Wizz Air has hit out at airline ‘slot blocking’, claiming it is being prevented from expanding at Gatwick and other key airports.
The budget carrier claims rivals are holding on to unused slots in the hope that demand will return. It is calling for an end to the current waiver on the ‘use it or lose it’ rule introduced during the pandemic.
Wizz Air Group chief executive Jozsef Varadi added: “I call on the European Commission to end the 80-20 slot waiver regulation for all airlines in Europe as of 25 October 2020.”
The airline said: “An extension of the waiver would be anti-competitive and would hinder rather than help the recovery of the EU aviation industry and, therefore, European economies,” the airline said.
“Airlines across Europe with weak business models, many of whom who have benefitted from disproportionately huge injections of public money to support them, are now demanding that they be given further relief into the winter flying season from the usual 80-20 use-it-or-lose-it rule for airport slots at some of Europe’s busiest airports.”
Wizz Air said it had already recovered 77% of its capacity year on year “and almost 100% of its UK-based operation, but is prevented from expanding further at key airports”.
It added: “A significant proportion of the slots at Gatwick airport, which in total are worth some £1.5 billion, are currently being blocked by airlines which have received tax-payer loans, but continue to contract.”