Posted on: 17 June 2010 by Mark Howells
SlotTrade is a new web-based service offered by Airport Coordination Limited (ACL) to help airlines wishing to buy, sell, lease and swap scarce airport slots by making slot trading more open, efficient and transparent.
The slottrade.aero website allows airlines to advertise available and desired slots in a secure and confidential way, and provides a registry of completed slot trades.
The market in airport slots, where airlines trade landing and takeoff rights, has become increasingly important at airports with limited capacity. Since 2001 there have been about 200 slot trades at Heathrow involving over 2,300 weekly slots, equivalent to about 25% of the total number of slots available.
Slot trading was essential to the implementation of the EU–US Open Skies agreement in 2008, when US carriers like Continental and Delta were able to start Heathrow services using slots acquired from incumbent airlines. Airlines like Emirates, Etihad, Jet Airways and Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow, and easyJet, Flybe and Aer Lingus at Gatwick, have relied on the slot market to develop competitive services. In April 2008, the European Commission issued a communication clarifying the EU slot regulations, endorsing the UK model of slot trading for the first time.
Chris Bosworth, managing director of ACL, commented, “This is an exciting time for ACL as we launch our new slot trading service, aimed at making more efficient use of scarce airport slots”. The need to make best use of airport capacity has only increased following the decision to cancel plans to build new runways at London’s Heathrow and Stansted airports.
James Cole, director of ACL International, which is leading the SlotTrade service, added, “ACL has facilitated hundreds of slot trades between airlines over the years, and has helped innovative airlines grow at otherwise full airports. Until now the process could be complicated, but with SlotTrade we can offer a simple and transparent way for airlines to buy, sell, lease and swap slots, and for other interested parties to access slot trade information.”
SlotTrade is available for airlines wishing to trade slots at airports worldwide (where slot trading is not prohibited by local laws).