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European Law Monitor newsAirport slot allocation: The Commission clarifies the existing rules

The European Commission has adopted a Communication on the application of the slot allocation Regulation. The Communication clarifies a number of issues in order to ensure a better implementation of the existing rules and to improve the efficient use of scarce capacity at congested Community airport. In particular, it signals the acceptance of "secondary trading" of airport slots between air carriers.

Jacques Barrot, Vice-President of the European Commission, said "At crowded airports, we need to make sure that slots are used as efficiently as possible and that airlines have a fair chance to develop their operations. Slots at airports must be distributed in a fair and non-discriminatory way. Today we are recognising for the first time that secondary trading is an acceptable way of allowing slots to be swapped among airlines. We will keep a close eye on the situation across Europe and ensure that secondary trading works to the advantage of consumers, but this system has already shown its value in London, where it has allowed a range of airlines to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the EU-US aviation agreement and to create new levels of competition."

The Communication states the Commission´s views with regard to the implementation of the Regulation in a number of areas with which stakeholders have experienced particular difficulties. The Communication draws from •and elaborates on- the Commission´s, Member States´ and stakeholders´ experience with the application of the Regulation, which was revised in 2004.

The Communication explains how the rules with respect to the independence of the slot coordinator, new entry, local guidelines and exchange of slots for monetary and other consideration should be interpreted.

The Communication emphasises the need for better cooperation between European coordinators to ensure an objective and transparent slot allocation procedure and the added value of implementing a mechanism aimed at increasing the consistency between airport slots and flight plans.

The Commission's Communication is published on the following website: