CAD's response to media enquiry on slot allocation

     In response to media enquiries on slot allocation at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) today (April 5) stated that the CAD has all along been allocating slots in a fair, impartial and transparent manner strictly in accordance with the international Worldwide Slot Guidelines of the International Air Transport Association. The CAD will maintain communication with the trade (including the Asian Business Aviation Association and the Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre Ltd) with an aim to review the existing slot application mechanism used by the general aviation/business aviation (GA/BA) operators and to consider any enhancement measure to facilitate slot application.

     "According to the Worldwide Slot Guidelines, passenger and cargo flights have priority in terms of slot allocation. GA/BA operators can apply for the remaining unoccupied slots. Nonetheless, the CAD has been working to its best to meet the demand of different types of flight. Although the HKIA is approaching its practical maximum capacity with its two runways, more than 20 slots on average are allocated to GA/BA operators every day," the spokesman said.

     The CAD is committed to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of slot allocation. The Online Coordination System (OCS) was launched in November 2011 to provide real time information on runway slot availability to the trade and enable registered users to apply, edit and view slot allocations. With a view to further enhancing the efficiency, fairness and transparency of slot allocation, the slot application procedures were standardised with effect from March 15, 2016, by which all GA/BA operators have to use the OCS. Application via email is no longer accepted.

     "After the implementation of the new measure, the CAD noted that the number of user viewings (hits) to the OCS soared from a few hundred per day to 20,000 to 40,000 per day briefly (between March 17 and 23). The increase in hits was probably induced by the eagerness of the GA/BA operators to check on the availability of slots. During the same period, there was no significant increase or change in the number of slot applications by GA/BA operators. Furthermore, before the Easter holidays many commercial flights applied for extra sectors, leaving fewer than usual slots for GA/BA operators when the new measure was launched. This may have led to a misconception that the OCS had made it more difficult to apply for slots. After the Easter holidays, the situation has resumed as normal," the spokesman said.

     "To ensure smooth browsing and to reduce the possibility of the system being abused, the CAD has immediately reviewed the operating procedures of the OCS. Starting from March 24, all users are required to log-in to the system in order to be able to gain access to the slot information. The OCS is a fully automated and advanced system, which is widely used worldwide by many busy airports for runway slot allocation. At present, there is no evidence of the OCS being abused. The CAD will continue to monitor the usage of the OCS and engage the trade to gauge their views on the system, so as to further enhance the OCS and facilitate application," he added.

Ends/Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Issued at HKT 17:45