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26 JULY 2021
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But the controversy continues.
Airport Co-ordination Ltd (ACL) last week welcomed the publication of statutory instrument of legislation which provides alleviation for the winter 2021 season for slots at UK coordinated airports. It was set out before Parliament on 20 July, with the expectation of going into force before the start of the forthcoming winter season.
"This new alleviation gives much needed clarity; goes some way to providing more balance between the needs of different stakeholders; and paves the way for a gradual return to normal slot usage rules, once demand sufficiently recovers," ACL stated. The new mechanism for this winter allows full alleviation over a series of slots returned prior to 7 September and requires carriers to operate 50% of what they retain. It also allows further alleviation for unforeseen government-imposed restrictions related to Covid-19.
However, Gatwick Airport has criticised the legislation draft, saying the rules would allow resident airlines to retain substantial slot portfolios at airports, blocking them from competitors, without having to operate any of them. Jonathan Pollard, CCO, has written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps along these lines. British Airways, easyJet and Norwegian UK are the biggest beneficiaries, whilst Wizz in particular is keen to expand its operation.
In response to the effect of Covid-19 on air travel demand, the 80:20 ‘use it or lose it’ slot usage rule was waived for the summer 2020, winter 2020 and summer 2021 slot scheduling seasons.
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