EasyJet CEO calls for EU-wide slot allocation reform

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EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall has called for wholesale reform of the way airport slots are allocated across Europe to "break down the defensive walls of protectionism" that are hindering full competition in the aviation sector.

Speaking at the European Aviation Club in Brussels on 9 October, McCall urged Europe's regulators to continue the liberalisation of the sector that began in 1994.

She says that both passengers and cities had benefitted from previous rule changes which led to the growth of carriers such as EasyJet.

However, she adds: "Despite the best intentions of Europe's single aviation market we too often find that we are being held back by the defensive walls of protectionism which still shield airports, airlines and ground handling from the benefits of true and full competition."

Reform of slot allocation is key, she argues, to allow new entrants to effectively compete against legacy carriers. More slots should be made available to new entrants and secondary trading permitted to "encourage the efficient use of slots", she says.

Ground handling needs an overhaul too, McCall says, to eradicate the "archaic practices around ground handling to ensure there is real competition at every airport."