Impending change for EU airport slot rules

Expanding on a 1993 European Union rule that introduced slot regulations at airports all over Europe, airport officials could soon be able to sell and buy landing and take-off slots. This new slot exchange could will become law if an agreement reached during the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council Monday in Luxemburg comes to fruition. The proposal will be part of an airport legislative package that could go in front of the European Parliament as early as November 6, according to an EU press release.

The council, headed by European Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas and Efthemios Flourentzou, the Cypriot minister of communications and works, also included charges for the late return of unused slots and gives greater autonomy to slot coordinators. The new rules would “enhance fair competition and competitiveness of operators,” according to the release.

The new slot agreement arises from a December 2011 “airport package,” which groups together three legislative proposals that seek to ease congested European airports. The new agreement would amend the 1993 rule and would increase airport capacity, according to the EU. Officials have pegged the economic benefits at €5 billion across a 13-year period.

Moving away from the airports, those assembled at the council also approved an agreement with the European Organization for Safety of Air Navigation. Signing such an agreement aligns the council with the organization, “establishing a new and stable relationship for enhanced cooperation,” according to a provisional summary of the council provided by the EU.

The assembled officials had emissions trading as applied to the European aviation sector on their minds, and the transport ministers received a briefing on preparations for the impending International Civil Aviation Organization council. According to the summary document, “The EU considers that a global framework for market-based measures, built on the principle of non-discrimination, is the best way forward. If such a framework can be agreed in the foreseeable future, the EU would be able to use the flexibilities provided for by its emissions trading legislation to take account of global approaches without compromising the goals of its own emissions trading scheme.”

The council also discussed a path forward for the Maritime Labour Convention Enforcement Package and the amendment of road transportation recording equipment legislation.

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