European slots ruling

European regulators have proposed ending the stringent ‘use it or lose it’ slot-use requirement, easing pressure on airlines during the economic crisis. Current slot rules require an airline to operate its slots on 80% of occasions in each season, or lose them for the following year. As a result many carriers are often forced to maintain unprofitable routes in fear of losing valuable slots, especially at major hub airports where they can be scarce commodities.

According to the European Commission, under the proposal “carriers will have access during the 2010 summer season to the same slots they had in summer 2009, regardless of whether or not they used them.” These measures will initially only last for the one season but the situation is likely to be reviewed later this year.