|Quoting Avion346 (Thread starter):|
What are the specifics at airports like LGA, DCA, NRT, etc.? I'm looking for information as to what exactly a right to a "slot" entails.
Slots at LGA
differ slightly. At LGA
, a slot is essentially permission to either land or take-off, and is designated as such. The are also available in 30 minute increments (0900-0929, 0930-0959). They are also segregated by size of aircraft (regional, large commercial).
Slots at DCA
are good for an hour, 0900-0959, and are not designated as take-off or landing, but can be used for either.
Most slots were grand-fathered in to the carriers that operated at these airports when slots were first instituted, which has caused new-entrant carriers to piss and moan about barriers to entry (they're correct, in a sense).
Or, you can be some wiz-kid starting up a new carrier, and promise state politicians that you will provide low-fare service to upstate New York, and those same politicians shower you with slots you don't deserve at an airport that really doesn't have the capacity...
To alleviate "hoarding", so to speak, by the established carriers, the government requires slots to be used a minimum of 80% of the time on a (bi-?)monthly basis.
There are a number of ways carriers get around this. First, if a carrier has five slots during any given time period, they can still maintain 80% usage by scheduling four flights during that time (assuming the have a 100% completion factor). This is one way an established carrier can, in fact, hoard slots...
Another way is: say I am an air carrier and I have 2 slots during a given time period, in otherwords 120 slot days, but I have only one daily flight. That's 50% usage. However, established carriers trade slots amongst themselves. So, I call USAirways, for instance, because they have 6 slots and 6 daily flights during a given time period. They agree to take enough of my slots to guarantee I make my 80% usage requirement, and I reciprocate if they need help.
That's the other way established carriers can, in fact, hoard slots.
One-off slots for business aircraft are available on a daily, first-come, first-served basis (unless you're a Congressman...
). There is a phone number to call the day before...it's an automated system. If the slot is not available, you are offered the next closest time. Then, you arrive "late"!
|Quoting ABpositive (Reply 5):|
So when a plane is running late and "misses its slot", are there penalties involved (assuming it was airlines fault and not a weather related issue)?
Slots are based on scheduled departure or arrival, not actual. Check out how many flights are "scheduled" to arrive at, say, 16:59. All the other flights for this given city pair take 2:30, but this flight, miraculously, only takes 2:15!!! It's because a 17:00 slot wasn't available, but the airline needs to get the aircraft there...they will take the hit in DOT on-time rankings, but they don't care.
|Quoting Avion346 (Reply 4):|
So the market planning department has to coordinate an aircraft schedule that is exactly tailored to slot arrangements (when appropriate)? Wow that seems like a really difficult task......especially with bank operations.
It is difficult, but as I pointed out before, airlines trade slots to each other for purposes of getting the 80% usage met. They also trade slots to each other for marketing needs. AA
needs to get a flight out of DCA
at 17:00 to make their connecting bank at DFW
, but they only have an 18:00 slot. US needs to get their flight out at 18:00 to make their connecting bank at CLT
, but they only have a 17:00 slot. Viola! They agree that AA
will give their 1800 DCA
slot to US for US's 1700 slot. Problem solved.
Now, multiply that by literally hundreds of transactions between all the carriers operating in and out of DCA
, and you see where it is difficult. Sometimes it doesn't happen, and that's when you get that one flight that can fly ORD
in 2:15 minutes when all the other flights take 2:30.
Don't ask me how I know this, but an airline once traded a slot to another airline, that traded it to another airline, that traded it to another airline, that traded it to another airline, that then traded it back to the original owner. That's how convoluted the process can get.
Sorry to drone on, but although this isn't the most exciting aspect of commercial aviation, I hope it provides you with a little insight into the industry we all love so much.