ACI EUROPE says that it regrets the European Parliament's adoption yesterday of a proposed regulation which suspends the application of the so-called 'use-it-or-lose-it' rule for airport slots, for the Summer 2009 season.
ACI said in a statement: ‘Just like other players in the aviation industry, Europe's airports are heavily impacted by the current economic crisis, the effects of which are likely to hit them even harder as a result of this suspension. ACI EUROPE is concerned that the suspension will result in an inefficient use of scarce capacity at congested airports and expose the travelling public and communities to late cancellations of air services in particular on regional routes. It will also create an artificial barrier to market access for new entrants.’
Having said that, ACI EUROPE said it was appreciative of the European Parliament's efforts to subject any extension of the suspension to the Winter 2009 season to a number of conditions, including a prior impact assessment of the suspension effects on all stakeholders, as well as a revision of the existing slot Regulation to ensure the optimal use of scarce capacity at congested airports.
Olivier Jankovec, Director General ACI EUROPE said: ‘The suspension of the use-it-or-lose-it rule will harm European airports at a particularly critical time, as it will have a further negative impact on both their commercial and aeronautical revenues.
‘Unlike airlines which have the flexibility to ground aircraft or cut routes and capacity at short notice to save costs in times of crisis, airports are bound by significant long-term financial commitments linked to the development of their infrastructure. The economic cycles of airports and airlines are different and this needs to be recognised by Regulators’.