The civil aviation ministry is likely to accept International Air Transport Association's (IATA) demand for suspension of the rules on allocation and use of airport slots. IATA, which represents over 250 airlines, has requested global regulators for suspension of the rules in view of the coronavirus outbreak resulting in widespread cancellation and suspension of international flights.
"Around 43 per cent of all passengers depart from over 200 slot-coordinated airports worldwide. At present, the rules for slot allocation mean that airlines must operate at least 80 per cent of their allocated slots under normal circumstances. Failure to comply with this means the airline loses its right to the slot the next equivalent season. In exceptional circumstances, regulators can relax this requirement,” IATA said in a statement today.
It further said: "Suspending the requirement for the entire season (to October 2020) will mean that airlines can respond to market conditions with appropriate capacity levels, avoiding any need to run empty services in order to maintain slots. Aircraft can be reallocated to other routes or parked; crew can have certainty on their schedules," it added. “It is a force majeure kind of situation. The situation is not in airline's control,” an official said, indicating that the government may accept IATA’s demand. Indian carriers have suspended flights to China and Hong Kong, while international airlines have cut frequencies to India.