12 May 2023


Airports International Council (ACI) Europe recently published a letter to Commissioner Vălean on the revision of the EU Airport Slot Regulation. ACI thanked the Commissioner for the leadership shown by the Commission in beginning the revision process and tabling ambitious ideas in order to bring the Regulation up to date and to adapt to today’s and tomorrow’s aviation markets. Europe’s airports look forward to the forthcoming legislative proposal and encourage the Commission to be bold in doing so.

The letter highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the inadequacy of the current 30-year-old regulation to cope with crises, underlining the urgency to establish a new, future-proof legislation for the single aviation market. The letter also notes that ‘given the near impossibility of creating new airport capacity, it is crucial to have an up-to-date Regulation to ensure the proper functioning of the single aviation market. Given the near impossibility of creating new airport capacity in Europe, the Slot Regulation is the most critical piece of legislation for the functioning of the single aviation market. Europe accounts for over half of the slot coordinated airports worldwide, with 107 out of 205 in the current Summer ‘23 season - a higher number and percentage (52.2%) compared to pre-COVID (50.1% in Summer ‘19, or 104/204). This means increased congestion at Europe’s airports – with the result that what capacity that is available must be allocated optimally and not blocked by incumbent airlines wishing to prevent entry by competitors.’

CLECAT also continues to advocate for a sound revision of the EU Slots Regulation, recognising its failure to consider the unique needs of the air cargo sector and the importance of an appropriate slot allocation mechanism. In its position paper CLECAT has noted that the current regulation does not provide the much-needed flexibility to air freight, as the 80/20 "use it or lose it" rule is challenging to achieve for full freighters since passenger and cargo operations differ significantly. A revised EU Slot Regulation should ensure a system of fair, non-discriminatory, and transparent rules for the allocation of landing and take-off slots, enabling optimal utilisation and fair competition.

The ACI letter can be found here.