Re: Slot machine
Wong, as it happens. A couple of months ago there was a fascinating discussion on Pprune in which someone knowledgeable pointed out that slots are a scarce resource, and rather than trying to increase their number, or use bigger planes to move more passengers with the same number of slots, in constrained airports that they dominate, airlines (specifically BA) are DOWNSIZING rather than upsizing their aircraft, and raising fares.
Smaller planes = cheaper to operate, lower landing fees, less capacity; plus same or higher fares = greater profit. Generate scarcity and milk it. BA can do this at Heathrow because they own more than half of the slots, and this explains why Willie Walsh refuses to chip in for Heathrow's expansion. He doesn't want it. A capacity- and slot-constrained Heathrow suits him just fine.
So, THIS is where Airbus went wrong. They thought airlines would want to move more people through slot-constrained airports. No; airlines actually want to exploit scarcity, and downsizing aircraft helps them achieve this. They want to move LESS people more profitably. There's a reason why BA fly A319s when most of their competitors fly A320s or 321s, and this is it.