FAA waives rules that caused airlines to fly empty planes

National News

FILE – In this Jan. 10, 2020 file photo, a commercial plane flies into a windy, cloudy sky at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Federal regulators are temporarily waiving a rule that has been causing airlines to fly nearly empty planes to avoid losing precious takeoff and landing rights at major airports. On Wednesday, March 11, the FAA said it was waiving the 80% rule through May 31 to help airlines that are canceling flights because of the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

(AP) — Federal regulators are temporarily waiving a rule that has been causing airlines to fly nearly empty planes to avoid losing precious takeoff and landing rights at major airports.

The Federal Aviation Administration limits takeoff and landing rights or “slots” at a few big, congested airports.

Airlines must use 80% of their slots or risk losing them. On Wednesday, the FAA said it was waiving the 80% rule through May 31 to help airlines that are canceling flights because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Airline officials had criticized the slot-use requirement. The president of United Airlines called it crazy.

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