The British Government has submitted rules before Parliament to reinstate the airport slots rules for this summer season that are in line with pre-pandemic levels.
However, the government has retained some flexibility to enable the sector’s recovery.
Beginning 26 March 2023, airlines will be required to use their slots 80% of the time to retain them.
With this move, the UK Government aims to minimise disruption.
Airlines will be allowed to return up to 5% of their slots before the start of the season, which will help in creating realistic schedules and avoid last-minute cancellations.
UK Transport Secretary Mark Harper will announce the new measures during his keynote speech at the Airport Operators’ Association’s annual conference, where he is expected to say: “Today, I can confirm that slots rules will return to normal this summer.
“But we’re maintaining the safety net introduced during Covid…and airlines can hand back 5% of slots to help minimise last-minute cancellations.
“Now we’re able to start a new, more optimistic, conversation about the future. About an industry no longer constrained by outdated practices, but modernising its infrastructure and operations.”
Airline companies will also have the option not to use their allocated slots if the end of a route is affected by Covid-19 restrictions.
It will help airlines avoid flying empty planes just to make the slots usage ratio.
The government is said to have made this decision after consulting with the sector on how it can facilitate aviation industry recovery and ensure slots get utilised where there is demand.