Airport group says slot system needs revision

22 / 06 / 2018

  • Schiphol Airport's cargo community failed in its attempts to have special slot rules for freighter operators implemented

Airports Council International (ACI) Europe has hit out at IATA's take on a study commissioned by the airport group on current slot rules.

In a press release published yesterday, IATA said that a study commissioned by ACI Europe showed that "the rules for allocating scarce capacity at Europe’s congested airports are fostering competition and growing connectivity".

However, ACI Europe hit out at IATA's interpretation of the study from consultancy ICF.

"The ICF study is totally silent on airport slot allocation rules. Its focus is on the dynamics of air fares and points to the absence of direct relationship between the level of airport charges and air fares," the airport group said.

ACI Europe then went on to criticise current slot regulations, saying they are out of date.

Olivier Jankovec, director general, ACI Europe, said: “Addressing the airport capacity crunch requires a holistic approach whereby both industry and regulators leverage all possible avenues to ensure the most efficient use of airport capacity as well as the planning, financing and delivery of additional airport capacity.

"The former requires a reconsideration of the EU Regulation on airport slots, which is based on IATA’s World Slot Scheduling Guidelines (WSSG).

"These Guidelines were adopted decades ago, at a time when the structure and dynamics of the aviation market were very different.

"Lack of airport capacity in Europe was not the challenge it is today and aviation policy followed an airline-centric approach rather than a consumer & connectivity centric one. Indeed, these Guidelines are de facto rules made by incumbent airlines for incumbent airlines.”

“The slot allocation rules essentially define the parameters by which airport facilities are being used by airlines. Yet, airports have had no say in the formulation and neither in the way these rules are applied. No other industry is faced with such a paradox. Now is the time to address that.”

IATA has recently engaged with ACI WORLD on a review of the WSSG and, in parallel, ACI Europe has started to liaise with the European Commission on a possible review of the EU Regulation on airport slots.

The debate on slots comes shortly after the Schiphol Airport cargo community failed in its attempts to have special slot rules for freighter operators implemented in light of capacity constraints at the Netherlands hub.

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