On 14 July 2015, the European commission (the ‘Commission’) approved the acquisition of control of Aer Lingus by IAG – this clearance was conditional on commitments offered by IAG to address competition concerns raised by the Commission (the ‘Commitments’). As part of the Commitments, IAG undertook to make five slot pairs available at London Gatwick airport (LGW) to third party airlines that wish to operate or increase daily frequencies on London-Dublin or London-Belfast (the ‘Routes’) but have exhausted all reasonable efforts to obtain the necessary slots through the normal workings of the applicable slot allocation procedure (the ‘Slot Release’).
The first Slot Release took place in 2015 and the five slot pairs were awarded to Ryanair for its Dublin service (two slot pairs) and Belfast service (three slot pairs). However, in November 2017, Ryanair announced that it was moving its London-Belfast route from Gatwick to Stansted and lost the right to use the three Winter and Summer slot pairs awarded under the Commitments.
Against this background, the purpose of this note is to draw the attention of any interested airline to the new slot release procedure (the ‘New Slot Release Procedure’) that will be launched under the Commitments.
It is noted that:
- • The release by IAG of slots under the New Slot Release Procedure is subject to IAG securing historical rights on the slots which have been returned by Ryanair;
- • At least one slot pair will have to be used for a Gatwick-Belfast service. Each of the two other slot pairs can be used either for a Gatwick-Dublin service or a Gatwick-Belfast service.
- • Although the New Slot Release Procedure relates to winter slots, priority will be given to applicants wishing to commence or increase a service on a year-round basis. Consequently, and subject to IAG securing historical rights on the Summer slots no longer used by Ryanair, successful applicants of the New Slot Release Procedure will be able to apply also for Summer slots if they plan a year-round service.
The slot release procedure is set out in details in the text of the Commitments and we invite any interested party to carefully examine the Commission’s decision and the Commitments:
The New Slot Release Procedure will be run in parallel to the IATA General Slot Allocation Procedure for Winter 2018/19 and is set out in details in Section 2 of the Commitments.
Pursuant to clause 2.18 of the Commitments, any airline wishing to obtain slots shall make a slot request (the ‘Slot Request’) to Advolis, the Monitoring Trustee in charge of monitoring the Commitments, at least 7 weeks before the Slot Request Submission Deadline of the IATA calendar.
Accordingly, the application process for the IATA Winter Season 2018/19 will be open from 1 March 2018 00:00 UTC to 29 March 2018 18:00 UTC (the ‘Submission Deadline’). Any late Slot Request will be rejected.
The Slot Request by any interested airline (the ‘Applicant’) must include the following:
- • Details of the requested slot pair(s);
- • Arrival and departure times of the proposed non-stop operations on the Route;
- • Aircraft detail;
- • Sufficient information to allow Advolis and the Commission to determine whether the Applicant is independent from and unconnected to IAG;
- • A list of leased out or exchanged slots at each airport for which the applicant seeks slots, along with the date at which the leases or exchanges were concluded, in order for Advolis and the Commission to ascertain whether the Applicant has exhausted its own portfolio of slots at the airport subject to its slot request; and
- • An indication as to whether the Applicant wishes the Slot Request to be treated anonymously. If anonymity is granted by Advolis, any communication and correspondence between the Applicant and IAG will go through Advolis to ensure the protection of anonymity.
Additional information may be requested by the Commission or Advolis to evaluate the Slot Request. In addition, it is highlighted that, subject to clause 2.21 of the Commitments and pursuant to clause 2.24 of the Commitments, the Applicant will be required to submit ‘Key Terms’ and a detailed business plan by the Slot Request Submission Deadline (i.e. 17 May 2018).
The Slot Request must be sent by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt or by using any other services that provides an acknowledgment of receipt, for example FedEx, DHL, UPS and have been received by Advolis at the Address of Submission by the Submission Deadline.
Applicants are invited to send an electronic copy of their application to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Address of Submission is:
Rond-Point Schuman 6
Please do not hesitate to contact us for any question through the following address: email@example.com