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ACI World, IATA and WWACG agree on a new industry-wide governance for slots

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Airports Council International (ACI) World, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and the Worldwide Airport Coordinators Group (WWACG) have announced the agreement of a new governance structure for the Worldwide Slot Guidelines (WSG).

They say that the move puts the interests of the traveling public at the center of the process. Airport operators, airlines, and slot coordinators will now play an equal role in determining the global guidelines for the allocation of airport slots.

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

All parties agreed that new governance and increased collaboration provides an opportunity to further modernize slot allocation mechanisms to the benefit of the travelling public and the aviation community at large.

“This new agreement on airport slots will have a transformative effect on a crucial component of the air transport industry and is a result of close collaboration between ACI and its global partners, IATA and the WWACG,” said ACI World director general (DG), Angela Gittens.

“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. 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 DGl and chief executive officer, Alexandre de Juniac said the new guidelines would make slot allocation even more responsive to changing needs of the market.

“For more than 40 years, the Worldwide Slots Guidelines has managed scarce airport capacity fairly, transparently and independently,” de Juniac said. “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.”

WWACG chairman Eric Herbane said in the context of air transport liberalisation for a growing number of regions around the world which results in an ever increasing number of congested airports, it is of the “utmost importance” that the scarce airport capacity available is allocated in a “fair, transparent and non-discriminatory” way by airport coordinators or schedules facilitators acting independently from any interested party to guarantee the benefits of the liberalisation.

He added: “Our international airport coordinators and facilitators association welcomes this new WSG governance that now brings together as equal partners, the three main 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.”