Frequently Asked Questions

What is a slot?
A slot is the permission given by a coordinator to land at or to take off from a coordinated airport on a specific date and time. See for full definition (EC) Regulation 95/93, Article 2(a).

What is a coordinated airport?
An airport can be designated as coordinated by a Member State when experiencing some kind of congestion. Coordinated airports number worldwide 140. In the Netherlands 3: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), Eindhoven Airport (EIN) and Rotterdam Airport (RTM).

What is slot allocation?
The process of slot allocation is designed as a planning instrument to help balance supply and demand at a coordinated airport and to maximize the use of scarce capacity.

Who allocates slots?
Under European Union rules - (EC) Regulation 95/93, as amended -, a Member State shall appoint an airport coordinator for each coordinated airport. The same coordinator can be appointed for more than one airport. SACN has been appointed for coordinating AMS, EIN and RTM. Coordinators need to be totally independent.

How often are slots allocated?
Slots are allocated for each season. There is a Winter season and a Summer season. Change of season coincides in the EU with the change of summer/winter time.

Who determines the number of available slots at a coordinated airport?
For each season the Member State is responsible for determining the number of available slots at a coordinated airport on the basis of coordination parameters. All relevant technical, operational and environmental constraints shall be taken into account in determining the coordination parameters.

How are slots allocated?
The allocation – planning - process starts ca. 6 months before the start of each season. Slots are allocated free of charge from a pool of available slots. Allocation takes place according to certain priority rules in a neutral, non-discriminatory and transparent manner. The leading principle of distribution is based on historical precedence, the so-called grandfather rights. When an airline operates a series of slots in a season for 80% or more, it can hold on to the same series in the next same season. When it operates less than 80% it loses its historic rights (use-it-or-loose-it-rule). Slots can be re-allocated until the day of operation.

What happens when the requested slot is not available?
An airline can keep its request on the list of ‘outstanding requests’ to see if during the allocation process slots become available eventually. Airlines can freely exchange slots. Prior to each season a worldwide Scheduling Conference takes place enabling face to face meetings between airlines and between airlines and coordinators to improve the allocation process.

Who is SACN?
Stichting Airport Coordination Netherlands (SACN) is an independent organization (legal form foundation) designated by Ministerial Decree to provide slot allocation services at AMS, EIN and RTM in accordance with European and national rules, and the IATA Worldwide Scheduling Guidelines. The managing director and her staff are responsible for the allocation of slots. A supervisory board consisting of  representatives of the three coordinated airports and the air carriers having their home base in the Netherlands, is responsible for monitoring financial and organizational matters.

Will Dutch carriers get priority over non-Dutch carriers in the allocation of slots?
The allocation of slots takes place without discrimination as to nationality or airline.

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