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October 18, 2021

IATA launches legal action against Dutch slot rule

ACNL prescribes a list of priority destinations for slots at three Dutch airports.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has initiated legal action to halt the implementation of a new Policy Rule for slot allocation in the Netherlands.

The Rule, which will become effective for the third quarter of 2022, was applied by the Netherlands slots coordinator Airport Coordination Netherlands (ACNL).

It recommends a list of priority destinations for slots at three Dutch airports, Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS), Eindhoven (EIN) and Rotterdam The Hague (RTM).

These recommendations are in contrast with the European regulation on the common rules for community air services (1008/2008) and the European Slot Regulation (95/93) in various aspects.

The airline trade body believes that the new policy would bring in a commercial loss for its members and adversely impact the globally functioning system of slot allocation.

It is also said to make the market less responsive to consumer requirements.

According to IATA, the rule has not been applied properly and ACNL has unilaterally implemented it without proper consultation of the involved parties, as stated under the EU law.

Royal Schiphol Group (RSG) has listed out the routes and has the permission to influence all future new slot allocation for their airports directly.

As stated by IATA, the rule will not help in the development of air connectivity as important global principles of slot allocation have been ignored.

Furthermore, the new Dutch slot rule will damage the ‘independent, impartial role’ of slot coordinators in the EU as it breaches the EU law and the Worldwide Airport Slot Guidelines (WASG).

IATA deputy director-general Conrad Clifford said: “In addition to contravening EU regulations, the setting of priority destination lists by RSG as part of the slot allocation process is bad for consumers, businesses, airlines and the economy. Moreover, straying from established global standards risks damage to international relations.

“The application of the Rule in slot allocation decisions compromises the role of the independent and impartial slot coordinators enshrined in EU law, instead requiring priority to be given in their decision-making to a list of destinations. This makes the coordinator the servant of the airport to the disadvantage of the airlines and the consumer.”

Earlier this month, IATA expressed concerns regarding a planned increase in aviation charges by the airports and air navigation service providers.

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