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General News Last modified on March 18, 2020

ACI CALLS FOR TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF AIRPORT SLOT REQUIREMENTS

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to unfold, ACI World has called for the alleviation of airport slot usage requirements.

Recognising the ripple effects of pursuing disparate approaches across different countries and airports, ACI World urges a harmonised approach through a global temporary suspension of airport slot usage requirements until June 30, 2020.

ACI favours an ongoing flexible reassessment of the situation based on data-driven evidence.This would enable carriers, especially network airlines, to adjust their schedules in a sustainable way and for airports to protect connecting traffic at hub airports and help safeguard connectivity worldwide.

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“Passenger demand continues to slump as travel restrictions and bans come into effect and a temporary suspension would protect existing routes and schedules and enable airports and airlines to recover more quickly when the emergency is over,”  said ACI World director general, Angela Gittens.

Along with the global temporary suspension, carriers are required to return slots within 24 hours of removing flights from booking systems.

Receiving more realistic flight schedules will also enable airports to take necessary measures to reduce operating costs proportionately. 

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ACI World has joined the chorus of industry voices warning that aviation is in dire need of support to overcome the coronavirus crisis.

ACI World says that airport operators are currently experiencing unprecedented declines in aircraft movements and passenger traffic which significantly hinders their ability to meet their operating costs and their fixed capital expense costs.

Indeed, it admits that "the financial sustainability of the airport industry is under threat" and as such, suspending the collection of charges or granting blanket discounts would make this situation for airport operators even worse.

“As an industry, we must come together to meet this unprecedented challenge,” notes Gittens.

“Many airports around the World, in particular in Asia and now Europe, face problems of liquidity which raises issues of operational and business continuity.

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“The situation is set to worsen in the coming weeks and, while we support relief measures, these must be considered on a non discriminatory basis for all affected actors in the aviation industry so that we can move forward through this crisis together.

“We believe that national authorities have now a key role to play to ensure the sustainability of the entire aviation system by granting relief on airport taxes, on passenger-based taxes, and on taxes on air transport in general to incentivise the return of passenger confidence to travel.

“To this end, we look forward to enhancing our co-operation with the airlines and their representative organisations such as SkyTeam in working to safeguard the viability of the aviation industry now and into the future.”

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