The Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (CAD) has suspended the "use it or lose it" rule for slot allocations at Hong Kong Int'l for the Winter 2019/20 season to allow airlines to cut capacity during the ongoing crisis in the region.

"To provide airline operators with greater flexibility in aircraft deployments to meet the challenge, it was agreed at the meeting that the use-it-or-lose-it rule be temporarily suspended for the winter 2019 season," CAD said in a statement to FlightGlobal.

Normally, airlines failing to use at least 80% of their allocated slots would lose them, jeopardising their future operations at Hong Kong airport. The rule is commonplace at the world's most congested hubs and is primarily implemented in order to prevent the stockpiling of slots by airlines which do not necessarily need them at present.

Hong Kong airport will operate near its current maximum capacity until the opening of a third runway, tentatively planned for 2024.

In October, the airport posted a 13% drop in passenger traffic and a 6% drop in the number of operations.