Draft Airports Slot Allocation (Alleviation of Usage Requirements) Regulations 2022

Published date : 01 March, 2022
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Dowd.

Landing slots are clearly a very scarce but important resource, and it is important that we make sure that they are used efficiently, wisely and fairly. In normal circumstances the 80:20 is a perfectly reasonable way in which to incentivise the market to work as we would hope it would in terms of encouraging competition between airlines, and therefore getting better outcomes for passengers.

We all know of the strictures that we have lived under for past couple of years of the pandemic and we are not unaware, I hope, of the impact that has had on the airline industry, particularly on passenger numbers. Clearly, the introduction of some kind of waiver during that time was the right thing to do, but as we return to a measure of normality it is right that clutch plates, if I could put it that way, begin to re-engage on that incentivisation.

The Minister spoke of the perverse incentives of having too high a ratio, in terms of incentivising ghost flights. None of us wants to see that, because they are a waste of money and resource, and put costs into the system, and of course release harmful emissions into the air in a way that benefits absolutely nobody. We consider it fair and reasonable to introduce a recalibrated ratio to expand flights and to provide enhanced flexibility to allow for legitimate reasons as to why all those airlines slots might not be used. That will ensure that when those slots are not used, there are then legitimate reasons to expand the number of fair and reasonable exceptions that may apply.

Overall, the SNP think that the SI represents a positive move because it helps both the airline industry and the travel market to move back to normality. On that basis, we are happy to lend the SI our support.

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