Aircraft Slot Guidelines for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar

FIFA World Cup 2022 Emblem

In the aviation world, Ground Handling is a crucial part of any trip and is one of the most important services to ensure a smooth flight. This is exasperated especially through busy operations such as the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar where the event will be hosted. A whopping 28,000 flights are forecasted to operate in Doha between November and December 2022; carrying at least 3.5 million passengers.

The FIFA World Cup is Football’s most prestigious competition. It is set to kick off in the middle east for the first time in history; and will host a record number of visitors. Perhaps due to Qatar’s central location on the world map; and being one of the safest countries in the world.

So, what are the challenges facing ground handlers? and how does AeroControl Group handle these unprecedented challenges?

Ground Handling

Ground handling comprises of a range of services performed on aircrafts pre-take-off and post landing to facilitate smooth operations. These services include cabin services, maintenance, fueling, ramp handling, catering, passenger service… etc.

Ground handling is integral to ensure safety, security and comfort for the passengers and crew. To learn more about Ground Handling click here.

What Are The Challenges Facing Ground Handlers During FIFA World Cup 2022?

In the event of a busy operation such as a major sporting event, slot coordination attempts to efficiently manage aircraft traffic. With limited space and high demand, slots can be costly and difficult to come by; coupled with elevated restrictions and penalties during such high demand periods. One of the main challenges for Ground Handlers during FIFA World Cup is securing a slot for your aircraft.

What Is A Slot?

A slot is basically a parking slot for an aircraft; which allows the guarantee to schedule a landing and departure at an airport during a specific time period.

The MATAR FWC released Guidelines and Instructions for filling slot requests at DOH & DIA airports between 30 Oct and 25 Dec 2022. The guidelines include rules for slot approval and penalties for misconduct. Any violation or misconduct for the approved slot would result in some hefty penalties, delay or unnecessary burning of excess fuel while waiting in mid-air for clearance.

MATAR Slot Coordination Local Rules During FIFA World Cup 2022

1. Applying for Slot Clearance

2. Slot allocation priorities & exclusions to the Local Rules

In order to ensure a fair and transparent slot allocation process, yet enabling an effective support for the event, the following have been provisioned:

  • Slot requests for PMA flights i.e. National Football teams, will be handled on a priority basis. The requested slot however will be subject to the available capacity and slot availability at the time of the request.
  • All other slot requests will be handled on a first-come/first-serve basis.

Following operations will be excluded from the Local Rules restrictions:

  • Military flights
  • State flights
  • Search And Rescue (SAR) flights
  • Emergency flights
  • Humanitarian flights

3. Traffic distribution within Doha’s Civil Aviation airports

In order to ensure optimum utilization of available capacity and delivery of appropriate service levels the slot request/traffic demand will have to be distributed with the following priorities:

  • All scheduled services and additional scheduled services will be accommodated at DOH.
  • Charter services will be accommodated at either DOH or DIA subject to slot availability.
  • General Aviation GA/BA services will be accommodated primarily at DIA.
  • State & VVIP services will be accommodated at either DOH or DIA on the basis of local authorities’ requirements.

4. Slot Requests

  • All flights, with the exceptions of flights mentioned under 2., will be subject to obtain a slot. The slots will be allocated by the Slot Coordinator.
  • Failure to operate within the allocated slot time of arrival/departure will result in a penalty, with the exceptions mentioned in 2.
  • All operations i.e. charter and GA/BA slot requests must be submitted in turnaround format.
  • All ad-hoc, charter and GA/BA slot requests must include a unique per flight “Ground Handling Confirmation Number” (GHCN) that the operators will get after contacting their Ground Handling Agent (GHA). In order to get the GHCN, the operators must:
    • Have a confirmed representation services agreement (to be shared with their GHA).
    • Have a confirmed maintenance support agreement (to be shared with their GHA).
    • Have paid to their GHA the amount of 5,000 USD as a slot booking fee through a company credit card. This amount will be deducted from the final ground handling invoice or will be released to the operator in case of flight cancellation as per the current set of rules.
  • All ad-hoc, charter and GA/BA slot requests must clearly state the purpose of flight in the “SI” part of the Slot Clearance Request/General Aviation Clearance Request (SCR/GCR) message.
  • All filed Flight Plans (FPLs) will be checked against the approved slots. FPLs not in accordance to the approved slots will be notified to the FPL originator for taking the required timely action.
  • Maximum ground time allowed for narrow-body aircraft “International Civil Aviation Organization” (ICAO) Ref: A, B, C (excluding home-based carriers and scheduled services with historical precedence) will be 60 minutes.
  • Maximum ground time allowed for wide-body aircraft/ICAO Ref: D, E, F (excluding home-based carriers and scheduled services with historical precedence) will be 90 minutes.

5. Slot conformity and Penalties

  • Slot cancellations or slot revisions will be accepted and handled up to 24 hours prior to the scheduled arrival time in Doha (in UTC Times).
  • Slot revisions received on the day of operation will be rejected.
  • Slot cancellations received on the day of operation and non-operation of an approved slot (no-show) will be subject to penalties:
    • 100 USD per seat per flight leg for charter passenger flights & loss of the Slot booking fee.
    • 20,000 USD per flight for GA/BA flights and loss of the Slot booking fee.
    • 30,000 USD per flight for charter cargo flights and loss of the Slot booking fee
  • Slot violation/misuse for any reason other than the cases described in the exclusions paragraph will be subjected to penalties:
    • 5,000 USD for arrivals of +/-20 minutes deviation from the approved slot, for flights with a flight time of 5 hours or less.
    • 5,000 USD for arrivals of +/-35 minutes deviation from the approved slot, for flights with a flight time of 5 hours 1 minute or more.
    • 5,000 USD per flight leg for flights operating with an aircraft type of a higher ICAO category than the one approved.

6. Exclusions to penalties

The following exclusions from the penalty implementation apply:

  • Flights with established historic rights.
  • Damage to aircraft during flight/ground operations
  • Adverse weather
  • Air Traffic Flow Management
  • Industrial action outside of the airline
  • Mandatory Security

How AeroControl Tackles These Challenges?

AeroControl is one of the most reliable companies for trip support services with a wide range of expertise and extensive connections to guarantee a smooth operation for your flight by securing all the authorizations and permits needed, with a track record of efficient management of unexpected contingencies. AeroControl works behind the scenes so you will have nothing to worry about.

As the FIFA World Cup 2022 brings the world together in celebration of sport and health, AeroControl brings you the peace of mind to enjoy this once in a lifetime event, so you don’t miss out.

Read more about how AeroControl Group handled the World Games 2022 click here.