Management of airport slots with WSG and SSIM standards
The management of slots at airports entails the use of a common and homogeneous code at an international level by the different stakeholders implied, so that communications are effective and the use of infrastructures is optimised. For this purpose, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has developed standards to regulate the application and concession processes of slots, which must be managed by both airlines and airport coordinators. These standards developed are: Worldwide Slot Guidelines (WSG) and the Standard Schedules Information Manual (SSIM).
What are the WSG of the IATA?
The Worldwide Slot Guidelines (WSG) of the IATA are internationally recognised as the guide to good practice (set of guidelines) that should regulate the strategic planning of operations and the management of slots at airports classified as level 2 and 3 respectively.
- Level 2 Airports: also known as schedules facilitated airports. Are those where there is a risk of congestion at certain times, dates or seasons of the year, and therefore requires the intervention of a facilitator to make adjustments to their flight schedules.
- Level 3 Airports: or coordinated airports. Are those with recurring capacity problems to meet airline demand, therefore they must have a slot coordinator.
The WSG define the airport landing slot as the authorisation granted by a coordinator to use the necessary infrastructure for take-off or landing of the aircraft within a level 3 airport and at a specific date and time. The airport community generally uses the WSG as a guide for the slots management at coordinated airports and for the planning of operations at schedules facilitated airports.
Use of the SSIM standard in slots management
The Standard Schedules Information Manual (SSIM) of the IATA regulations collects the message formats that must be followed for the development of communications and data transmission between the different stakeholders involved in coordinating airport slots. This includes the formats indicated in the processes of slots management.
The European Airport Coordinators Association (EUACA) has published a guide for the use of the SSIM, with the purpose of making it easier for the public who are new to the subject to understand it. According to this document, there are different types of messages that can be sent between the stakeholders for requests and/or queries related to slot allocation, for example:
- SCR (Slot/Schedule Clearance Request/Reply), for coordinated level 3 airports. It is used to request permission to use the airport infrastructure for a certain period of time.
- SMA (Slot/Schedule Movement Advice), for schedules facilitated airports of level 2 or level 1 data collection. It is used to send the data of the planned operations by the airlines.
- SIR (Slot/Schedule Informational Request/Reply), to request information on slots allocated to an airline by the coordinating authority of a particular airport.
- SAQ (Slot/Schedule Availability Query), for questions regarding the availability of certain slots or to confirm the distribution of them.
Condor, Ikusi's slots management solution
In situations of limited airport capacity, Ikusi’s Condor solution, developed according to WSG and SSIM standards, helps those responsible for airport coordination to achieve optimal resource planning for an organised slots management. Among other features, Condor offers tools to:
- Organise seasonal slots and ad hoc.
- Monitor compliance with the assigned slots.
- Offer a native integration with the specific e-Airportslots.aero portal for airlines to process and track their slot requests.