COVID-19: MEPs extend relief measures for the transport sector

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


To support the transport sector during the pandemic, MEPs revamped rules for the use of airport slots to prevent ghost flights, and extended the validity of some licences.

Parliament temporarily suspended the ‘use it or lose it’ rule in March 2020 to stop airlines from operating empty flights during the pandemic (ghost flights) only so that they could keep their planned take-off and landing slots in the next season. This exemption ends on 27 March 2021.

To give more clarity on how slots will be used in the future, as the latest Eurocontrol forecast indicates that air traffic is expected to be around half of the level of last year, Parliament set out a plan on how to return to a normal application of the ‘use it or lose it’ rule.

Now that the slot utilisation rules have been updated (approved today with 683 votes in favour, 3 against, 4 abstentions), airlines only have to use 50% of their planned take-off and landing slots for the 2021 summer season (instead of the 80% required before the pandemic) in order to keep them in the following season. In addition, the European Commission can also extend the new rules to other seasons in the future, and adjust the minimum utilisation rate to between 30% and 70%. This will enable it to swiftly react to changing air traffic levels during the pandemic.

“In record time, we managed to update complex, but extremely strategic rules for the air sector, which has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic. We struck a careful balance between injecting some competition into the airport slots market and the need to protect a sector that is in pain”, said EP rapporteur Dominique Riquet (Renew, FR).

Validity of certificates

With 647 votes in favour, 24 against, 19 abstentions, Parliament also prolonged the rules regarding the validity of certain certificates, licences, periodic checks and training that are normally required in the transport sector under 15 different EU rules.

Given the strict sanitary requirements currently in place, it remains difficult to renew a driving licence, test a car’s roadworthiness or review port security. The new rules allow these documents to remain valid for a further ten months if they expired between 1 September 2020 and 30 June 2021. EU governments can opt out from these derogations. However, to ensure the smooth functioning of the single market, they have to accept prolonged certificates from other member states.

Next steps

Parliament and Council consulted each other informally before the vote. Now that MEPs have given their green light, Council has to approve the rules, so they can enter into force after publication in the Official Journal of the EU.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

FROM THE FIELD: India’s plastic waste revolution

Integration of migrants: Commission launches a public consultation and call for an expert group on the views of migrants

Human rights: breaches in Russia, the Rakhine State and Bahrain

How upskilling could help cities rebuild after Coronavirus

EntEx Organises 5 Summer Schools for Young Entrepreneurs across Europe in June/July 2014

The female struggle in the face of medical devaluation

‘The welfare of the Libyan people’ the UN’s sole agenda for the country, says Guterres in Tripoli

Dare to be vulnerable, and three other lessons in leadership

How businesses can create an ethical culture in the age of tech

The challenge to be a good healthcare professional

Act now to prevent Desert Locust catastrophe in Horn of Africa: UN agencies

The most unlikely innovators are changing ICT for development – it’s time we took notice

What is environmental racism?

Climate change: cutting the good by the root?

Guterres condemns killing of Bangladeshi peacekeeper in South Sudan, during armed attack on UN convoy

Venezuela’s needs ‘significant and growing’ UN humanitarian chief warns Security Council, as ‘unparalleled’ exodus continues

More than speed: 5G could become the next big economic driver

Asylum: more solidarity among EU member states and funds for frontline countries

European Commission requests that Italy presents a revised draft budgetary plan for 2019

Greener tourism: Greater collaboration needed to tackle rising emissions

Juncker’s Investment Plan in desperate need for trust and funds from public and private investors

Europe, US and Russia haggle over Ukraine’s convulsing body; Russians and Americans press on for an all out civil war

The “Colombo Declaration” adopted at the World Conference on Youth 2014

IMF: World cup and productivity

Cameron postpones speech in Holland

‘Great cause of concern’ UN chief tells Security Council, surveying ‘bleak’ state of civilian protection

1.1 billion people still lack electricity. This could be the solution

5 leadership lessons I learned from doing my own ‘undercover boss’

If we want to solve climate change, water governance is our blueprint

The World Health Organization has called on countries to ‘test, test, test’ for coronavirus – this is why

EU budget: Commission helps prepare new Cohesion programmes with Regional Competitiveness Index and Eurobarometer

Catalonia secessionist leader takes Flemish ‘cover’; Spain risks more jingoist violence

Marriage equality boosted employment of both partners in US gay and lesbian couples

Europe had a record year for Measles – and it’s partly down to anti-vaccine campaigners

From Policy to Reality: Discrepancies in Universal Health Care Systems across the EU

AI looks set to disrupt the established world order. Here’s how

Early healthcare investment is our best chance at healthy ageing

The EU sides with China against the US; but has Germany capitulated to America?

Preserving biodiversity vital to reverse tide of climate change, UN stresses on International Day

Educate children in their mother tongue, urges UN rights expert

Russia and the West to partition Ukraine?

GDPR and the World Cup have these 4 things in common

Your chocolate can help save the planet. Here’s how

ECB embarks on the risky trip to Eurozone banking universe

New rules to help consumers join forces to seek compensation

Thinking like Leonardo da Vinci will help children tackle climate change

Parliament approves EU rules requiring life-saving technologies in vehicles

World Bank downgrades global growth forecasts, poorest countries hardest hit

What we need is more (and better) multilateralism, not less

International Women’s Day 2019: more equality, but change is too slow

How to fix our planet: the pioneers fighting to bring nature back

How China Mended My Heart

Children are forgetting the names for plants and animals

Labels for tyres: deal for greener and safer road transport

Commission presents its response to Antisemitism and a survey showing Antisemitism is on the rise in the EU

The Ecofin deceives the SMEs with the EIB €10bn capital increase

Consumers suffer three defeats

Sexual exploitation and abuse: latest UN quarterly update

The economic effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus around the world

New VAT rules in the EU: how a digital sea could have become an ocean

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s