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Published on Friday, February 26, 2021

Airport slot waiver extended into summer

Airlines will not have to operate 'ghost flights' in order to maintain airport slots, the Government has confirmed, after today further extending the slot allocation waiver beyond the spring.

Legislation to extend the waiver will come into force on 26 March - two days before the start of the summer season.

In usual circumstances, airlines must operate flights 80% of the time in order to retain historic slots.

The Government said the extension of the waiver - first introduced last year when travel ground to a halt - will prevent the need for airlines to operate carbon-inefficient 'ghost flights' to retain their slots.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "I want to restart international travel as soon as it is safe and the slots waiver is a critical part of making that happen.

"With airlines flying a smaller proportion of their usual schedules, the waiver means carriers can reserve their finances, reduce the need for environmentally damaging 'ghost flights' and allow normal services to immediately restart when the pandemic allows."

The move will anger Wizz Air which has long-argued the waiver is allowing rivals to retain slots they have 'no intention of operating'.

Wizz Air has previously branded the waiver scheme as a 'fraud against the taxpayer and the travelling public'.

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