By Carmen Bos
The biggest advantage of air taxis and private planes is flexibility. Although travellers can choose when to depart and from which airport, some airports use a slot system for the departure and landing of these aircraft. But how do these slots work?
What is a slot?
A slot is a period of time at a specific time, usually 20 minutes, during which an aircraft can take off or land. These slots are reserved for the flight and linked to an aircraft registration, the aircraft may only move within this period. The allocation is made by the local airport authorities. If the aircraft does not land or depart within this slot, there is a risk that the aircraft may not move for a certain period of time. The airport must then confirm a new lock.
The lock system has been set up for airports where there is a high demand for the use of the runway. The airports try to control the total number of flight movements through this system. This can take place throughout the year, in busy seasons, but also around some major events. By allocating slots, incoming and outgoing air traffic is spread over a period of time.
How do slots work and which airports use it?
Most slot controlled airports are airports shared by traditional airlines and private aircraft / air taxis. Usually priority is given to the airlines. As a result, the air taxi user has to be somewhat more flexible in determining the times.
Geneva is the second busiest airport in Europe. This airport is busiest around the winter sports season and on Sunday and Friday evenings. Due to the low number of available slots and the popularity of the airport among prizefighters, the number of private flight movements has decreased.
Air taxi travelers are therefore advised to book their flight as early as possible to obtain a desired slot. Modifications are not recommended, they may cause the lock to be lost. As an alternative, we recommend diverting to another airport. For example, Sion airport is not limited by slots. This airport provides perfect flexibility and is much closer to the famous ski resorts such as Verbier and Zermatt. See more reasons to avoid a major airport here.
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