COVID-19: Commission helps to ease impact on aviation industry and the environment

The European Commission continues to work on all fronts to fight the COVID-19 outbreak. In order to ease the economic and environmental impact of the outbreak, the European Commission decided today to put forward very rapidly targeted legislation to temporarily alleviate airlines from their airport slot usage obligations under EU law. Announcing the measure, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “We want to make it easier for airlines to keep their airport slots, even if they do not operate flights in those slots because of declining traffic. This temporary measure helps both our industry and the environment. It will relieve pressure on the aviation industry, and in particular on smaller airline companies, and it will also decrease emissions by avoiding so-called ‘ghost flights’ – when airlines fly almost empty planes, simply to keep their slots.” The President’s statement is available here. Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, added: “The temporary measure will allow airlines to adjust their capacity in view of the falling demand caused by the outbreak. […] Given the urgency, the Commission will in due course present a legislative proposal and calls on the European Parliament and the Council to swiftly adopt this measure in co-decision procedure.” The full statement by Commissioner Vălean is available here.