Slot coordination and schedules facilitation

Published on Monday 4 December 2023

Many European airports experience variable periods of congestion over the year, day or hour. The very high density of European air traffic has triggered the need to ensure a more optimal and efficient use of airports capacity within the European Union. An issue the Council regulation (EEC) n°95/93 aims to address by establishing the principles of the « slot coordination mechanism » that regulate the airlines’ flights schedules.

This mechanism relies on the allocation to air carriers of « permission[s] […] to use the 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 », named « slots ». Slot allocation is achieved through neutral, transparent and non-discriminatory rules implemented by an independant entity appointed by each Member State called a « coordinator ».

For EU airports where potential for congestion is concentrated on very specific time windows and amenable to resolution through voluntary cooperation between air carriers, the Council regulation (EEC) n°95/93 offers a lighter mecanism named « schedules facilitation ». A schedules facilitator is therefore appointed to facilitate the operations of air carriers by recommanding them relevant times to operate their air services.

Before designating an airport as coordinated, the Member State shall ensure that a thorough analysis on the airport capacity has been carried out. This analysis may also be requested by the European Commission or the airport operator managing body or by air carriers representing more than half of the operations at the airport.
In that context, the Member State shall determine « coordination or schedules facilitation parameters ». These are metrics defining the airport capacity limits through maximum numbers of slots that may be allocated.

French airports concerned

French coordinated airports :

  • Paris-Orly and Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airports
  • Nice-Côte d’Azur airport

  • Figari – Sud-Corse airport
  • Cannes-Mandelieu airport
  • Nantes-Atlantique airport (for summer aeronautical seasons)

French schedules facilitated airports

  • Annecy-Meythet airport
  • Chambéry-Aix-les-Bains airport
  • Nantes-Atlantique airport (for winter aeronautical seasons)
  • Lyon-Saint-Exupéry  airport
  • Basel-Mulhouse airport

French appointed coordinator and schedules facilitator

The COHOR association has been appointed to achieve the slot coordination and schedules facilitation tasks on concerned French airports in compliance with Council regulation (EEC) n°95/93 and national requirements also applicable to any would-be coordinator or schedules facilitator designated on a French airport.

 

French airports coordination committee (Comité de coordination des aéroports français - CCAF)

Interested parties (air carriers using the platform, managing bodies of the concerned airports, concerned Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP)) take part in a coordination committee mainly tasked « to make proposals or advise the coordinator and/or the Member State » on how to improve capacity at concerned airports and « to mediate between all parties concerned ».

Created in compliance with article 5 of the Council regulation (EEC) n°95/93, the « French coordination committee (– Comité de coordination des aéroports français – CCAF –) » may achieve these tasks itself or through executive committees created within the CCAF.

The Ministerial Order of September 28, 2004 sets the coordination committee composition, tasks and running rules.

Executive committees

Five executives committees have been created within the French airports coordination committee (CCAF) to address local capacity issues on the following airports:

  • Paris-Orly and Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle
  • Lyon-Saint-Exupéry, Chambéry - Aix-les-Bains and Annecy-Meythet
  • Nice-Côte d’Azur and Cannes-Mandelieu
  • Figari-Sud-Corse
  • Nantes-Atlantique

 

 

In addition to the elected members, air carriers and air carrier associations that are regular users of the coordinated or facilitated airport concerned may take part in the Executive Committees of the airports concerned as observers.

The Executive Committees of the coordinated and facilitated airports for the summer season (S) of year N+1 are held in September of year N and the Executive Committees for the winter season (W) of year N are held in March of year N.

To find out the exact dates of the Executive Committees or to take part in the Executive Committee meetings as observers, air carriers and air carrier associations that are regular users of coordinated and facilitated airports are invited to contact the DGAC via the e-mail address dta-ccaf-bf@aviation-civile.gouv.fr no later than the first week of September for the summer season Executive Committees and the first week of March for the winter season Executive Committees.

 

The Executive Committee of the French Airports Coordination Committee for Basel-Mulhouse Airport will be created at the CCAF on 16 January 2024. Air carriers and air carrier associations wishing to be members of this executive committee must send their application to the e-mail address dta-ccaf-bf@aviation-civile.gouv.fr by Friday the 12th of January 2024 at the latest.

