2. ALLOCATION OF SLOTS AT COMMUNITY AIRPORTS
|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
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
- 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
Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum
2.3 The Minister has provided some of the information
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.
No. L 14, 22.1.93, p.1. Back