By Caoimhe Toman
Date: Thursday 11 Feb 2021
LONDON (ShareCast) - (Sharecast News) - The European Parliament on Thursday approved measures to extend the suspension of competitive access to airport slots throughout the summer of 2021 as airlines are still being impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.
The "use it or lose it" rule for airport slots that require airlines to use 80% of their take-off and landing rights was waived last March to offer some relief to the companies at the start of the pandemic.
Travel is still well below pre-pandemic levels as the world continues to struggle to keep the coronavirus at bay with airlines struggling to stay afloat.
The new measures approved on Thursday will allow airlines to relinquish temporarily up to 50% of their slots in the summer season beginning on March 28 and use as little as half of those they retain without any permanent loss of access.
Ryanair and Wizz Air have protested against the suspension, claiming that it thwarts their growth plans.
Industry group Airlines for Europe said it would "help to mitigate the economic impact of the crisis on European airlines, preserve future connectivity for EU citizens and avoid the unnecessary operation of empty flights and associated emissions".
If the suspension had not been approved, many airlines would have been forced to carry out so-called "ghost flights" to keep their slots.
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