Yesterday, the European Commission announced that the rules about airport slots will be temporarily relaxed in response to the crisis caused in the industry by COVID-19. This is in line with the ETF statement and letter to the Commissioners Vălean and Schmit last week, where we urged the European Commission to act to protect transport workers.
The relaxation of slot rules is an important step to ensure the stability of the airline industry in Europe. If introduced in isolation, however, it fails to address the very real social cost civil aviation workers will pay because of the decline in air travel. In parallel with the changes of rules for airport slots, all EU member states need to ensure that workers whose employment is in danger are protected, in line with the provisions that exist in their national legislation. Concretely, this can mean that workers are put on temporary paid leave while the demand for airline services is low and that they have access to other forms of compensation if – as a measure of last resort – they end up being let go.
To ensure that the social dimension is not forgotten, the ETF today addressed another letter to Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, where we urged her to encourage the EU member states to adopt the measures mentioned above to prevent adverse social consequences of the current crisis. Social measures that are already being introduced in some of the member states need to be extended and implemented in all member states immediately.
You may download the letter to your right.