Wizz Air rekindles the dispute with legacy carriers over the use of airport slots

Yet another tough stance by Wizz Air against the European standards that regulate the use of slots in airports. These rules, according to the CEO of low cost, Jozsef Varadi, should not be changed to protect traditional airlines and if the latter are unable to use them, the slots should be made available to competitors.

In recent months, due to the air transport crisis induced by the pandemic, the EU has in fact revised the “use it or lose it” rule, effectively allowing legacy carriers to preserve their positioning at airports despite the sharp decline in traffic. sparking protests from low cost companies, interested in a potential expansion on various airports.

“Leave the slot rules as they were before the pandemic and the market will solve the problem,” Varadi told Reuters. “We would be able to operate those slots in captive airports, so why are they protected for the benefit of traditional carriers who are unable to exploit them? ”.

Varadi said the loosening of the rules was, in a sense, “distorting the market” because it protected legacy carriers struggling to fill planes from low-cost rivals who could sell all their seats.

According to the EU airport rules, airlines must use at least 80% of their take-off and landing slots to be able to maintain them for the following year: these rules were suspended at the beginning of the crisis caused by the pandemic, but The EU has begun to partially restore them, reigniting concerns about empty flights as the pandemic continues.