EU regulation provides common rules on allocation of slots at EU airport.  The purpose is to ensure an equitable and non-discriminatory equitable and transparent method of allocation where there is scarcity in the supply of spots.  The regulation sets out criteria in relation to the designation of slots.

The state must ensure the appointment of a coordinator or a scheduled facilitator with experience of coordination and planning air carrier movements.  They must act in a non-discriminatory, and neutral and transparent way.

Capacity is determined twice yearly by the authority according to winter and summer season program.  Capacity is based on analysis of the technical possibilities for accommodating air traffic.

In the case of a coordinated airport, a coordination committee must be established.  It is to make proposals and advise the coordinator on issues relating to capacity, monitoring and local guidelines.  The committee is to consist of carriers, airport managers, air traffic control authorities and general aviation representatives.

Subject to taking up the available slots to a prescribed extent, entities which are entitled to slots historically continue to be entitled to them provided they utilise up to 80%.  Slots which are not sufficiently used are reallocated.  The regulation provides for pools where newly created timeslots are available or new slots or slots have been lost or given up.  The coordinators take account of the rules and guidelines established by the air transport industry and local guidelines.

Slots may be exchanged or transferred between airlines under certain conditions such as a total takeover or transfer of route or traffic.

Access to Ground Handling

EU directive provides for access to ground-handling at airports.  It applies to airports with commercial traffic of not less than 2 million passengers or 50,000 tons of cargo.  The ground-handling services, if integrated into the airport manager\’s functions must keep separate accounts under the supervision of an auditor.

States may require that suppliers of ground-handling services be established within the EU.  They may limit the number of suppliers to provide certain categories of service such as baggage handling, fuel and oil handling, cargo and mail handling etc.  They may limit to two the number of users who may provide ground-handling services.  Exemptions may be available, limited in time where there are constraints of space and capacity which make it impossible to open up the market.

States may reserve for one entity under certain conditions the management of the centralised infrastructures if this cannot be divided up or the cost does not allow for duplication.  States may grant exemptions to airports with constraints making it impossible to open up the market or implement self-handling to the extent provided for in the directive.

Suppliers and services may be subject to the requirement to obtain a licence issued by a public authority independent of the airport in order to guarantee safety, environmental protection and compliance with social legislation.

Airport Charges

An EU directive provides a common framework for airport charges.  The charges must not discriminate between airport users.  They may be modulated in accordance with general and public interest and environmental interests.

A body which manages an airport network may introduce a charging system to cover the entire network in a transparent manner.  A managing body may be authorised to apply a common and transparent charging system for airports serving the same urban community or conurbation. Airport users and representatives must be consulted regularly in relation to the operation of the system as charges, level of charges, quality of service.

Airport users or their representatives must be informed about the component elements on the determination of charges.  The information is to include

  • various services and infrastructure provided in return for the airport charge levy,
  • the methodology used for setting the charges,
  • revenue from the different charges,
  • financing from a public authority
  • facilities and services

Aircraft users may be required to submit information to the airport managing body before the consultation, including forecasts in relation to route traffic, use of their fleet,  development projects and requirements at the airport concerned.

Airport managing bodies must consult users before plans for new airport infrastructure can be finalised.  EU states are required to establish an independent supervisory body.  It must ensure the correct application of measures in compliance with the directives.

Licensing of Air traffic Controllers

EU directive provides for licensing of air traffic controllers.  States must designate a body to implement and supervise the rules.  The directive provides rules and licensing framework for

  • conditions for obtaining and keeping a license,
  • harmonisation of competence requirements,
  • measures to guarantee a high level of competence, including auditing and approving examiners.

Air traffic controller licenses may only be issued to applicants

  • holding at least a certain level of education,
  • having undertaken training courses for practical training and simulation.
  • holding a valid medical certificate and having illustrated adequate linguistic abilities.

Applicants must first obtain a student licence.

States must recognise licence ratings and endorsements issued by other supervisory authorities.

EU airport noise

With increasing air traffic in prospect, the European Union has agreed new rules on how authorities take decisions setting noise-related operating restrictions at EU airports to limit nuisance from aircraft noise.

Regulation (EU) No 598/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on the establishment of rules and procedures with regard to the introduction of noise-related operating restrictions at Union airports within a balanced approach and repealing Directive 2002/30/EC.

Regulation (EU) No 598/2014 aims to improve the noise environment around EU airports in order to ensure greater compatibility between aviation activities and residential areas, in particular in the case of night flights. The rules are based on the principles of the Balanced approach to noise management agreed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the United Nations’ body dealing with international civil aviation.

An operating restriction can take various forms, like setting a noise or a movement limit, introducing a non-addition rule (no additional movements or operations in general, or from a specific type of aircraft) or adopting a curfew for a period of night.


The rules apply only to larger airports with more than 50 000 civil aircraft movements per year. They cover civilian aircraft but exclude military, customs and police movements. The setting of specific noise thresholds, however, remains the preserve of national and local authorities.

Competent authorities

EU countries each appoint competent authorities which take charge of the procedures to be followed for the adoption of operating restrictions. These must be independent of any party that might have a conflict of interest.

Right of review

Before introducing operating restrictions, competent authorities have to give 6 months’ notice to the other Member States, the European Commission and interested parties. The Commission may, within 3 months of receiving the notice, examine the case. If it considers the procedures do not respect the rules, it notifies the competent authority which must, in turn, inform it of the action it intends to take.

Health aspects

EU legislation regarding the impacts of noise on human health (Directive 2002/49/EC) must be taken into account when any decision is taken on noise reduction objectives.

Noise performance information

Decisions on operating restrictions must be taken based on individual aircraft noise performance data provided by the operators. This information will be centralised in a database and made available to competent authorities, airlines, air navigation service providers, airports and airport users.

Assessment of noise and information for residents

Competent authorities must ensure the regular monitoring of noise levels at airports for which they are responsible. If from their evaluation it emerges that operation restrictions could be a cost-effective measure to mitigate noise, a consultation process needs to be organised rapidly and interested parties have 3 months to submit their views before the adoption of restrictions.

Authorities must also ensure that information on operating restrictions is promptly and freely available to local residents and local authorities.

Phasing-out of noisy aircraft

Noise mitigation measures may include the withdrawal of, or extra restrictions upon, the noisier aircraft among those permitted by ICAO rules. Authorities will decide on the annual rate for reducing the number of movements by such aircraft for each operator at a given airport, up to a maximum of 25 %.

Regulation (EU) No 598/2014 repeals Directive 2002/30/EC with effect from 13 June 2016.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No 598/2014


OJ L 173 of 12.6.2014


Directive 2002/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2002 relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise (Official Journal L 189 of 18 July 2002).


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