The airports slot mechanism leading to airlines flying almost empty flights in the COVID-19 crisis has been a hot topic lately. The so-called "use it or lose it" rule was under scrutiny. This also lead to temporary changes of rules. This opened a lot of questions and there will be further discussions. Here is a post of Airports Council International on this topic.
Airport slots received a lot of media attention following reports of carriers having to fly empty aircrafts to protect their slot portfolio at congested airports. The ensuing discussion mainly focused on debating the most appropriate answer to prevent airlines from being forced to operate “ghost flights”. One might however wonder why the current slot allocation rules cannot cope with COVID-19, and how “ghost flights” could happen in the first place. The question is an important one for both economic and environmental reasons.
As ACI represents airports, which naturally sets the tone of the blog post, but it is nevertheless a great read. It recapitulates the rules, their origin and how they were intended to work. It also provides some insights in the next steps.