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The case for reforming airport-slot allocation

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Groucho1960

Incumbents always invoke "expertise" or "reliability" with the notion of why resources can't be allocated by the market. In my industry of energy, we have utilities who fight to the death the ability of the market to make rational allocation decisions - invoking "reliability". I have come to believe that "reliability" has replaced "patriotism" as the last bastion of the scoundrel - apologies to Samuel Johnson.

BlackBerryAddict

" To comply with the “use it or lose it” rule, many airlines resort to artifice—flying smaller planes than necessary in order to spread capacity across their slots, for example, and even running empty “ghost” flights to ensure that the runways are busy at the appointed time"

Hogwash too! There was one example a long time ago where an airline ran a "ghost flight" between Heathrow and Cardiff. But why would an airline run a ghost flight? The reason slots are so expensive at Heathrow is because airlines can make money out of them. Running an empty plane would be monumentally stupid - you might as well fill it up with passengers and earn money.

Congestion pricing can be implemented without pricing slots - just raise landing charges at peak times (and then reduce them at off peak times because otherwise it will just make airports richer and passengers poorer).

Heathrow is simply full. It doesn't have a peak. The problem here is not slots or airlines. There are two ways to reduce high slot prices (which by the way are a formidable barrier to entry). Reduce demand. Or increase supply - a new runway. That would bring competition. But the government has been woefully lacking here.