To be eligible, a carrier must demonstrate that it uses the coordinated or schedules-facilitated airport concerned on a regular basis. Participation in the executive committees of elected air carriers is compulsory. In the absence of a candidacy from such an operator, a place is reserved on the executive committee for the category of operators carrying out non-scheduled services and for the category of operators whose principal activity is freight.

 

CCAF plenary assemblies

The CCAF meets annually in plenary assembly. The next plenary assembly of the French Airports Coordination Committee (CCAF) will be held on :

Tuesday the 16th of January 2024

 « Traditional » session from 10h to 12h
« Olympics » session from 14h to 16h

at 50 rue Henry Farman,

75015 Paris

(and via Teams)

 

In addition to the members of the Executive Committees listed below, any air carrier or air carrier association regularly using the coordinated or facilitated airports is invited to participate.

List of Executive Committees for coordinated and facilitated airports:

  • Paris-Orly et Paris-Charles de Gaulle
  • Lyon-Saint-Exupéry, Chambéry - Aix-les-Bains et Annecy-Meythet
  • Nice-Côte d’Azur et Cannes-Mandelieu
  • Figari-Sud-Corse
  • Nantes-Atlantique

Air carriers and associations of air carriers regular users of French coordinated and facilitated airports wishing to take part in the CCAF plenary meeting are invited to send an e-mail to dta-ccaf-bf@aviation-civile.gouv.fr at least 1 week before the date of the meeting.

The composition of the executive committees for coordinated and facilitated airports and of the sub-committee in charge of monitoring the use of slots has been established by ministerial order following the January 2023 CCAF meeting :

We recall that the missions of the Executive Committees created are specified in article 6 of the decree of September, 28th 2004 :

For further information, the rules of procedure detailing the functioning of the CCAF are available below.

The last two plenary assemblies’ reports are available underneath :

Airports coordinated on exceptional basis

In the case of certain events,in accordance with Article 3.6 of Regulation (EEC) No. 95/93, the airports affected by these events may be qualified as coordinated airports by the Member State on an exceptional basis.

Commissioning of 4-Flight at Paris ACC

As part of its modernisation programme, the Direction des Services de la Navigation Aérienne (DSNA - French ATC) will be commissioning a new "4-Flight" control system at Paris ACC. In view of the particular nature of this ACC, which is mainly responsible for flights in the Paris region, a reduction in programmes will be necessary at the airports concerned during the commissioning of 4-Flight.

The deployment of such a tool will require several UOPs (scheduled operational use), including a large-scale one over the period from the 9th of January to the 14th of February 2024 inclusive. In addition to Paris-Orly and Paris-Charles de Gaulle which are already covered by coordination mechanism, the following airports will be coordinated during the above-mentioned period:

  • Paris-Le Bourget
  • Beauvais-Tillé

Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games

A major event such as the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games requires precise and, as far as possible, anticipated management of the problems associated with the high air traffic demand generated at the airports located near the competition locations.

Since 2022, the DGAC leads a working group called "GT Aérien" dedicated to the specific challenges of the Olympic Games for air traffic and its management, one of the sub-groups of which is dedicated to the management of demand and additional capacity required by air navigation services and airports.

Exceptional airport coordination will be put in place:

  • Paris-Le Bourget airport ;
  • Beauvais-Tillé airport ;
  • Marseille-Provence airport ;
  • Lille-Lesquin airport;
  • Bordeaux-Mérignac airport (depending on the composition of the teams).

Additional coordination parameters may be defined for airports that are already coordinated or facilitated, particularly Paris airports.
Fundamental principles must be respected:

  • Anticipation of requests for non-scheduled flights;
  • Submission of requests in turnaround format;
  • Maximum turnaround time, where applicable;
  • Validation by the airport of the available capacity.

The definitive dates for exceptional coordination and the coordination parameters will be presented to users of the airports concerned at the CCAF on 16th of January 2024, during a "Special Olympics 2024" session.

In addition, restrictive security measures will be put in place around the Paris region during the period of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and will have an impact on air traffic.

The exact measures and periods of restrictions will be specified in a dedicated aeronautical information publication (SUP AIP) in the first quarter of 2024.

