: EBAA Opposes European Commission’s Revision to Airport Slot Regulation

Brussels, Belgium – 1 December 2011 – The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) vehemently voices concerns over the European Commission’s draft regulation for airport slot allocation. The Association is hugely disappointed that the European Commission, despite robust arguments against, has maintained a recast of its Slot Regulation based on the Steer Davies Gleave (SDG) study, which predicates the future allocation of slots based solely on the number of passengers carried, thus rejecting other fundamental criteria. As such, this proposal will have an adverse impact on demand by failing to recognise the pivotal role of regional and business aviation in connecting the diverse regions of Europe, increasing mobility and the productivity of businesses, and supporting regional cohesion.

The Commission’s recommended approach is fundamentally flawed, as that the sole number of passengers for the attribution of slots will inevitably lead to privileging one category of airspace users over others. This would have grave implications for the economies of local/regional communities, Europe as a whole and peripheral locations.

EBAA can only express its dismay that, in order to solve the capacity crunch, the Commission opts for rules that would deprive hubs of their spokes and bring uncertainty to investments at regional and secondary airports, thus jeopardizing them. Especially worrying is that even non-European airlines are privileged due to the way secondary trading is orchestrated, resulting in further imbalance.

“While EBAA welcomes a revision of the system for allocating slots at Europe’s airports, a fair and equitable solution would recognize historical rights for all airspace users, with an understanding that each airspace model is an essential component of Europe’s air transport policy. It must also consider that using slots 80% of the time is already extremely challenging and should not be reconsidered,” says Fabio Gamba, EBAA Chief Executive Officer.

In a competitive industry, the allocation of slots is ultimately the result of a failure to match demand with adequate infrastructure. The Commission should avoid making matters worse ahead of other capacity enhancing initiatives such as the Single European Sky, by artificially stifling competition and allowing hubs and secondary airports to be the monopolies of long-haul super jumbos, operating for the benefit of non-European economies.

source: EBAA