ACI Europe Calls for Update to 30-year-old EU Airport Slot Regulation
ACI Europe, the industry body representing Europe’s airports, has renewed its call for the European Commission urgently to bring the EU Airport Slot Regulation up to date.
In a letter from ACI Europe President and Executive Vice President of AENA, Javier Marín, to EU Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean, the Commission was praised for its ambitious work to date in preparing the ground for a revision of the EU airport slot regulation currently in place.
However, as Marín points out, the regulation is 30 years old and the Commission must now take the next step and move forwards with a legislative proposal to future-proof the single aviation market.
According to ACI Europe, the current EU Airport Slot Regulation is “largely based on principles set by incumbent airlines for incumbent airlines”, with airports having no say on the way their capacity is allocated and used. As such, the regulation “reflects an era that is no longer – when national airlines dominated and low cost carriers had yet to emerge, competition was scarce and airport capacity unconstrained”.
ACI Europe’s president highlights that the “loopholes and deficiencies” of the EU Airport Slot Regulation are now plain to see.
“Practices such as slot hoarding, overbidding, ‘double-dipping’, slot leasing, secondary trading and abuse of the New Entrant rule by multi-airline groups go against the spirit of the single aviation market by limiting competition, connectivity and consumer choice,” Javier Marín says.
The industry body adds that as Europe accounts for more than half of the world’s most congested airports and as congestion is set to worsen since creating new airport capacity is ever more difficult, updating airport slot rules is fundamental to protect the integrity and well-functioning of the single aviation market.
“This is paramount to safeguard consumer interest and regional connectivity in the context of airline consolidation– through mergers, market exit or attrition… The European airport industry is not calling for a revolution but for a legitimate, necessary and overdue evolution of airport slot rules.”
The full text of the letter sent to Transport Commissioner Vălean and also shared with Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager can be found here.