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ESC seeks thorough review of slot allocation for all-cargo services


The European Shippers' Council (ESC) wants governments to look into the continent's air freight slots allocation problem, reports London's Air Cargo News.
The problem at European airports has been caused because major gateways now have reached their capacity limits. Problem areas also include Hong Kong, Beijing, Mexico City, London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol.
At many airports, the problem has led to conflict between home carriers, low cost carriers and freighter operators for maintaining their position, said the ESC.
Schiphol's air cargo community have called on Dutch politicians to implement a "local rule" to end the aircraft slot crisis at Europe's No 3 cargo hub.
Schiphol's slot restrictions, which have been sufficiently severe to entice some freighter aircraft operators to switch flights to rival European hubs.
ESC believes that cargo carriers are losing ground at many locations such as Schiphol, because of the 80/20 regulation for maintaining slot rights, which comes into effect when there is more demand for slots than supply.
The 80/20 rule stipulates that a carrier must use its allocated slot 80 per cent of the time or risk losing it.
The regulation ensures a non-discriminatory way of re-allocating slots at national airports, but fails to take into account the complexity of cargo flights - and that if cargo is not ready, a freighter will not take off.
Governments could interfere with the slot allocation process, ESC argued. They could ensure that different flight types - of home carriers, low cost carriers (LCCs) and cargo carriers - are well represented at major airports.

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