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International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called the European Commission decision on slots “out of touch with reality.”
The European Commission has decided that for winter 2021/2022, airlines will need to use at least 50% of their airport slot allocations, or otherwise, they will be deprived of them.
When speaking about the decision in an IATA statement issued on July 23, 2021, IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh said:
“Once again, the Commission has shown they are out of touch with reality. The airline industry is still facing the worst crisis in its history. The Commission had an open goal to use the slots regulation to promote a sustainable recovery for airlines, but they missed. Instead, they have shown contempt for the industry, and for the many member states that repeatedly urged a more flexible solution, by stubbornly pursuing a policy that is contrary to all the evidence presented to them.”
IATA argues that the recovery is yet to come as by the end of 2021, international air traffic will only be 34% of 2019 levels. Also, as new Covid-19 variants appear, it cannot be taken for granted that further quarantine restrictions or closed borders will not come into effect.