A handful of airport operators in the Middle East, including Dubai Airports, have followed Europe in suspending 80:20 slot rules, which were forcing airlines to operate expensive ‘ghost flights’ to ensure they did not lose lucrative slots.
Airlines and industry groups had begun lobbying for the suspension of the ‘use it or lose it’ rule when the international Covid-19 emergency obliterated demand for air travel.
Current rules dictate that airlines can lose their airport slots if they fail to use them 80% of the time. Airlines are concerned they could lose their presence at major hubs because they have been forced to cut thousands of flights.
Following a request from The International Air Transport Association (IATA) to airports around the world, a small number of operators have suspended slot rules for differing lengths of time.
Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Ghana all confirmed a full slot waiver for the rest of the 2020 season while Dubai Airports agreed to a waiver until the end of May.
IATA’s VP for MENA said the group will continue to work with other countries to get the slot rule waived across the region.
Earlier this week, slot rules in Europe were suspended until June. While the move was largely welcomed, IATA said that suspending the rule until June was not enough and that it expected a full waiver to last until the end of the 2020 season in October.