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   Vol. 16 No. 100
Friday December 29, 2017

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      The lack of winter season slots at AMS forced many cargo airlines to find alternative airports and highlighted the glaring lack of global airport capacity. In the first part of this special FlyingTypers series, the European Shippers’ Council called for reform of IATA’s 80:20 slot guidelines. In part two, FlyingTypers speaks to Lara Maughan, Head of Worldwide Airport Slots.

Making The Case

All-cargo airlines have the opportunity to press their case for more leeway when it comes to slot allocations but making changes to ‘80:20’ guidelines will be difficult, according to IATA.

The 80/20 Rule

      IATA’s ‘use it or lose’ 80:20 formulation is part of the Worldwide Slot Guidelines (WSG) used to allocate capacity at leading airports globally. These state that if an airline uses at least 80 percent of its allocated slots it assumes historic rights to the slots for the next season.
      Should it fall under 80 percent, it automatically loses them and they are distributed to other airlines.

How About 70/30?

      As previously reported, a global shortage of slot capacity has hit the headlines recently, primarily due to the loss of slots experienced by freighter operators at AMS, which has seen multiple services diverted to secondary European airports.
      This prompted the European Shippers’ Council (EAC) to call for a 70/30 provision in WSG to take account of the operational difficulties facing many freighter operators.

Maughan & Change: Long & Winding Road

      But according to Lara Maughan, Head of Worldwide Airport Slots IATA, making changes to WSG is a long and difficult process. WSG, she said, was the foundation upon which the global slot allocation process was built and it was designed to benefit airlines, airports, and passengers by optimizing the use of scarce airport capacity.
      In the EU, for example, WSG is enshrined in Council Regulation (EEC) No. 95/93 of January 18, 1993, which governs common rules for the allocation of slots at Community airports.
      Elsewhere, similar legislation is in place to enforce WSG or, where there is no regulation in place, slots are allocated under WSG alone.

Insuring Access View S/H

      Maughan insisted the guidelines ensured slots at capacity-constrained airports around the world were allocated to airlines using consistent policies, principles, and processes and were reviewed on a regular basis to keep up with regulatory changes.
      “It’s the only global standard today in the slot allocation process,” she said.

No 10 Percent Solution

      While reluctant to comment on whether leisure airlines will squeeze cargo operators out of major hubs such as AMS in the future, as shippers allege, she said IATA’s analysis of a move to a 70:30 split on historic slot allocation had shown this would not yield the extra leeway cargo airlines sought.
      “I think a 10 percent reduction in utilization still isn’t going to get to the heart of the challenges facing airports and cargo operators,” said Maughan. “I think the real issue here is the need for flexibility when looking at this area of the market. And I think that can be achieved in a number of ways, not necessarily by reducing the utilization rate, but by being more flexible in the approach, and understanding that market.
      “[Cargo airlines] do have some unique considerations that need to be taken into account when looking at how they operate their slot. Many of them are actually operating their slot but sometimes not always as planned. It’s not as simple as going down the 70-30 route. It’s true that a lot of the airlines—when I talk about the airlines I mean passenger and cargo—are absolutely feeling a capacity crunch at the moment at airports, and really the heart of the problem is there’s not a lot of spare capacity at the airports anymore.

One For All

      “It’s very difficult to meet demand at the moment due to a lack of capacity and I think as an industry we focus our attention on creating more capacity for all.”
      She also said that it was possible that the 80/20 stipulation of WSG could be reformed in the future, given that the rules are under “constant review.”
      She added: “We are actually undertaking a strategic review now with the airport coordinators and the airlines to look at what needs to be improved for the future,” she added.

Other Voices

      However, while FlyingTypers learned that at least two integrators including DHL are participating in the current review, neither Maughan or IATA’s communications department were able to provide any information about how other cargo airlines or freight supply stakeholders could participate, or when the current review would be concluded.
      Shippers, faced with disruptions to supply chains at many leading hubs, have queried if specialist European airports in the future could favor cargo operators to ensure capacity was made available, but Maughan said this would be difficult under current European regulations except in relation to localized issues where mediation might be required.
      “So, as an example, a local rule actually usually covers disruptive events and how operations are managed so an airport can get back to full capacity as quickly as possible,” she said. “As a whole, local guidelines can only be implemented in a way that really does not affect the general operation of the slot process. So when you get into the aspect of priority for specific carriers, the general position of the industry as you know should be neutral and fair. One airport may want to entice a certain type of traffic but then another airport may take a different view and try to find something different and it’s not really a fair and neutral global application.”

Brexit Speculation Weighs In

      Asked how Britain’s decision to leave the EU might affect its implementation of WSG, Maughan replied:
      “Obviously, everybody is speculating as to what actually could be the outcome, but our understanding is basically the EU regulation is very likely to form the majority of the next UK slot law. I can’t see much reason to divert wildly from it because it is a global set of standards. Maybe there will be some tweaks that they will make if they leave the European Single Market, but other than that I can’t see them going very much against the grain there.”
For Part 1. Click here

     When I was a little boy, my Mom said I had to go church to realize that something bigger than ordinary human beings made this earth.
      She left the choice of religion up to me, saying:
      “Just get into a congregation and see if you like the fellowship, and from there you can choose whether or not you want to practice ‘Sunday go to meetings’ for the rest of your life.”
      So I started to study the catechism with the Episcopalians.
      Built in 1939, the small, Tudor-style brick church fit nicely in our neighborhood. We lived in Glendale, Queens, and I could easily walk to the church in nearby Forest Hills.
      Forest Hills was fancy and Glendale was working class, but that is not what drew me.
      In fact, I used to laugh every time Seymour Mindel, the man that helped raise me, said:
      “Ah yes, Forest Hills—the rents over there give me the chills.”
      Seymour, or Sy, as we called him, was President of Chock Full O’ Nuts Coffee, so he was always pretty quick on the uptake with slogans and jingles.
      I don’t know if it was Sy that came up with “The Heavenly Coffee” slogan for Chock, but he surely had a hand in everything back in the late 1950s and onward into the 1980s when he stewarded the company.
      At one time, the baseball star Jackie Robinson worked for Sy as Manager of Personnel for the Chock Full O’ Nuts restaurant chain, but that’s another story.

