Policy regarding misuse of slots
This is an oversight policy regarding the misuse of slots at coordinated airports in the Netherlands.
1. Pursuant to Article 14.5 of Regulation (ECC) No 95/93 of 18 January 1993 (as amended by Reg. (EC) No 894/2002, No1554/2003, No 793/2004 and No 545/2009) on common rules for the allocation of slots at Community airports, Member States are required to ensure that effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions or equivalent measures are available to deal with repeated and intentional operation of air services at times significantly different from the allocated slots or with the use of slots in a significantly different way from that indicated at the time of allocation, where this causes prejudice to airport or air traffic operations.
2. This is adopted under Dutch regulation regarding slotallocation in Article 7 of the ‘Besluit Slotallocatie and the Articles 8.17, 11.15 and 8a.52 of the ‘Wet luchtvaart’.
3. Courtesy translation of Article 7 of the ‘Besluit Slotallocatie’:
3.1 Air carriers are forbidden to repeatedly and intentionally operate air services at times significantly different from the allocated slot or to use a slot in a significantly different way from that indicated at the time of the allocation, where this causes prejudice to airport or air traffic operations.
3.2 Air carriers are forbidden to operate flights without a slot at a coordinated airport.
3.3 Air carriers are forbidden to intentionally and repeatedly not operate an allocated slot.
4. In the ‘Luchthavensverkeersbesluit Schiphol’ and the ‘Tijdelijke regeling volumeplafond nachtvluchten Schiphol’ environmental constraints are determined for the night regime at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
5. In this policy communication, the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate
(ILT) – the ILT (CAA NL) informs how the misuse of slots is supervised. Enforcement is in accordance with the
‘Algemene wet bestuursrecht’ (Dutch General Administrative Law Act).
6. Slots are allocated and monitored by the coordinator, Airport Coordination Netherlands (ACNL). The coordinator is obligated to inform the ILT (CAA NL) of all flights operated during the night regime without an allocated slot for the night and all flights operated without a slot.
As meant in Article 7 ‘Besluit slotallocatie’ and Article 14(5) Reg. (ECC) No 95/93
7. ‘Air carriers’: the air carrier operating the flight without an allocated slot or at times significantly different from the allocated slot.
8. ‘Repeated’: more than one slot violation by an air carrier during one scheduling period.
9. ‘Times significantly different from the allocated slot’: flights resulting in a night movement for which no night slot had been allocated are considered to be operated at a time significantly different from the allocated slot. Times are rounded off downwards on whole minutes.
10. ‘Prejudice to airport or traffic operations’: a (night) movement without an allocated
(night) slot irrevocably has a negative impact on the capacity and the environmental constraints that are in place at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
11. ‘Intentional’: where the air carrier purposefully operates a flight resulting in a night movement, with the knowledge that it holds no slot to operate during the night regime.
In the policy communication the following is meant by:
12. Night/night regime’: 23:00 – 07:00 local time (LT).
13. ‘Night movement’: Departure or arrival with a runway time in the period 23:00 - 06:59 LT.
14. ‘Night departure slot’: departure slot in the period 22:40 – 07:00 LT (block times).
15. ‘Night arrival slot’: arrival slot in the period 23:00 – 07:19 LT (block times).
16. ‘Night slot’: either a night departure slot or a night arrival slot.
17. ‘Scheduling period’: either the summer or winter season as used in the schedules of air carriers.
Justification (force majeure)
18. In accordance with Article 5:5 of the General Administrative Law Act, an administrative authority may not impose an administrative sanction if there was a justification for the violation.
19. Justification may consist of ‘force majeure’, self-defense, actions to execute a legal obligation or actions to execute an authorized official order.
20. Reasons of ‘justification (‘force majeure’)’ must meet the following criteria: the incident must be unpredictable, unavoidable and not attributable to the air carrier.
21. The air carrier must provide substantial and factual data if it is of the opinion that there was a justification for the violation. The ILT is not obliged to investigate every violation for possible justification grounds, only if the air carries request to rely on such grounds.
Timeframe and situations for which justification can be applicable (snowballing)
22. A night movement holding a slot for a day operation or no slot at all, if the root cause occurred after the end of the previous night regime (06:59 LT).
