The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the aviation industry, with a significant reduction in airline and airport operations. As the pandemic has progressed, tried and tested slot allocation mechanisms have quickly come under strain. In particular, the widespread adoption of the 'use it or lose it' / '80/20' rule, which guarantees re-allocation of slots subject to meeting utilisation thresholds, has resulted in a global web of slot waivers being introduced, sometimes on quite different terms.
Key questions remain as to how long such measures should remain in place, and whether such waivers (and other relief) assist or hinder the maintenance of a competitive aviation environment. The thorny issue of slot trading and different levels of tolerance for such practices across the globe, as well as wider market access questions, also remain issues that divide opinion. As we start to emerge from the current crisis, is it time for a re-think on slot allocation in a post-pandemic world?
Thomas van der Wijngaart, Partner, Clyde & Co
Peter Coles, Partner, Clyde & Co
Jorn Wegter, Head of Legal and General Counsel, Wizz Air
Lara Maughan, Head of Worldwide Airport Slots, IATA