Cannes Slots Work, Though a Little Too Well

 - October 28, 2008, 11:59 AM

The requirement for takeoff and landing slots has been suspended at France’s Cannes-Mandelieu Airport during the winter months, but the slot system might be reintroduced next March. According to data released last week, a trial period of slot coordination imposed by air traffic controllers between May 23 and September 15 significantly reduced delays at the airport, but also caused overall traffic levels at the popular gateway to Cote d’Azur resorts to fall. Only four IFR arrivals were permitted each hour and up to six departures, with a maximum of just nine total movements per hour. The IFR arrival procedure took 13 minutes from the stack position to landing because controllers would not let an aircraft leave the stack until the previous aircraft had completed its landing. According to Umberto Vallino, Cannes-Mandelieu Airport’s marketing and customer relations manager, the slot coordination trial reduced flight delays by as much as 70 percent. However, traffic levels declined over the peak summer months, with at least 300 business aircraft having to use other airports such as Nice, Le Castellet and Toulon during this period.