Wizz Air calls for end to airport slot use waiver
Wizz Air has reiterated calls on the European Commission and all other stakeholders to end the current waiver from the 80-20 use-it-or-lose-it rule for airport slots.
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.
Wizz Air said it was willing and able to expand, but is being prevented from doing so by those airlines who, with the support of slot co-ordinators, on the one hand complain that they are unable to operate and yet object to the creation of new capacity that would allow resilient airlines to start operations.
The carrier has recovered 77 per cent of its capacity year-on-year across its network and almost 100 per cent of its UK-based operation but argues it is prevented from expanding further at key airports.
At Gatwick Airport, incumbent airlines have publicly stated that they believe that it could take years until their levels of demand return to normal and that they will scale back their operations at, or withdraw from, the airport entirely.
Yet they seek to retain slots that they have no intention of operating in the near future but object to the entry of new airlines – this is nothing more than anti-competitive slot-blocking.
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.
József Váradi, 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 October 25th and support the recovery of the aviation sector, associated industries and national economies by allowing genuine market conditions to prevail.
“The calls to prolong the slot waiver until March 2021 are against free competition and protect 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 and essential connectivity for countries.
“Even more so than the irrational amounts of state aid given to airlines who have manged themselves into a financial position with no resilience, slot blocking is a fraud against the taxpayer as well as the travelling public.”