International Air Transport Association (IATA), ERA (European Regions Airline Association*) and Airlines for Europe (A4E) and their respective members are concerned about the proposal to abolish current DST changes switching from wintertime to summertime, and the timeline of the proposal, because of the significant impact on the aviation industry and consumers.
The associations, in a joint statement led by IATA, therefore urge EU member states, the European Commission and the European Parliament, to consider the significant repercussions and disruption to passenger and freight connections when adopting their position.
Should a change be agreed, it is essential that the aviation industry has 18 months minimum to prepare and process the changes, and ERA, IATA and A4E recommend that the earliest season the final clock change could take place is the start of the summer 2021 season.
The statement explains that airline schedules and slot planning are based on the same periods as European summer/winter changes over the whole of Europe. The complexity of moving schedules for many airports due to a DST removal would be immense, and it is likely several flights or connections could not be accommodated at all, or at the preferred time, designed to meet the needs of the passenger, and build freight connections. Changes to existing DST arrangements will affect the ability of the airline industry to meet consumer and business needs at the busiest and most congested airports – this impact may be reduced where an appropriate lead time is introduced, but the impact will not be avoided.
IATA, ERA and A4E and the associations’ members would prefer to remain with the current situation. However, should the decision be to finally abolish time changes, the airline community assesses, following a thorough analysis of the impact of the time change on each season, that the least impact would be felt if summertime is maintained as the permanent time.
If the proposal is eventually agreed, it is vital that the change is synchronised across the 28 EU member states and the industry must have time to plan the changes to minimise disruption where possible. Without complete synchronisation of the final decision and timing to implement, the aviation industry will be left in chaos.