The new regulations will allow a one-off “amnesty” on airport slots rules, enabling airlines to plan ahead and deliver a realistic summer schedule. This is being provided as an exceptional measure while industry makes progress in recruiting necessary staff.
Slots are used to manage capacity at the busiest airports. A slot gives permission to use the full range of airport infrastructure (runway, terminal and gates, for instance) necessary to operate an air service at an airport on a specific date and time.
Highly valuable commercial assets, airlines must use slots a certain amount of times each season in order to keep them. However, many parts of the sector have been unable to recruit enough staff in time to fly the number of flights they have planned for, leading to flights being cancelled at short notice.
Subject to parliamentary approval, the measure takes advantage of our new freedom to set our own slots rules after leaving the EU and comes after the Transport Secretary and Aviation Minister urged the industry to develop a deliverable and realistic summer schedule.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“The British people have made huge sacrifices over the pandemic and, for many, this will be well-deserved time away that they haven’t had in years.”
“That’s why it’s crucial they don’t face disappointing last-minute cancellations and chaos at airports when the system can’t deliver. And I will do everything in my power to stop that.”