Airlines taking-off and landing at UK Airports now have the peace of mind that they will retain their slots irrespective of whether they fulfill all of them. The decision has been taken by UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, taking into account the likelihood of reducing flight frequencies in the summer of 2021.
Don’t Use it, Don’t Lose It.
Historically, Airlines would have had to fulfill a minimum of 80% of slots allocated to them by the UK’s busiest Airports to avoid potentially receiving a lower allocation of slots the following year. Have you ever wondered why a flight taking off or landing at mainstream UK Airports has presented the opportunity to have the whole row of seats to yourself as such, the load factor (number of passengers to seat ratio) was in single-digit figures? This was because Airlines would operate ‘Ghost Flights’ to meet the 80% requirement for slots take-up.
However, with the Covid-19 pandemic still causing the Aviation Industry to remain largely grounded, the Government decided to extend the Slot Waiver Scheme beyond the Spring. Indeed, Airlines continue to witness an unwelcome correlation in passenger numbers falling and revenue spiraling into the Red Alert Level.
Grant Shapps said, “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 restart when the pandemic allows immediately.”
International Air Travel Roadmap
During the Pandemic, International Air Travel has witnessed the ink being bare on the flight schedule planner for many Air Carrier and Travellers. However, the aforementioned news should hopefully ensure that every flight is now being flown for the right reasons.
On 12th April 2021, the Government will release a report on how International Air Travel can restart. Thereafter, it is possible that International Travel to and from the UK can resume on 17th May 2021.
Perhaps all of the above is one step close to a Fruitful Summer!