AFAC Requests Airlines to Return Airport SlotsBy Lorenzo Núñez | Wed, 08/18/2021 - 14:34
In preparation for the number of flights expected by the end of the year, the Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC) has established that unused airport slots in airfields that are in saturated conditions must be returned to the airport for availability.
The decision, approved by the general director of the AFAC, Carlos Antonio Rodríguez, explains that the airlines must return their slots, landing and takeoff schedules to airports that are in saturated conditions for the 2021 winter season, no later than next September 7.
"During the monthly reconciliation carried out by the Mexico City International Airport (AICM), several of the assigned schedules are being cancelled due to low occupancy factors and the market´s slow recovery, reaching 40 percent in cancellations," said the Ministry of Communications (SCT) a few days ago.
The occupancy for the 2021 winter season will be 50 percent, meaning that in order to keep the airport slots, airlines must prove that they are using at least half of them. This criterion replaces the previous one, due to the current crisis generated by the pandemic, where they had to operate 85 percent of their slots in order for them to not to be taken away. With the new decision, slots that are not returned before or during the indicated date will be subject to utilization by the airport during the winter season. In addition, AFAC reported in their announcement that the justification for the non-utilization of slots must be something other than:
- Government travel restrictions based on nationality, closed borders, government recommendations, COVID-19-related advisories warning against all but essential travel, or complete bans on flights to/from certain countries or geographic areas.
- Severe government restrictions related to COVID-19 on the maximum number of passengers arriving or departing on a specific flight or through a specific airport.
- Government restrictions on movement or quarantine/isolation measures within the country or region where the airport or destination is located (including intermediate points).
- Government-imposed closure of essential aviation business (e.g., hotel closures). And unforeseeable restrictions on airline crew, including sudden entry bans or crew stranded in unexpected locations due to quarantine measures.
Any other reason behind the non-used slots will not be accepted by AFAC.