Return of EU Slots Usage Rule Sparks Debate

The European Commission (EC) has announced that it plans to reinstate the so-called 80:20 slot use rules for the 2022/23 Winter season. This has sparked debate across the industry as airports welcome the decision, but IATA raises concerns.

We take a closer look at 80:20 slot usage and find out why IATA has raised concerns.

Return of EU Slots Usage Rules Sparks Debate

What is 80:20 slot usage?

The 80:20 slot use rules require airlines to use at least 80% of their given slot sequence. The rule is in place to help airports manage access on a global scale, particularly for those with lower capacity. The 80:20 slot use rules have been suspended since the first quarter of 2020 and currently stand at 64%.

There is, in addition, a justified non-use of slot (JNUS) tool, created during the height of the restrictions to give flexibility for exceptional delays. This offers greater flexibility during emergency situations, potential sanctions, or imposed travel restrictions in certain regions. The EC has included a proposal to extend the JNUS provision and allow airlines to retain slots that they cannot utilize.

IATA raises concerns

Airlines are keen to return to the previously successful system and effectively use airport capacity. However, IATA warns that a premature return to the rule could negatively impact the passenger experience.

The concerns have been raised following poor global performance over the past quarter. Some airports declared full capacity availability, for instance, but asked airlines to cut back, leading to widespread cancellations and long ground delays. Other airports experienced baggage handling issues, such as the UK’s Heathrow, which reluctantly introduced a capacity cap to address the problem.

According to IATA, airports are simply not ready for a return to the slot use rules. With a current slot usage standing at 64%, IATA argues that airports may not be prepared to return to 80% service levels in just three months’ time. The association recommends that the industry waits until next year.

Are your systems ready?

Regardless of size, airports around the world are experiencing increases in traffic following a period of relative inactivity. For many, demand is beginning to exceed the combined capacity of both airlines and ground handling systems.

This is why it is more important than ever to ensure that ground systems are as efficient as possible and at least on par with other airport processes. When the 80:20 slot rules are reinstated, it may be tough for airports to stay on top of ground processes and compliance.

Implementing baggage handling systems that are scalable and flexible could provide many airports with a solution. They can automate compliance, share integrated databases and increase efficiency while reducing the reliance on resources. Some of the latest systems can be fully integrated into existing airport systems and simplify management while increasing accessibility to those that need it.

Talk to A-ICE

A-ICE works closely with airports of all sizes to simplify operations and streamline efficiency. With a focus on passenger experience, we understand the pressures and challenges airports are now facing. We also recognize the value of the opportunities presented to the industry now that traffic is returning to normalized levels.

Talk to us about your challenges and let us help you implement the solutions you need today, scalable for tomorrow.


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