IATA urges slot leniency for airlines amid coronavirus outbreak

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced it is urging airport governing bodies to relax rules governing the use of takeoff and landing slots for airlines as they reduce flights to deal with the coronavirus, the association said.

Under slot allocation rules at more than 200 airports worldwide, airlines must operate at least 80% of their allocated slots under normal circumstances or risk losing the slot to competitors the following season.

Suspending the requirement through October will allow airlines to respond to market conditions with appropriate capacity levels, avoiding the need to run empty services in order to maintain slots. Aircraft can be reallocated to other routes or parked, while crews can have certainty about their schedules, IATA said.

Regulators have already been waiving the slot rules on a rolling basis during the COVID-19 crisis, primarily for operations to China and Hong Kong.