LONDON – The new European Union Summer Season slots for the year 2022 for the northern hemisphere were welcomed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) today.
IATA, in its statement, thanked European Union Commission for providing confirmation of the slot rules for the upcoming summer 2022 season in well advance and for “resisting calls to fully switch the pre-pandemic slot rules back on.”
Mr. Wille Walsh, The IATA Director General praised by saying “The extended slot alleviation provides certainty of the rules when the demand environment remains unpredictable, allowing airlines to build sustainable schedules that respond to demand.”
Mr. Walsh further said that “IATA particularly appreciated the Commission’s openness to discuss technical aspects of the proposal, which led to the choice of slot use threshold that can be particularly implemented by airlines in terms of schedules and slot planning.”
Mr. Walsh also signaled to the hope that governments restore travel rules that allow for the airlines industry to return to growth potential again.
Mr. Walsh pointed that “Until demand growth stabilizes, it is essential to slot rules are restored gradually and continue to maintain provisions for reasonable expectations when conditions change. Such as a rapid clamp down on travel with the emergence of an Omicron, only with sustainable and practicable global travel rules can guarantee connectivity recovery and remove the need for slot alleviation.”
Mr. Walsh also acknowledged the greater importance of how the airport slots system has been the backbone of building global air transport connectivity which was serving 5 billion people across the global route network before the Covid-19 outbreak.
EU Summer Slot System 2022
European Commission has adopted an extension to the slot relief rules of the Summer 2022 season, which will be applicable from 28th March 2022 till 29th October 2022.
The EU Commission asserted that, instead of the normal requirement to utilize at 80% of allotted slots series, airlines can now use up to 64% to retain the historic rights at those slots during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
EU Commission also accepted that the air traffic has not yet completely recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic waves, and it has only reached 70% levels of that of 2019 by 2021 second half scheduling season.
However, Eurocontrol is being optimistic that the annual traffic forecasts of 2022 will be cross beyond 89% of 2019 levels.
The European Union Commission asserted in their statement that, “The new use rate will ensure the efficient use of airport capacity while benefiting consumers. The ‘justified non-use of slots’ exception, protecting airlines, historic rights to slots when state-imposed Covid-19 travel restrictions severely impacted passenger’s ability to travel, will also be extended.”
Adina Vălean, the European Union Commissioner for Transport praised the vaccination progress and the EU Digital Covid-19 certificates, that has helped to restore travelers’ confidence and air connectivity in the European Union, putting the industry in a stronger position to deal with short-term shock waves.
Ms. Vălean addressed that, “Even if we are not there yet, we can take a step further towards the return to normal airport slot management next summer. The decision we adopt today is a sign of that, as we increase the requirements for slot use.”
Ms. Vălean also added that, “I know the aviation sector is concerned about the new Omicron variant and the recent drop in airline bookings. We are monitoring the situation closely. The Commission has demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 crisis its willingness and ability to act swiftly where needed, and this will remain the case in the coming months.”