ACI World Assembly: Committed to partnership for airport slot policy development

Gunter Heinrich by Gunter Heinrich | Nov 12, 2020

Airport slot policies and slot coordination processes aim to ensure that infrastructure is used efficiently, enhance connectivity, and strengthen the competitive landscape for the ultimate benefit of the travelling public.

2020: A year of landmark changes in airport slot policy development

Airport slot policies incurred landmark changes in the year 2020.

Following the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding on the joint governance of the Worldwide Airport Slot Guidelines (WASG) by airport operators, airlines, and slot coordinators, ACI, IATA and slot coordinators represented by WWACG jointly published the First Edition of the WASG in June 2020.

The joint governance recognizes that the airport operators, which had not previously had sufficient input into the guidelines, are joint and equal partners in setting slot policy and processes. The WASG also incorporates the outcomes of the Strategic Review of the slot guidelines (2017–2019), which delivered significant changes and enhancements to the slot process.

World Airport Slot Guidelines (WASG)
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Recognizing the effects of the COVID19 crisis in the first half of 2020, ACI World, along with IATA and WWACG, supported a worldwide temporary suspension of the airport slot usage requirements (the so-called 80:20 rule) for the Summer 2020 season. Almost all regulators granted such blanket suspension. In most jurisdictions, the suspension of slot usage requirements was extended into the Winter 2020 season but with strict conditions attached at the request of the airport industry. The conditions sought to ensure a more efficient use of airport resources and safeguard consumers from last-minute cancellations.

As regards the upcoming Summer 2021 season and the progressive recovery of air traffic, there needs to be a reasonable balance between protecting the reinstatement of pre-COVID-19 networks and enabling the post-COVID-19 “new normal” so that services that respond to new patterns of demands can be established.

Looking ahead: Ensuring that airport slot allocation policies support the recovery of air transport

Airport operators, as well as their airline and slot coordinator partners, are seeking to support the recovery and continuously improve the global slot process in the WASG. ACI and the global airport community are committed to ensuring that the new partnership on airport slot coordination benefits consumers and aviation stakeholders worldwide.

The 30th World Annual General Assembly of ACI reflected this commitment into a Resolution entitled: Ensuring that airport slot allocation policies support the recovery of air transport. It resolved to:

  1. Urge airport operators, airlines and slot coordinators to work together and to intensify their collaboration in setting and maintaining a harmonized slot allocation process through the continuous improvement of the WASG
  2. Call upon aviation oversight authorities to recognise the WASG when designing, implementing and evaluating slot allocation policies
  3. Urge capacity-constrained airport operators to declare the most efficient level of capacity, and urge airlines to use available capacity efficiently to avoid wasting scarce airport capacity
  4. Promote an evidence-based and data-driven approach to determine slot policies that support the recovery of air traffic.
Ensuring that airport slot allocation policies support the recovery of air transport
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Paving the way for a strong and sustainable recovery of airports

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold and is threatening the viability of the airport industry globally, the 30th World Annual General Assembly also adopted resolutions recognizing the impacts of COVID-19 on the airport industry, on health and hygiene measures at airports and on passenger confidence. It also recognized that climate change, adaptation and resilience should be included in recovery plans and addressed as key issues for the sector.

Gunter Heinrich

Gunter Heinrich

Chair, ACI World Expert Group on Slots (EGS) and Head of Flight Schedule Management, Traffic & Terminal Management, Fraport AG
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