March 26, 2020 / 9:42 PM / 2 days ago

EU lawmakers back suspension of airline slots rule until October

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European lawmakers overwhelmingly agreed on Thursday to suspend until Oct. 24 a rule requiring airlines to use at least 80% of their flight slots to keep them the following year so as to ease an industry crisis unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Following a deal reached last week by envoys of the EU’s 27 member states, the European Parliament voted in its first-ever remote session in Brussels to suspend the EU slots rule until the summer season ends in late October as European flights fell 60% this week with several major airlines forced to ground their fleets.

The last time the EU waived the airport slots rule was in 2009 because of the financial crisis. EU governments will still need to approve the final agreement but that is seen as a formality.

Reporting by Marine Strauss and Philip Blenkinsop

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