 

 

Sanctions for infringements to slot regulation requirements

Sanctions framework

A framework defining sanctions for the inappropriate use of an allocated slot has been established in the French national regulation in compliance with article 14(5) of the Council regulation (EEC) n°95/93.

Generally, sanctions for such infringements are pronounced by the French Minister in charge of Civil Aviation who relies on advice from the French Civil Aviation administrative commission (– Commission administrative de l’aviation civile – CAAC –). R. 6231-1 to 28 of the French transport code sets the sanctions framework running in this general case.

In order to avoid such sanctions, air carriers are invited to ensure that their slot request has been properly sent and received for each flight departing from or arriving at a French coordinated airport -even for last minute launched flights-.

 

Sanctions pronounced by the French Minister in charge of Civil Aviation

In accordance with the provisions of articles R. 6231-1 to 28 of the French Transport Code, the Minister in charge of civil aviation is authorised to impose administrative fines on an air carrier or any other aircraft operator that does not comply with:

  • the provisions of Council Regulation (EEC) No 95/93 of 18 January 1993 on common rules for the allocation of slots at Community airports ;
  • the provisions of Article R. 6321-21.

The identified infringements are notified to each air carrier by the French Civil Aviation Authority (– Direction générale de l’aviation civile – DGAC –).

According to the observations provided to the DGAC, the air carrier may be heard by the French Civil Aviation administrative commission (– Commission administrative de l’aviation civile – CAAC –) which subsequently advises the Minister in charge of Civil Aviation on the penalty for each infringement..

The amount of the corresponding administrative penalties can rise up to 7,500 € per infringement and 15,000€ in the case of repeat offences.

A decision of sanction is notified to the air carrier that committed the infringement and then an extract of the decision is published on the Ministry's website for a period of two years from the date on which it becomes effective.
 

Recent sanctions:

 
Date of the decision IATA scheduling season Air carrier Number of infringements Type of infringement Amount of the administrative fine
December 28, 2021 Winter 2019/2020 ASL AIRLINES 8 Flights operated without a slot 22,500 €
December 28, 2021 Winter 2019/2020 DREAMJET 7 Flights operated without a slot 20,500 €
December 28, 2021 Summer 2019 EASTERN AIRWAYS LIMITED 4 Flights operated without a slot 14,000 €
December 28, 2021 Winter 2018/2019 EASYJET AIRLINE 3 Flights operated without a slot 13,500 €
December 28, 2021 Summer 2019 EASYJET EUROPE 7 Flights operated without a slot 24,500 €
December 28, 2021 Winter 2019/2020 EXPRESS AIR CARGO 7 Flights operated without a slot 35,000 €
December 28, 2021 Winter 2018/2019 FEDEX EXPRESS 2 Flights operated without a slot  9,000 €
December 28, 2021 Winter 2019/2020 FEDEX EXPRESS 4 Flights operated without a slot 13,000 €
December 28, 2021 Winter 2018/2019 & Summer 2019 TRANSAVIA FRANCE 22 Flights operated without a slot 60,000 €
December 28, 2021 Winter 2019/2020 TRANSAVIA FRANCE 7 Flights operated without a slot 23,000 €
September 16, 2022 Winter 2020/2021 AIR FRANCE 19 Flights operated without a slot 69 500 €
September 16, 2022 Winter 2020/2021 ASL AIRLINES IRELAND 19 Flights operated without a slot 44 000 €
September 16, 2022 Winter 2020/2021 CAL CARGO AIRLINES 2 Flights operated without a slot 9 000 €
September 16, 2022 Winter 2020/2021 MIAT MONGOLIAN AIRLINES 10 Flights operated without a slot 25 000 €
September 16, 2022 Summer 2021 EASYJET EUROPE 8 Flights operated without a slot 34 500 €
September 16, 2022 Winter 2020/2021 & Summer 2021 NETJETS TRANSPORTES AEROS S.A. 6 Flights operated without a slot 16 500 €
September 16, 2022 Summer 2021 NETJETS TRANSPORTES AEROS S.A. 2 Flights operated without a slot 6 000 €
September 16, 2022 Summer 2021 VISTAJET 3 Flights operated without a slot 4 500 €
September 16, 2022 Summer 2021 ARCUS AIR LOGISTIC 4 Flights operated without a slot 6 000 €
September 16, 2022 Summer 2021 GLOBAL JET LUXEMBURG 4 Flights operated without a slot 6 000 €
January 31, 2023 Summer 2021 & Winter 2021/2022 ASL AIRLINES FRANCE 14 Flights operated without a slot 32 000 €
January 31, 2023 Summer 2021 & Winter 2021/2022 TRANSAVIA FRANCE 26 Flights operated without a slot 74 500 €
January 31, 2023 Summer 2021 & Winter 2021/2022 TUNISAIR 6 Flights operated without a slot 21 000 €

