By Edward Thicknesse, cityam.com
The UK has extended its waiver on the “80:20” airport slot rule through the lucrative summer season, it was announced today.
The decision, which was announced this morning by industry body Airport Coordination Limited (ACL), will be a much-needed boon for the UK’s embattled carriers.
In a statement, it said: “The UK’s Secretary of State for Transport has announced that the UK will extend the waiver from the 80:20 slot usage rule to the Summer 2021 season, subject to certain conditions.”
Under the normal regulations airlines which do not use 80 per cent of their lucrative take-off and landing slots have to cede them to rival carriers.
But with carriers flying a tiny proportion of their normal schedules due to the pandemic, these rules have been suspended since last March.
However, the decision to extend the waivers means that airlines looking to expand their operations by taking over others’ slots will find themselves frustrated.
One such carrier is Hungarian flier Wizz Air, which is understood to be targeting expansion at Gatwick airport in Sussex.
Back in November, fellow low-cost airline Ryanair also expressed is opposition to the waiver.
“We oppose the extension of slot waivers into summer 2021 because this will lead to fewer flights and higher fares for consumers”, a spokesperson said.
“Legacy airlines at hub airports will have no incentives to operate flights. Slot waivers distort competition by preventing low-fare airlines from expanding while legacy carriers are able to reduce capacity and raise prices.”