Lack of Slots, Infrastructure Investment Constraining Growth

​A lack of slots causes an operational impact, KLM CEO Pieter Elbers said here during the Capacity of the Future: Airport Slots & Infrastructure discussion, while Jose Ricado Botelho of ANAC Brazil also agreed that there are problems in Brazil with constrained airports.

Discussing the best way to manage the issue, Elbers was clear that KLM needs to have predictability to build its schedules, and the Worldwide Slots Guidelines (WSG) provide that. But the real problem is lack of investment in infrastructure. Botelho was emphatic that “we should try to avoid rules by ourselves” and that the WSG was the right framework.

Asked if they were in favor of slot trading, Elbers and Botelho gave a clear ‘no’. When challenged that a market-based system would surely be superior, Elbers explained that scarce capacity shouldn’t be priced because it wasn’t a proper market. “Slots are not like going shopping when you can choose the next grocery store down the street,” he said. Botelho was clear that government’s selling slots was not something he supported.

On the wider issue of infrastructure investment, both agreed that the WSG made best use of existing capacity, but that it was politically extremely difficult to build new airport runways. The session concluded with Elbers making the point that an even bigger problem than slots was the lack of airspace capacity, where lack of political action is causing delays and wasted emissions.

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