ACI Europe calls for overhaul of EU Airport Slot Regulation

Posted: 14 January 2020 | | No comments yet

ACI Europe’s recommendations state that a significant change must be made to the way airport slot allocation is governed.

ACI Europe

ACI Europe has published its ‘Position Paper on Airport Slot Allocation’, a document detailing its recommendations for a vital and overdue overhaul of the EU Airport Slot Regulation, with the aim of changing the way airport slot allocation is governed.

The majority of the existing legislation’s core principals date back almost 27 years, meaning they are no longer fit for purpose in order to promote more efficient operations and more effective competition within the aviation industry for the benefit of consumers.

The paper is underpinned by a comprehensive study undertaken by independent expert Professor Amedeo Odoni of MIT, analysing the functioning of the EU Airport Slot Regulation. The study found that an estimated 10 per cent of slots at European airports may be going to waste each year, meaning that both capacity and competition are limited and, as a result, so is air connectivity and passenger choice.

ACI Europe’s outlined recommendations to achieve the reform are:

  • Greater consideration to be given to airports’ and their regions’ strategic objectives in the slot allocation process
  • Increased transparency over slot allocation decisions – in particular, the application of secondary allocation criteria
  • Broadening of the scope of the ‘New Entrant Rule’, while removing the possibility of abuse by airline groups, so as to guarantee more effective airline competition at airports
  • The right for Member States to allow secondary trading of slots should they consider it in the interests of competition and capacity optimisation – with the appropriate safeguards and conditions
  • Special provisions to apply for the allocation of slots at extremely congested airports, in the interests of competition, capacity optimisation and the maximisation of economic and social benefits
  • The strengthening of the system of historic rights by better balancing the minimum series length, providing a clear definition of force majeure and maintaining a minimum usage requirement
  • The introduction of a ‘Slot Reservation System’ so as to incentivise airlines to hand back unused slots for reallocation in a timely manner so as to avoid a waste of airport capacity and sub-optimal air connectivity.

Director General of ACI Europe, Olivier Jankovec, said: “A regulatory regime based upon what the air transport market looked like 27 years ago is not only anachronistic – it is limiting the ability of airports to pursue more sustainable operations, to develop air connectivity for their communities and to promote airline competition for the benefit of consumers. Indeed, under the current rules, airports have no say in the way in which the very infrastructure they are creating and investing in is being used by airlines. This needs to change and the Position Paper we have published, together with the independent research upon which its conclusions are drawn, clearly show the imperative for reform.”  

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