The Butter Cake Connection

      Looking back over the decades, the thing that initially drew me to the Episcopalians was far more mortal in design. Glorious old German bakeries dotted the path of my weekly walk along Metropolitan Avenue to and from church every Sunday.

A Great Pastor

      The bakeries, and even more so the kind pastor that taught me the bible for one hour a week in a small room above the church, brought me to religion. Even today, 60-plus years later, those days in St. Luke’s small room above the narthex, talking things over in great detail with Rev. Thomas Blomquist, still burn bright in my memory.
      It turns out that before his pastoral calling, Reverend Tom had served as a batboy for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbetts Field.
      After some years, I was both baptized and confirmed by Rev. Blomquist. I was a teenager at the time, and actually taller than he was.
      As he said the holy words and dipped into the equally holy water, which filled a giant seashell rescued from the Pacific War in 1945 (where he had served as a chaplain), Rev. Tom smiled, turned to my mom and brother, Greg, and said:
      “Geoffrey was never that knowledgeable with the specifics of his bible studies, but he does understand the big picture and he sure knows a lot about baseball.”

Praise To The Butter Cake

      Blame the butter cake for my poor theological education. The Sunday morning butter cake cost  .75 cents and held special appeal for me back in the 1950s and even still yet today.
      It is the most delectable breakfast cake yet devised by man and there were not one but two places that made the irresistible butterkugel on my route each week.
      I would work all week long after school washing windows, pumping gas, and wiping down cars at the car wash to earn the money to bring home that butter cake for my mom, Jane, brother, Gregory (pictured here with me) and grandmother, Flossie.

End Of An Era

      Today, alas, everybody is gone, and so are the old German bakeries.
      Rev. Tom retired and as an exalted deacon of the church remained true to his other passion, living out his post-ministerial life in Cooperstown, New York, home of The Baseball Hall of Fame.
      For years I would think about those days and what it was like to grow up in the 1950s.
      But always, through all the changes and years, I would recall and search in vain for that wonderful butter cake.

The Discovery

      And then at around age 60, I discovered the motherload—an authentic butter cake in a place called The Oxford Bake Shop on Liberty Avenue in Queens, New York, about three blocks away from the old Crossbay Movie Theater on Woodhaven Blvd.
      As you walk through the wooden screen door of the Oxford Bake Shop you’re transported back in time. The confection is so special, the melt-in-your-mouth butter cake needs to be preordered.
      The cost for the cake is no longer less than a buck, but for this one-of-a-kind taste treat, price is not important.
      If you make it over to Oxford, check out the rest of their offerings. They have delicious butter croissants, delectable pretzel rolls, and all manner of baked goods, including several flavors of dense German breakfast cakes, including the best German crumb cake on the planet.
      Oxford is the last of its kind. It’s full of friendly neighborhood women who take very good care of all.
      It should also be said that this treasure does not cost a fortune. Amazingly, the value is remarkable reasonable for something nobody else does nearly as well.
      Less than 15 minutes away from John F. Kennedy International Airport, the place is a treasure and worth a trip.
Oxford Bake Shop, 104-01 Liberty Avenue, Ozone Park, New York 11417. 718 843-4039

Subscription Ad

  Dees', a plant and flower nursery, is an old time, family business that has been located just off the main runways at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Oceanside, New York since 1958.
  Dees' spends most of the year selling plants and trees and lawn care products to people from all over the metropolitan area.
  But once a year for the past eight years now, Dees' chops down several hundred Christmas Trees from its big farm in Maine and, in partnership with DHL, sends the trees free of charge to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
  The Christmas Trees for Troops initiative was launched in December 2004 after local businessman Jim Adelis overheard a woman at Dees' Nursery near JFK inquiring about how to ship a Christmas tree to her son in Iraq.
  Adelis, whose son was stationed in Iraq at the time, reached out to DHL and the local community to deliver more than just a single tree.
  Usually the press pick-up of this event goes mostly to DHL and their big trailers and airplanes, and the helicopter with Santa aboard that shows up at Dees' for the Christmas tree shipment before the evergreens are sent to the airport for departure.
  This year, after all the ballyhoo, we visited Dees' that, as it turns out, has really great, fresh cut trees for sale. We had the opportunity to speak to Joseph and Tom DiDominica, who had just received some pictures of the big tree shipment’s arrival. “We will continue to provide these trees until the soldiers get home,” Tom said.
  “That is the least we can do to support our troops,” said brother Joe.
  Business is business, but these brothers bring home the real meaning of Christmas and make the Yuletide bright.
  Dees' is located at: 69 Atlantic Avenue, Oceanside, NY 11572. (516) 678-3535.

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A Christmas Wish
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