Select Committee on European Scrutiny Thirty-Fourth Report


COM(01) 335
Draft Regulation amending Council Regulation (EEC) No 95/93 on common rules for the allocation of slots at Community airports.

Legal base:Article 80 (2) EC; co-decision; qualified majority voting
Basis of consideration:EM of 16 May 2002
Previous Committee Report:HC 152­ix (2001­02), paragraph 6 (5 December 2001)
To be discussed in Council:Unknown
Committee's assessment:Politically important
Committee's decision:Not cleared; further information requested


  2.1  Council Regulation No. 95/93[2] regulates the allocation of slots at Community airports with the aim of introducing an efficient distribution of slots in a transparent and open manner. The Commission proposes to modify the rules in order to:

  • clarify the legal nature of slots;

  • promote efficient slot allocation through clear rules on methods and procedures to better define airport capacity and provide for transparent, neutral procedures of consultation and mediation;

  • encourage the efficient use of slots; and

  • enhance competition between incumbent carriers and new entrants.

  2.2  In our Report of 5 December, we commented that the system of allocating and re­allocating slots at EU airports was clearly in need of reform. However, we also noted the concerns that the Government had, including the removal of the provision allowing slots to be reserved for regional services and the possibility that interim changes now may in practice delay a more fundamental reform. We asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport (David Jamieson) to provide us with:

  • information on the outcome of the consultation being undertaken with interested third parties;

  • a regulatory impact assessment; and

  • a list of measures which the UK will be advocating to improve the proposal.

Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum

  2.3  The Minister has provided some of the information requested.

  2.4  As regards consultations with third parties, the Minister said a variety of stakeholders have given their views on the Commission's proposal to the department. The Minister told us that the aviation industry is generally concerned about the potential effects of the Commission's proposal, that the proposal goes much further than that envisaged as a "technical clarification" and that measures relating to market access should be dealt with as part of the second stage of reform when the more radical changes are considered as a whole.

  2.5  The Minister told us:

"Airlines have expressed concerns about the proposed definition of an airport slot (arguing that this prejudges the nature of the rights of airlines regarding the slots they hold) and the amended "new entrant" definition (which they think might lead to a less efficient use of slots and lower consumer benefits), and the proposed lack of flexibility regarding re­timings and slot mobility (which represent important methods to improve airlines' schedules to the benefit of passengers).

"Airports have also expressed dissatisfaction with the proposed definition of a slot, and argue that the proposal fails to recognise the rights of airports in respect of the infrastructure they have created. They have also expressed concerns about the impact of the "new entrant" definition.

"The Airport Co­ordinator (ACL) has expressed a fear that the potential risks of litigation against the co­ordinator arising from interested parties challenging ACL's "decision" and, if their case was proven, claiming damages, could jeopardise the present method of financing ACL."

  2.6  In terms of the measures that the UK will be advocating to improve the proposal, the Minister told us:

"The DTLR is in the process of discussing with other Government departments and the aviation industry, amendments the UK might propose when the Commission's proposal is considered in detail in working groups. These amendments will aim to meet key Government objectives of ensuring efficient use of scarce infrastructure. Retaining flexibility in the system by enabling adequate slot mobility and giving priority to the re­timing of slots will be a key objective."

  2.7  The Minister also said that a regulatory impact assessment is currently being prepared.


  2.8  In December we produced a substantive report on the document. The Minister has provided some of the information that we requested. However, we shall leave the document uncleared, pending receipt of the Regulatory Impact Assessment.

2  OJ No. L 14, 22.1.93, p.1. Back

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