23. A night movement holding a slot for a day operation or no slot at all, if the root cause occurred during the operation of a rotation that started in the Netherlands. This includes rotations with more than one destination.
24. A night movement holding a slot for a day operation or no slot at all, if the root cause occurred during the operation of a foregoing rotation that started in the Netherlands on the same day of operation. This includes rotations with more than one destination.
25. For full freight flights, justification (‘force majeure’) can be applicable for a night movement holding a slot for a day operation or no slot at all, if the root cause occurred less than 24 hours before the beginning of the night regime.
26. Diversions with a valid root cause according to this policy.
26.1 Flights without a slot with a valid root cause according to this policy.
26.2 Not operating flights for which a slot was allocated with a valid root cause according to this policy.
27. Recovery flights to and from Schiphol with a valid root cause that can lead to justification (‘force majeure’).
28. Ferry flights to Schiphol with a valid root cause that can lead to justification (‘force majeure’).
29. Ferry flights from Schiphol with a valid root cause that can lead to justification (‘force majeure’), only in situations where otherwise the recovery flight could not be performed.
Root causes which can lead to justification
Root causes which can lead to justification (force majeure) such as, but not limited to:
30. Unexpected, unavoidable technical failures of the aircraft causing the slot violation.
31. Technical failures, damage or compulsory checks due to external causes, causing the slot violation. External causes can include: bird strikes, lightning strikes, other damage due to severe weather, ash clouds, damage to the aircraft due to foreign object debris. Also damages caused by external third parties [not working on behalf of the airline which operates the flight]
32. Strikes or industrial actions (internal or external) causing the slot violation.
33. Any Air Traffic Control (ATC) measures causing the slot violation.
34. Medical emergencies causing the slot violation.
35. Severe weather causing the slot violation.
36. Tailwinds and headwinds for which the schedule could not be adapted, and where the violation could not be prevented by adjusting the flight speeds.
37. Political situations causing the slot violation.
38. War or conflicts causing the slot violation.
39. Security reasons causing the slot violation.
40. Offloading of unaccompanied hold baggage due to EC 300/2008, unless that baggage has been either separated due to factors beyond the passenger’s control or subjected to appropriate security controls.
41. Delays caused by late boarding of passengers with reduced mobility (PRM) by the airport authority in accordance with EC 1107/2006.
41. 1 However, if during one scheduling period the airline accumulates noticeable systematic slot discrepancies (either by amount or type of violation) the ILT can irrespective of the possible root causes, address the air carrier of these discrepancies and obligate to adjust its schedule or take other measures to minimize the amount of slot discrepancies.
How to appeal for justification
42. All communication with ILT regarding an appeal for justification (‘force majeure’) will be done via email.
43. The ILT shall send a notice by email to the air carrier to notify the air carrier of the night slot violation.
44. Air carriers must register with their dedicated email addresses regarding slot violations to the ILT, so the notice reaches the dedicated persons within the air carrier.
45. All flights operated during the night regime without an allocated slot for the night or no slot at all, are considered a violation of the night regime. After investigation, the ILT may accept a justification for the violation based on the explanation of the airline.
46. The air carrier will be given 7 calendar days to prove justification (‘force majeure’) counting from the date of the notice sent by the ILT.
47. ILT informs air carriers how to apply for justification (‘force majeure’), with guidance on how to prove the cause and what evidence is required. This information will be published on ILT’s website.
48. The air carrier must prove causality with evidence.
49. The air carrier must prove that the incident took place in the appropriate time frame as mentioned in points 22-29.
50. The air carrier must prove that all reasonable measures were taken to avoid the slot violation.
51. The air carrier must provide evidence of the above, screen copies of relevant systems screens are accepted as well as photos or scans of paper documents.
52. Personal data [names, identifiable natural persons] can be blanked out aside from the function of the employee mentioned.
53. The air carrier is requested to provide all relevant documents in English or Dutch. For documents in other languages, translation to either English or Dutch has to be provided by the air carrier.
Enforcement is in accordance with the general enforcement policy of the ILT.