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Steer presents main findings of slot study

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Slots Workshop.pdf

During a videoconference held by the European Commission on 3 June – in which several ERA members also participated – a presentation on the main findings of the fact-finding study on slot regulation was made by consultancy Steer.

The fact-finding study, which was commissioned for the European Commission with the aim of assessing market developments since 2011 and the functioning of the Slot Regulation 93/95, has reached its final stage. Therefore, following the opening remarks made by Filip Cornelis, Director of Aviation at DG MOVE, Steer representatives presented the main findings of the study to participants representing numerous EU member states and industry stakeholders.

It was shared that many of the problem drivers identified in 2011 are still valid and were identified by the stakeholders during the consultation process run last year as part of the study. The new issues that were described by the stakeholders in 2019 are:

  1.  Slot co-ordinators’ decisions being appealed before national courts, with the risk of incurring the associated costs potentially influencing the impartiality of their decision-making.
  2.  Lack of clear rules on airports’ capacity declarations.
  3.  Use of multiple operating licences or joint operations to benefit from the new entrant rule, limiting competition.
  4.  Slots being treated as an asset by airlines and appearing on their balance sheets.
  5.  Bankruptcies not always resulting in a straightforward and timely reallocation of slots, potentially wasting available capacity.

Upon demonstrating the old and new’ key problem drivers, a couple of issues were highlighted in more detail: underutilisation of slot resources, slot mobility (that continues to be limited), limited impact of the new entrant rule, airport capacity declaration, late handback of slots (not sufficiently discouraged) and misuse of slots.

Replying to request of many conference attendees (that was also reiterated in writing by the industry after the event), the Commission informed that fact-finding study has not yet reached the stage of publication but it might come at a later stage.