IATA has provided evidence that the current system
for allocating capacity at Europe’s airports is benefiting
consumers with greater choice and expanded connectivity.
Air passengers in Europe are enjoying an
unprecedented level of choice and competition in air travel,
despite the constraints imposed by a lack of new airport capacity.
Passengers and the EU economy are benefitting from new routes and
the growth of low-cost carriers and other new market entrants.
Analysis by IATA reveals that:
- Airports classified at the highest level of
congestion in Europe added 2,000 more routes in the 2010-2017
- Over the same period the number of
long-haul routes grew by 27%; and
- 30% of European routes are now
operated by two or more carriers, an increase of 5 percentage
points since 2010.
A recent study commissioned by Airports
Council International (ACI) Europe, from consultancy ICF, shows:
- More than 55% of seat capacity on intra-Europe routes is
competed between and full-service carriers and low-cost carriers,
which have grown rapidly since the turn of the century; and
the past 20 years there has been a near-doubling in city-pair
connections within Europe and between Europe and the rest of the
"European consumers have greater choice and more
competition than ever before when deciding how they travel within
or beyond Europe. This is no small achievement when you consider
that Europe’s airports are among the most congested in the world,"
said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
The ACI Report and IATA’s
research confirm that the rules for allocating scarce capacity at
Europe’s congested airports are fostering competition and growing
connectivity. Europe has more than half of all the world’s
slot-constrained airports. The European Slot Regulation ensures
that these airports provide opportunities for low-cost and
full-service carriers to enter the market and provide competition
and choice for passengers.
"The real solution to Europe’s
aviation capacity crisis is to build more airport and air
navigation infrastructure. But we are already on the back foot and
capacity is not keeping pace with demand growth. The European Slot
Regulation has been successful for two decades—fairly allocating
scarce capacity in line with global standards, enabling new
entrants and strengthening connectivity. Most importantly it
provides consumers with reliability and competitive choices. We
strongly recommend that it remains a stable, consistent, and
leading example of global best practice," said de Juniac.
Although the European Slot Regulation is working well, the airline
sector recognizes that it could work even better. It is important
that slot rules find a balance between (a) protecting the
interests of incumbent carriers and consumers who value the
services incumbent airlines provide; (b) accommodating the desire
of new entrants to enter the market and provide market
competition; and (c) enabling the market to adapt to changing
To further these objectives IATA, ACI and the
independent slot coordinators have formed a working group to look
at improvements to the current system that is due to be reported
to the ICAO Assembly in 2019.
The slot rules can only make best use of
the declared capacity at each airport. The inconsistency in
declared capacity between airports of similar size is a clear sign
that opportunities to unlock more capacity exist.
"Airports must do more to increase the operating capacity of
existing infrastructure and governments need to encourage and
facilitate timely and cost-effective expansion of congested
airports and airspace. But this cannot work without the consistent
application of transparent methodologies for determining available
capacity. There is room for improvement. Only through regular and
impartial analysis can all capacity become available for more
slots to be allocated," said de Juniac.