 

Sanctions pronounced by the ACNUSA

Take-offs operated without an appropriate departure slot between 00:00 and 04:59 (local time) at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport constitute a specific infringement for which, in compliance with the environmental regulation (mentioned below), the Airport Pollution Control Authority (– Autorité de contrôle des nuisances aéroportuaires – ACNUSA –) is empowered to sanction the air carrier operating the flight.

Sanctions are imposed as administrative penalties, the amount of which can rise up to 40,000 € per infringement.

 

More information about the ACNUSA on:

Slot coordination or schedules facilitation service fee for French airports

A coordination fee is defined in articles R. 6321-22 to 29 of the French Transport Code. It supersedes the coordinator’s former funding system which was relying on voluntary subscriptions paid by the 10 main French air carriers and the three managing bodies of the  coordinated airports.

The fee covers material and labour costs arising from slot coordination or schedules facilitation tasks assigned to the appointed coordinator or schedules facilitator by the French minister in charge of civil aviation. Any other activities of the coordinator or schedules facilitator are not covered by this fee.

The Decree adds 3 articles (R. 221-13 to 15) to the French Civil Aviation Code setting up two implementation cases; the main one concerns all French airports which are usually schedules facilitated or coordinated while the derogation one deals with those airports that are schedule facilitated or coordinated on « exceptional circumstances » as described in article 3(6) of the Council regulation (EEC) n°95/93.

In the main case:

  • the airport managing body and the air carrier operating at that airport equally share the cost recovery through the payment of the same slot service fee per landing;
  • the air carriers’ share is collected by the airport managing body on behalf of the coordinator or schedules facilitator;
  • the level of the slot service fee is set by the minister in charge of civil aviation: the French coordination committee advises the minister on a tariff proposal made by the appointed coordinator or schedules facilitator. Should the committee agree with the proposal, the proposed slot service fee is then approved as proposed by the minister.

The derogation case applies to situations for which the traffic is unpredictable (as for sports special events for instance). In such situations, it is difficult to accurately determine a slot service fee which would cover all these costs so the main case framework cannot be applied. Therefore in « exceptional circumstances » as described in article 3(6) of the Council regulation (EEC) n°95/93:

  • the global cost to be covered for the associated slot coordination or schedules facilitation services is determined by the minister in charge of civil aviation on the basis of a proposal made by the appointed coordinator or the schedules facilitator;
  • the air carriers operating on that airport during this exceptional circumstance pay a slot service fee per landing collected by the airport managing body on behalf of the coordinator or schedules facilitator;
  • the concerned airport managing body shall cover the remaining part of the costs which  corresponds to the global service cost as approved by the minister reduced by total amount paid by all air carriers.

4 ministerial orders of February 22, 2017 meet the decree requirements and establish a process (steps, methods and associated deadlines) to determine, publish and enforce the slot service fees.

According to a decision dated February 6, 2023, the following tariffs relating to the charge for the slot coordination or schedules facilitation services rendered on French airports, as proposed by COHOR association, are approved:

1. For French coordinated or schedules facilitated airports respectively listed in appendices I et II of  French ministerial order of February 22, 2017 designating COHOR as the coordinator or schedules facilitator on French airports:

  • 2,00 € per landing for the operating air carrier;
  • 2,00 € per landing for the airport managing body;

2. For airports designated as coordinated or schedules facilitated airports under exceptional circumstances:

  • 2,00 € per landing for the operating air carrier.

The approved tariffs are enforceable from April 1st, 2023. They shall remain in force until new tariffs are enforceable.

FAQ related to the slot coordination or schedule facilitation service fee

Information leaflet

The following leaflet presents all information published when the regulatory package came into force.

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