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The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is temporarily waiving minimum slot-usage requirements at airports.

The move is to help airlines with flight cancellations due to travel restrictions imposed following the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Customarily, at least 80% of slot usage is mandatory for airlines to hold their take-off and landing rights at congested airports.

The minimum slot usage requirement has been exempted through 31 May. This covers American and foreign airlines affected by flight cancellations due to Covid-19.

The airports impacted include Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

The airlines that have flight cancellations will be given credit as if they have operated flights using those slots, noted the FAA.

In a statement: the agency said: “In doing so, the FAA expects that US carriers will be accommodated with reciprocal relief by foreign authorities at airports in their countries, and may determine not to grant a waiver to a foreign carrier whose home jurisdiction does not reciprocate.

“The agency will continue to monitor the Coronavirus’s effect on travel demand and may adjust this waiver as circumstances warrant.

“The FAA will inform airlines of any decision to extend the waiver period as soon as possible.”

The European Commission (EC) has also promised to ‘put forward, very rapidly, legislation regarding the so-called ‘airport slots”.

EC President Ursula von der Leyen said: “We want to make it easier for airlines to keep their airport slots, even if they do not operate flights in those slots because of the declining traffic.

“This is a temporary measure and this temporary measure helps both our industry, but it also helps our environment. It will relieve pressure on the aviation industry, and in particular on smaller airline companies.”