About SACN - Introduction
Of course the present economic downturn has greatly influenced air traffic. After the economic crises is over, the trend will return and an increase in world economic activity will lead to an even bigger increase in demand for air transport. As airport capacity normally takes many years to increase – if possible at all -, at many airports a growing imbalance will result between demand and airport capacity. International solutions are needed and have been developed in the past years. An efficient instrument for the allocation of scarce resources at airports is slot allocation.
The IATA (International Air Transport Association) definition of a slot as published in the Worldwide Scheduling Guidelines (WSG): “a scheduled time of arrival or departure on a specific date/time at an airport”. The definition of a slot according to the EU Regulation (see under ‘Legal basis’): ”the permission given by a coordinator in accordance with this regulation to use a full range of airport infrastructure necessary to operate an air service at a coordinated airport on a specific date and time for the purpose of landing or take-off as allocated by a coordinator in accordance with this regulation”.
IATA makes the following distinction in levels of airport capacity:
- Level 1: airports with adequate capacity to meet demands (non-coordinated airports)
- Level 2: airports where demand is approaching capacity (schedules facilitated airports)
- Level 3: airports where demand exceeds capacity and no solution to be expected in the short term (coordinated airports)
In the Netherlands 7 airports can accommodate international civil aviation traffic. There are 4 ‘Level 1’ airports (Enschede Airport Twente, Groningen Airport Eelde, Lelystad Airport and Maastricht Aachen Airport). Slot allocation in the Netherlands applies to 3 ‘Level 3’ coordinated airports (Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Rotterdam The Hague Airport and Eindhoven Airport) which means that at these airports in order to land or take off, it is necessary for an air carrier or any other aircraft operator (including general aviation) to have been allocated a slot by a coordinator, with the exception of State flights, emergency landings and humanitarian flights.