10 AUGUST 2020
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In a move that is likely to alienate other airlines operating at Gatwick, Wizz has called on the European Commission and all other stakeholders to end the current waiver from the 80-20 use-it-or-lose-it rule for airport slots.
Chief Executive József Váradi, is outspoken with his comments. “The calls to prolong the slot waiver until March 2021 are against free competition and protect incumbent airlines with weak business models while airlines like Wizz Air are ready to take up new market opportunities and provide even more low fare opportunities for their passengers and essential connectivity for countries. Even more so than the irrational amounts of state aid given to airlines who have managed themselves into a financial position with no resilience, slot blocking is a fraud against the taxpayer as well as the travelling public.”
Wizz finds itself in a peculiar position. It is not a member of IATA, registered in Hungary (Wizz Air UK in Jersey) and listed on the London Stock Exchange. It is a member of Airlines UK but not the lobby group Airlines for Europe (A4E), which counts amongst its supporters British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair.
A4E's Chairman, and the Chief Executive of Air France-KLM, Ben Smith, recently reaffirmed this appeal, stating that the built-up portfolios of slots were "the bedrock" of the airlines' business models and the foundation for their long-term fleet and network planning.
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