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Focus on Regulation

GAO Issues Recommendations for Rules at Slot-Controlled Airports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report on the operations and rules at slot-controlled airports in the United States.  In its lengthy Report, the GAO examined in substantial detail the current utilization of slots, its impact on competition and congestion, and the effect of new beyond-perimeter flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.  GAOSlotRpt

The GAO makes several recommendations in order to — as GAO puts it — maximize the use of available capacity, enhance competition, and expand slot information transparency.   The five principal recommendations are for the FAA to take the following actions:

– Require airlines to report usage data in a standard format at the end of each reporting period;

– Periodically calculate the rates at which airlines are scheduling and using their slots;

– Apply the slot rules (including the use-or-lose-it rule) to individual slots, as opposed to pools of slots within a slot period;

– Periodically disclose information (e.g., name of operators and holders) on currently available slots; and

– Collect and disclose data on slot leases.

The GAO also urges the Department of Transportation to consider requiring airlines to schedule a certain percentage or all of their slot allocations as part of some future regulatory action.