Competition in air transport must be ensured

2021. 02. 12.

The plenary of the European Parliament adopted the amended regulation that aims temporary relief from slot utilisation rules at European airports. “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an enormous disruption in air transport that has justified the adoption of rules with the aim of supporting the recovery of airlines. Nonetheless, it is important that these measures do not affect competition disproportionally between them”, said MEP Andor Deli, Member of the Committee on Transport and Tourism.

Under normal circumstances, the EU legislation requires the airlines to operate their flights according to the schedule, i.e. to use the allocated time slots at the airports. If airport slots are used below certain level, the airline would lose its slot and another one could obtain it. “However, the COVID-19 pandemic has overwritten all rules. Last spring, the application of slot utilisation rules had been suspended in order to prevent the so called ghost flights”, highlighted the Fidesz MEP.

Given the current negative trends, the European Commission has put a new proposal on the table. Unlike the previous rules, it does not foresee a complete suspension, but it substantially decreases the slot utilization requirement. Since it would disproportionally affect the competition, the EP and the Members States have changed the Commission’s proposal. “Undoubtedly, there is a need to support European airlines when it comes to the slot utilization rules, but it shall not  last for years as the Commission proposed. We have to return to normality as soon as possible thus ensure competition in air transport. This is the interest of the European citizens, too”, emphasized Andor Deli.