Opposition to Slot Changes

An independent study has claimed that the European Commission’s (EC) proposed amendments to slot allocation regulation in the EU are based on incomplete and inaccurate analyses.
The study was carried out for the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) and the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) by consultants Mott MacDonald and was released on January 24, 2012.
It suggests that any gains from changes in slot allocation rules are likely to benefit non-EU economies.  The study says that changes would lead to job losses throughout Europe and be detrimental to Europe’s air service connectivity and its economic and social wellbeing.
The study claims that: “significant weaknesses” have been identified in the impact assessment undertaken for the EC, including key areas that it says are inadequately analysed or include miscalculated or inaccurate economic and social benefit data.  As an example, it claims the EC’s impact assessment acknowledges that regional air services would be adversely affected by new slots, but fails to identify the impact on regional airports and economies in Europe’s peripheral areas.  Advocates of the study say that the proposals would lead to job losses in these peripheral areas, and these would far outweigh any job gains in the core airports.
The study adds that: “the EC is constrained in direct action that it can take to increase capacity at individual airports.  However, by concentrating solely on amendments to the existing slot allocation regulation it has forfeited an opportunity to create additional airport capacity by facilitating the use of ‘best practices’ at Europe’s congested airports.”
ERA and EBAA stated that: “the Commission is uniquely placed to stimulate innovative solutions for increasing airport capacity at an EU level, by maximising the hourly aircraft movement rates to match the current ‘best in class’ standards achieved by the top performing European airports.  However, it has failed to do so, with the policy options put forward unlikely to bring about the necessary outcome.  For example, adding slot reservation fees, aimed at increasing slot utilisation, will add cost, administrative burdens and complexity to airlines and business aircraft operators.”
Mike Ambrose, Director General at ERA, said:  “It is not surprising that the superficial and incomplete analyses in the impact assessment undertaken by the Commission have resulted in flawed proposals.  The Mott MacDonald study confirms that a more robust analysis would have demonstrated their serious adverse economic and social consequences to the EU peripheral regions.”
ERA and EBAA are calling for the European Parliament and Council to reconsider some of the fundamental proposals made by the EC.  They plan to expose what they describe as the failings of the regional and national representatives across Europe to ensure that the negative aspects of the proposed regulatory amendments are removed.