Wizz Air has called for the reimposing of the ‘use it or lose it’ airline slot rule for the coming winter season – putting it at odds with airlines association Iata.
The rule, which requires airlines to operate 80% of their scheduled flights or risk losing vital take off and landing slots, has been waived for the summer 2020 season due to the dire impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the aviation industry.
Iata last month called for the waiver to be extended by the European Commission through the winter 2020/21 season to March 2021– a move also backed by industry group Airlines for Europe.
But low-cost carrier Wizz says such an extension will be “irrational and anti-competitive” and would “hinder rather than help” the recovery of the airline sector in Europe.
Budapest-based Wizz added it was “willing and able to expand” but would not be able to do this fully if the slots waiver is extended.
Jozsef Varadi, chief executive of Wizz Air Group, said: “I call on the European Commission to end the 80-20 slot waiver regulation for all airlines in Europe as of 25 October 2020 and support the recovery of the aviation sector and the associated industries by allowing genuine market conditions to prevail.
“The current plan to prolong the waiver until March 2021 is against free competition and protects incumbent airlines with weak business models while airlines like Wizz Air are ready to take up new market opportunities and provide even more low fare opportunities for their passengers.”