Slot Wars Looming In Europe?

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Business aviation in Europe is rallying against recommendations in a consultant's report that, if implemented, could sharply reduce access to some European airports. The Steer Davies and Gleave Impace Assessment report to the European Commission recommends that airport slots be allocated purely based on the number of passengers on board each aircraft. The European Business Aviation Association calls the proposal simplistic and says it could seriously disrupt business aviation. "This report is blind to the full impact of the entire aviation industry on local and regional economies," EBAA President Brian Humphries said in a speech to the European Airport Coordinators Association. "All of its arguments are based on the premise that maximum passenger throughput is the be-all and end-all, and as a result, it consistently seeks ways that passenger throughput can be maximized, regardless of the economic impact on sectors other than airports and airlines."

Humphries said bizav generally avoids major hubs and uses secondary and local airports to maximize efficiency for clients. The difficulty is that airlines are increasingly using the smaller airports and the proposal could push business aviation from its traditional operating areas. EBAA says the best solution would be to guarantee slots to business aviation at secondary airports based on historical usage, noting that business aviation has invested heavily in facilities at many of these airports.