About SACN - Introduction

The European aviation sector is one of the best performing and dynamic parts of the European economy. With almost 800 million passengers travelling each year by air from, to and within the European Union, the European aviation sector is a world leading industry.

Many of Europe's airports are now facing a demand that is bigger than the available airport capacity. Even though some airports might be able to increase capacity, at many airports a growing imbalance will remain between demand and airport capacity. International solutions are needed and have been developed in the past years. An efficient instrument for the allocation of scarce resources at airports is slot allocation.

The IATA (International Air Transport Association) definition of a slot as published in the Worldwide Slot Guidelines (WSG): “a scheduled time of arrival or departure on a specific date/time at an airport”. The definition of a slot according to the EU Regulation (see under ‘Legal basis’): ”the permission given by a coordinator in accordance with this regulation to use a 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 as allocated by a coordinator in accordance with this regulation”.
 
IATA makes the following distinction in levels of airport capacity:
  • Level 1: airports with adequate capacity to meet demands (non-coordinated airports)
  • Level 2: airports where demand is approaching capacity (schedules facilitated airports)
  • Level 3: airports where demand exceeds capacity and no solution to be expected in the short term (coordinated airports)
In the Netherlands 7 airports can accommodate international civil aviation traffic. There are 4 ‘Level 1’ airports (Enschede Airport Twente, Groningen Airport Eelde, Lelystad Airport and Maastricht Aachen Airport). Slot allocation in the Netherlands applies to 3 ‘Level 3’ coordinated airports (Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Rotterdam The Hague Airport and Eindhoven Airport) which means that at these airports in order to land or take off, it is necessary for an air carrier or any other aircraft operator (including general aviation) to have been allocated a slot by a coordinator, with the exception of State flights, emergency landings and humanitarian flights.

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