UK lifts take-off and landing regulations for struggling aviation sector

UK lifts take-off and landing regulations for struggling aviation sector
BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ

Airports across Europe have faced chaos due to labour shortages and rising passenger demand. To manage the disruption, the UK will relax rules that would normally see airlines lose their take-off and landing privileges at airports if they didn’t use the slots.

The Department for Transport said it would waive takeoff and landing slot regulations, which are intended to ensure that airlines “make sensible decisions” about schedules and prevent individual companies from unreasonably taking all available slots.

The government is giving airlines “a short window to make slots available for the rest of the summer season that they don’t think they can use.” It is hoped that this will prevent further last-minute cancellations which are now hitting the sector.

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These slots “would be available for use by other airlines during the season” but would then be “returned to the original airlines” the following season, the government clarified.

Industry difficulties

Before the pandemic, companies would be mandated to use at least 80% of the take-off and landing slots allocated to them at airports, otherwise they would lose their rights the following season.

These rules were suspended during the coronavirus pandemic, which caused the collapse of air traffic and slashed workforces in airports.

Recently, airlines and airports across Europe and the UK have seen hours-long queues and last-minute cancellations as they struggle to beef up staffing numbers.

Last week, London Gatwick airport announced that hundreds of flights over the busy summer travel period will be cancelled. EasyJet announced on Monday it would scale down its services due to staff shortages.

Brussels Airports was hit by strikes on Monday, while more strikes are announced towards the end of this week.


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