Industry associations collaborate over airport slot allocation

Three industry associations have agreed on a new governance structure for the Worldwide Slot Guidance, which they hope provides an opportunity to further modernise allocation mechanisms and improve the passenger experience.

Airports Council International (ACI) World, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Worldwide Airport Coordinators Group (WWACG) announced the agreement of a new governance structure for the Worldwide Slot Guidelines (WSG), and said airport operators, airlines and slot co-ordinators will now play an equal role in determining the global guidelines for the allocation of airport slots.

More than 200 airports require slot co-ordination because they have insufficient capacity to meet demand at all times of day. The associations said co-ordination based on global standards helps to maximise utilisation of existing capacity, avoid delays and improve the passenger experience.

The new industry-wide governance was signed by IATA, ACI and WWACG in Seoul, South Korea, with all parties agreeing that new governance and increased collaboration provides an opportunity to “further modernise slot allocation mechanisms to the benefit of the travelling public and the aviation community at large.”

ACI World director general Angela Gittens said the new agreement, the result of a collaboration between the ACI, IATA and the WWACG, will have “a transformative effect on a crucial component of the air transport industry.”

“ACI and IATA forecasts show that global traffic will double by the 2030s. This highlights the need for airports and airlines to make best use of existing infrastructure as well as plan for new infrastructure,” Gittens continued. “This fully reformed governance sets the ideal ground to regularly review the slot allocation process with the appropriate level of ambition and in line with an increasingly competitive and highly connected global network.”

IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac commented that the Worldwide Slots Guidelines has managed scarce airport capacity for more than 40 years, “This has enabled airlines to make network investments with certainty. But more importantly it has benefitted consumers by ensuring schedule reliability while enhancing competition by providing opportunities for new entrants in even the most congested airports.

“By working together with ACI and WWACG the time-tested WSG will become even more responsive to evolving market needs. But it is vital that policy-makers remember insufficient capacity to meet demand forfeits economic opportunities.”

“The new WSG governance will make the best use of what we have—but it is no substitute for investing in modern airports and air traffic management,” he warned.

Worldwide Airport Coordinators Group (WWACG) chairman Eric Herbane welcomed the new WSG governance that brings together as equal partners three industry stakeholders representing capacity providers and capacity users of an airport, together with those in charge of the capacity allocation “with the same goal to ensure the Industry airport slot allocation best practices meet the needs of the passengers.”

“We trust that in the future should regulators around the world ever still feel necessary to act in slot allocation they will understand the global nature of this Industry by taking their inspiration in the WSG for the backbone of their regulation relying on such broad and various experiences brought together with this new WSG governance.”

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