshold has been set at 50%, which the EU Commission said is ‘significantly lower than the traditional 80% or 80-20 “Use it or Lose it” principal.
The current 50% usage threshold is designed to help the airline industry which is undergoing uncertainties amid pandemic and is one of the badly affected industries around the world.
As the world is aware of this situation and understands the fragile recovery of the aviation sector, specific provision and guidelines are in place for something termed “Justified Non – Use of Slots” (JNUS).
This JNUS provision means that the airlines can apply to their slot coordinators to implement the new provision, which enables them to follow 50% threshold guideline.
The ACI Europe said, “The new ruling is specifically designed to address the Covid pandemic, and covers not only outright travel bans but also restrictions of movement, quarantine or isolation measures which impact the viability of possibility of travel or the demand for travel on specific routes.”
The ACI said, “it insists to the airlines that they are very well protected from the current uncertainties, and negates the need for ‘ghost flights’, which are defined as those voluntarily operated by airlines exclusively for the purpose of retaining historic rights to their slots.”
The director-general for ACI Europe, Mr. Oliver Jankovec said, “A few airlines are claiming they are forced to run high volumes of empty flights in order to retain airport slot usage rights. There absolutely no reason why this should be the reality.”