FAA Grants Airlines Relief From U.S. Airport Slot-Use Restrictions in Response to Coronavirus 

March 16, 2020

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that U.S. and foreign carriers that cancel or reduce service at U.S. slot-controlled airports will not forfeit their slots. U.S. slot-controlled airports include New York’s John F. Kennedy International (JFK) and LaGuardia (LGA) Airports, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). The FAA is waiving its 80 percent minimum use requirement for slots at those airports through October 24, 2020. In addition, at four other U.S. airports that are not subject to slot controls but where the FAA maintains a formal process for reviewing and approving airlines’ schedules (Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and San Francisco International Airport (SFO)), the FAA will credit airlines for flights cancelled due to coronavirus through October 24, 2020, as if the flights had been operated, for purposes of future schedule development.

Foreign carriers’ retention of slots at U.S. airports is contingent on reciprocity. In other words, U.S. carriers must receive the same protection from loss of their slots at airports in the home country of a foreign carrier that seeks to preserve its U.S. airport slots under this relief. Any airline that cancels or suspends service at one or more U.S. slot-controlled airports must notify the FAA in writing. The airline must provide the FAA “supporting information demonstrating that flight cancellations directly relate to the coronavirus outbreak.”


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David Heffernan

Chair, Transportation & Trade


(202) 463-2537

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