One of the major benefits of flying private is the freedom and flexibility to fly on your terms, including choosing the arrival and departure times that work for you. However, certain events, major airports, and hot vacation spots draw such a high volume of air traffic that your private aviation provider must follow strict scheduling rules in order to use a certain airport. These busy destinations require what is called private aviation slot scheduling—reserving a specific date and time for your aircraft to land or take off—and require an experienced provider to help arrange your flight.
Magellan’s Flight Support Department is well-versed in dealing with slot scheduling on behalf of customers and will gladly reserve slots for you if your flight requires them, but it’s still helpful to understand how slot scheduling works. Read on to learn everything you need to know about private jet slot scheduling.
What To Know About Private Jet Slot Scheduling
What Is An Airport Slot?
An airport slot is a specific time period on a specific day when an individual aircraft is permitted to take off from or land at an airport. These are usually put in place to regulate traffic, increase efficiency, and decrease delays. When slot scheduling is in place, no aircraft is allowed to land, take off, or even operate at the airport without a reserved slot—making it extremely important for you and your private aviation provider to plan ahead if your destination is using slot scheduling!
When Is Slot Scheduling Used?
Slot scheduling is used year-round at hundreds of high-volume airports around the globe—or temporarily during special events or at popular vacation destinations during busy periods.
Some large airports, such as London Heathrow or LaGuardia, utilize slot scheduling because of the extremely high volume of travelers passing through—according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 1.5 billion passengers each year fly out of the more than 200 slot-coordinated airports across the world, making up 43 percent of global traffic. The Worldwide Airport Slot Guidelines (WASG) designates these as Level 3 Airports, meaning they require year-round slot control. Your private aviation provider will likely work with you to find alternative airports in the area that do not require a slot reservation.
Event-Based Slot Scheduling
Slot scheduling also comes into play if you’re flying to an event like the Super Bowl, the Kentucky Derby, or the World Economic Forum, all of which see large numbers of private fliers. For these types of events, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) institutes slot scheduling at surrounding airports. In the case of Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles in February 2022, the FAA issued specific requirements including a slot scheduling system at several nearby airports; private aviation providers had to request specific slots with area FBOs (Fixed Base Operators) for any passengers hoping to fly to the Super Bowl up to four days before and one day after the event. Your private aviation provider will handle slot requests for you, but it’s important to remember to book as far in advance as possible and allow for some flexibility around your departure or arrival times.
Seasonal Slot Scheduling
Other popular destinations use slot scheduling temporarily during peak travel seasons. Because of this, summer hotspots like Ibiza or Mykonos can be especially difficult to get to. They have smaller airport facilities that can’t handle increased volume, and since they are islands, there aren’t any alternative airports available. During the summer months, flying to these and other European destinations may require up to two weeks’ advance booking. If you’re flying to a popular destination during peak travel season, make sure you book far ahead and with a good deal of flexibility—and once the date is agreed upon, understand that you won’t be able to change it at the last minute.
Want To Ensure You Get A Favorable Slot?
Airport slots are generally first-come, first-serve, so when it comes to getting the arrival or departure time you desire, the best plan of action is to book as far in advance as possible. It also helps to be open to flying at other times, on other days, or to alternative airports if available.
When you fly with Magellan Jets, you’ll have the benefit of our in-house, 24/7 Flight Support Department arranging every detail of your flight—including reviewing and placing any slots or reservations your mission requires. Want to discuss an upcoming flight with our private aviation experts? Call us at 877-550-5387 or click below to request an instant charter quote!