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Global Economy

Beware, slot bureaucracy! Why airlines in the EU suffer from fear of flying

Due to the highly infectious omicron variant, airline bookings have fallen sharply. Various airlines want to cancel flights, but then they risk losing their landing rights.

Belgium calls on the EU to adapt the rules for landing rights. If this does not happen, Brussels Airlines alone will have to operate 3,000 unnecessary flights in the coming months. Thousands of empty or almost empty planes will fly through Europe in the coming months if landing rights rules are not relaxed.

Belgian Mobility Minister George Gilkinet said this Monday: "I wrote a letter to the European Commission yesterday. I haven't received an answer yet, but I ask the European Commission to relax the rules so that we don't have empty planes in the air to have."

A great asset of the industry: slots

The most valuable thing for an airline, apart from the hardware, are the so-called timeslots. These slots are the times they are allowed to take off and land at an airport. If they are not used, they are automatically lost and another airline can then buy them. That's why airlines feel compelled to fly even with empty planes in these Covid-19 times."

Maaike Andries is spokeswoman for the Lufthansa subsidiary Brussels Airlines: "If this flexible general regulation is not extended, we as an airline will be forced to operate unnecessary flights. For Brussels Airlines, this means 3000 flights that could be avoided from an ecological and economic point of view. just to secure our take-off and landing rights."

In the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission had reduced the proportion of slots to be used to 50 percent, but now it wants to withdraw this special measure. With painful consequences for airlines that are still ailing and for the environment.

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