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Airlines Begin Leveling the Playing Field on Airport Slots

A British Airways 747-400 at London’s Heathrow Airport (Photo: AirlineGeeks | James Dinsdale)

A few days ago, airline associations from Africa, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia issued a joint statement calling on governments around the world to ensure global alignment of airport slot rules and promote a fair and transparent allocation of airport slots.

Airport slot management is necessary at some airports where the available airport infrastructure is insufficient to meet the demand of airlines and other aviation operators.

The African Airlines Association (AFRAA), Airlines for America (A4A), Airlines International Representation in Europe (AIRE), Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO), Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), European Express Association, European Regions Airline Association (ERAA), Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have urged governments to follow the Worldwide Airport Slot Guidelines (WASG).

Published jointly by Airports Council International (ACI), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Worldwide Airport Coordinators Group (WWACG), these guidelines provide the global aviation community with a single set of standards for the management of airport slots at coordinated airports and are recognized by many regulatory authorities for the management and allocation of airport capacity. Although the policies, principles and procedures set out in the WASG are intended as best practices to be applied worldwide, in some cases these guidelines have not been incorporated into local regulations and national laws.

The reasons behind the joint statement

Airport capacity utilization is constantly increasing due to the growing complexity of the global aviation network and the increasing number of coordinated airports around the world.

Over time, many governments have begun to unilaterally deviate from the WASG, modifying and fragmenting slot regulation, thereby disrupting airline schedules and jeopardizing the progress in global connectivity and efficiency that has been made over many years.

Therefore, the airline and airport associations call on governments to recognize the importance of harmonizing rules and adhering to the WASG. These guidelines have provided the aviation industry with decades of stability and consistency in the application of slot management worldwide, leading to steady growth in connectivity, greater route diversity and continued expansion into new markets.

It is therefore vital that governments recognize the role of the Worldwide Airport Slot Board (WASB), a body including airports, airlines and slot coordinators, to guide and advise on policy changes in the slot process as experts and technically competent users of the process. If governments align themselves with the WASB, once policies are adopted locally, improvements will be immediately reflected in national or regional economies, reaping the benefits of an increasingly connected, sustainable and efficient air transport network.

Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo
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Author

  • Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo

    Vincenzo graduated in 2019 in Mechanical Engineering with an aeronautical curriculum, focusing his thesis on Human Factors in aircraft maintenance. In 2022 he pursued his master's degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Palermo, Italy. He combines his journalistic activities with his work as a Reliability Engineer at Zetalab.

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