The European Union has extended an 80/20 ‘use it or lose it’ slot waiver at airports across the continent.

While a small number of carriers, including Wizz Air, have previously been critical of the suspension of the rules, the latest decision was broadly welcomed by the aviation industry.

The waiver, introduced in March last year, was due to end on March 27th leading to concern that carriers would operate ‘ghost flights’ in order to retain airport slots by complying with the rule that slots be in use 80 per cent of the time.

It was last extended in September last year.

Under the last move, the rule will be modified through the summer.

Airlines will be required to use 50 per cent of their take-off and landing slots in order to keep them for the following year.

In a statement, the EU said: “This grants the necessary flexibility to adapt to different air traffic levels based on traffic data and forecasts and other indicators.”

Airlines for Europe (A4E) welcomed the agreement saying it would “help to mitigate the economic impact of the crisis on European airlines and avoid the unnecessary operation of empty flights”.