Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Calling the slots

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The European Parliament’s endorsement of secondary slot trading last December appeared, on the surface, to sanction the long-standing practice of selling, leasing and swapping runway rights at the continent’s over-stretched aviation hubs.

Although proposed legislation is unlikely to progress during Ireland's presidency of the EU, which ends in June, this delay stems from a largely unrelated debate in Brussels. The European Commission had drawn up slot trading proposals as part of a wider package of measures governing airport reform. The European Parliament reached a consensus on slot trading and aircraft noise mitigation, but it came unstuck over the issue of how best to liberalise ground handling services.

Notwithstanding the slow pace of reform, Morgan Foulkes, deputy director general of Airports Council International (ACI) Europe, says that legislation enshrining slot trading will be a welcome boost to the continent's over-stretched airports...