Monday, January 21, 2019

Airlines seek centralised slot norms

As India's major airports choke under increasing air traffic congestion with additional slots hard to come by, airlines want the government to create centralised slot guidelines for the country. The new system will help in optimising the use of scarce airport capacity by allowing airlines and airports to plan their whole network and schedule and provide choice and connectivity to the passengers.

Further, it is likely to bring in transparency, flexibility, certainty, consistency and sustainability into the slots allotment, which is often mired by allegations of airlines unnecessarily 'blocking' slots to avoid it getting allotted to rival carriers in future. Further, there have also been allegations of airports being partial in allotting slots to dominant airlines at the cost of new entrants and weaker players. The guidelines are already in place in some of the leading countries like Germany, France and the UK.

By having a centrally regulated system in place at all airports across the country, the guidelines will allow airlines to plan their whole network and schedule and provide choice and connectivity to the passengers. Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO, IATA, said that the guidelines mean "one slot co-ordinator for one country".
A presentation is said to have been made by the carrier representatives and airline lobby body IATA to the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The sources said that the ministry officials are considering the proposal before taking any decision over bringing any regulation in this regard.
The development comes as the government, airlines, airports, flier bodies and other stakeholders debate over ways to make slot allocations more efficient. Solutions ranging from putting a cap on a maximum number of take-off and landing an airline can have at a congested airport to imposing higher charges for peak hour slots are aggressively being discussed, though it may turn to be controversial and likely to be contested by airlines which stand to lose.
21/01/19 Shahkar Abidi/DNA
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