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Online Coordination

The Grounding of 737-MAX Aircraft Type


We are aware of the difficulties imposed by the grounding of 737-MAX aircraft variants. As described in EEC Reg. 95/93 (793/2004) Article 10.4a, grounding of aircraft type will be considered as a Force Majeure event and appropriate actions will be followed.

More specifically:
• Cancellation of slots held with 737-MAX aircrafts will be considered a Force Majeure event. Historic eligibility will not be revoked, and the slots will be granted as historic at the latest approved timings.
• Revised schedules and equipment changes due to the grounding will be examined on a case-by-case basis. Any slots that were planned to operate with 737-MAX will be maintained at the latest approved timings and 737-MAX aircraft type as allocated before the grounding, unless otherwise agreed between the airline and the coordinator.
• Aircraft types with larger seat capacity will be accepted with a limitation of 737-MAX configuration, as an exception to the general rule. Actual passengers will be monitored and must not exceed the allocated slot characteristics. In cases where the terminal capacity is available, full configuration of larger capacity aircraft can be allocated if the air carrier wishes it. Nevertheless, the equipment revisions are subject to stand availability, where applicable, in the case of different ICAO size category aircrafts.
• Waitlist improvements that may be allocated slots previously held by flight series that have been granted Force Majeure, will be eligible for historic precedence at their previously held timings.
The domino effect of the waitlist-based reallocation can be severe in various airports due to the number of slots held with 737-MAX aircraft variants. Thus, the number of slots altered may increase exponentially in relation to the number of slots cancelled or rescheduled due to the grounding. It must be noted that the latest approved timings or equipment upgrades may not be reflected in the SHLs for the next equivalent season due to the aforementioned reasons.
• New flight series, allocated slots, due to Force Majeure cancellations may be granted as historic at nearest possible timings, subject to availability, if any. HSCA will, to the best of its ability, accommodate such cases with higher priority during the Initial Coordination process for the next equivalent season.
• Requests for new slots or revisions to existing slots, where the requested aircraft type is one of the 737-MAX variants, will not be accepted as long as the grounding is in effect.
Several cases exist that carriers claim Force Majeure for cancellations of slots held with different aircraft types other than 737-MAX. We wish to remain in discussion with these carriers, for them to be able to demonstrate that these cancellations are directly affected by the grounding.

Nevertheless, the responsibility lies with the carrier to demonstrate Force Majeure for any affected slots as described above, by communicating with the coordinator.
Evidently, the latest timings and equipment confirmed by the coordinator on the described basis, must be respected by the airlines and will be monitored. In cases of intentional slots violation appropriate sanctions will be imposed regardless of the grounding events.
We are aware that there are serious problems in the planning and scheduling process due to the grounding of a portion of the fleet of each air carrier. HSCA will make the best possible effort, within the limits of the regulatory framework, to mitigate the impact.