Slots

EU regulation provides common rules on allocation of slots at EU airport.  The purpose is to ensure an equitable and non-discriminatory equitable and transparent method of allocation where there is scarcity in the supply of spots.  The regulation sets out criteria in relation to the designation of slots.

The state must ensure the appointment of a coordinator or a scheduled facilitator with experience of coordination and planning air carrier movements.  They must act in a non-discriminatory, and neutral and transparent way.

Capacity is determined twice yearly by the authority according to winter and summer season program.  Capacity is based on analysis of the technical possibilities for accommodating air traffic.

In the case of a coordinated airport, a coordination committee must be established.  It is to make proposals and advise the coordinator on issues relating to capacity, monitoring and local guidelines.  The committee is to consist of carriers, airport managers, air traffic control authorities and general aviation representatives.

Subject to taking up the available slots to a prescribed extent, entities which are entitled to slots historically continue to be entitled to them provided they utilise up to 80%.  Slots which are not sufficiently used are reallocated.  The regulation provides for pools where newly created timeslots are available or new slots or slots have been lost or given up.  The coordinators take account of the rules and guidelines established by the air transport industry and local guidelines.

Slots may be exchanged or transferred between airlines under certain conditions such as a total takeover or transfer of route or traffic.

Access to Ground Handling

EU directive provides for access to ground-handling at airports.  It applies to airports with commercial traffic of not less than 2 million passengers or 50,000 tons of cargo.  The ground-handling services, if integrated into the airport manager’s functions must keep separate accounts under the supervision of an auditor.

States may require that suppliers of ground-handling services be established within the EU.  They may limit the number of suppliers to provide certain categories of service such as baggage handling, fuel and oil handling, cargo and mail handling etc.  They may limit to two the number of users who may provide ground-handling services.  Exemptions may be available, limited in time where there are constraints of space and capacity which make it impossible to open up the market.

States may reserve for one entity under certain conditions the management of the centralised infrastructures if this cannot be divided up or the cost does not allow for duplication.  States may grant exemptions to airports with constraints making it impossible to open up the market or implement self-handling to the extent provided for in the directive.

Suppliers and services may be subject to the requirement to obtain a licence issued by a public authority independent of the airport in order to guarantee safety, environmental protection and compliance with social legislation.

Airport Charges

An EU directive provides a common framework for airport charges.  The charges must not discriminate between airport users.  They may be modulated in accordance with general and public interest and environmental interests.

A body which manages an airport network may introduce a charging system to cover the entire network in a transparent manner.  A managing body may be authorised to apply a common and transparent charging system for airports serving the same urban community or conurbation. Airport users and representatives must be consulted regularly in relation to the operation of the system as charges, level of charges, quality of service.

Airport users or their representatives must be informed about the component elements on the determination of charges.  The information is to include

  • various services and infrastructure provided in return for the airport charge levy,
  • the methodology used for setting the charges,
  • revenue from the different charges,
  • financing from a public authority
  • facilities and services

Aircraft users may be required to submit information to the airport managing body before the consultation, including forecasts in relation to route traffic, use of their fleet,  development projects and requirements at the airport concerned.

Airport managing bodies must consult users before plans for new airport infrastructure can be finalised.  EU states are required to establish an independent supervisory body.  It must ensure the correct application of measures in compliance with the directives.

Licensing of Air traffic Controllers

EU directive provides for licensing of air traffic controllers.  States must designate a body to implement and supervise the rules.  The directive provides rules and licensing framework for

  • conditions for obtaining and keeping a license,
  • harmonisation of competence requirements,
  • measures to guarantee a high level of competence, including auditing and approving examiners.

Air traffic controller licenses may only be issued to applicants

  • holding at least a certain level of education,
  • having undertaken training courses for practical training and simulation.
  • holding a valid medical certificate and having illustrated adequate linguistic abilities.

Applicants must first obtain a student licence.

States must recognise licence ratings and endorsements issued by other supervisory authorities.

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