The government has introduced legislation to extend a waiver on airport slot allocation through the summer season.
With the previous legislation due to expire in spring, the new extension will come into force from 26 March.
The Department for Transport said the move would “provide much needed flexibility” and ensure airlines did not need to operate services at least 80% of the time in order to retain their slots.
The DfT added the policy would support the aviation sector “through a period where air travel is likely to be lower than other years” and it comes as the government decides how to restart international as part of its lockdown-easing roadmap.
Prime minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday (22 February) a revived Global Travel Taskforce will deliver a report on 12 April detailing how travel would resume.
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.”