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EU: freeze airline slots to allow flight cutbacks

EU: freeze airline slots to allow flight cutbacks

European airlines could be allowed cut back flights this year without losing their exclusive rights to airport landing slots under changes proposed by EU regulators on Tuesday.
Slots are the daily periods of time that airlines get to land and take off from airports. They are valuable, changing hands for as much as 30 million pounds a pair at Europe's busiest airport, London Heathrow.
Under EU rules, if airlines don't use 80 percent of their slots each season, they can lose the right to them.
The European Commission said airlines should be able to reduce flights this year without losing slots, because of the economic slowdown.
It is suggesting a temporary freeze of the 80-percent rule this summer _ from April to September _ to allow airlines the right to the slots in 2010 even if they didn't use them in 2009.
It said it could also freeze slots next winter if the slowdown is still hurting airlines.
Any changes will need to be approved by EU governments and the European Parliament.
Air travel is slumping and airlines lost $5 billion last year, the International Air Transport Association says. Cutbacks seem a certainty as passenger demands continues to drop, falling nearly 6 percent in January.


Updated : 2021-03-08 05:58 GMT+08:00