Friday, May 4, 2007

U.S.-EU Signing of Open Skies Agreement and IATA Study

U.S.-EU Signing of Open Skies Agreement

At a ceremony this this past Monday during a U.S.-EU summit in Washington, D.C., U.S. President George W. Bush signed the first stage U.S.-EU open skies agreement agreement along with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.  Click here for remarks from the signing ceremony.  The hard work from many different parties that led to the agreement, as well as thoughts for the second stage of negotiations are discussed in a recent International Aviation Club speech given by John Byerly, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.  The potential economic impact of this new agreement is detailed in a follow on study commissioned by the EU DG-TREN to update the Brattle Group study from a few years ago.

IATA Airline Liberalization Study

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released an interesting report that discusses the lessons the global aviation industry can learn from other industries about the impact of removing operational, ownership and control restrictions.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/aviation/2007/05/useu_signing_of.html

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Military in Iraq tags U.S. airlines
Carriers now prohibited from flying into country would augment transit missions
Paul J. Caffera, Special to The Chronicle

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

If the military gets its way, U.S.-flagged air carriers soon may be allowed to fly into Iraq.

Since October 1996, aircraft registered in the United States have been prohibited from operating in Iraq by the Federal Aviation Administration's Special Federal Air Regulation Number 77. U.S. aircraft have only been permitted to make overflights at altitudes exceeding 20,000 feet.

Since the run-up to the war in Iraq, U.S. airlines have played an integral part in moving personnel and material overseas for deployment in Iraq.

An estimated 90 percent of the people, and about half of the equipment, deployed to Iraq flew to the region aboard commercial airlines.

From the beginning, those flights ended at locations near to but outside Iraq. But now, the Defense Department would like U.S. carriers flying for the military to fly into the country.

"U.S. Transportation Command is currently working with the FAA to finalize an arrangement to allow Defense Department commercial operations inside Iraq," said Lt. Col. G.P. "Cliff" Mirabella, a spokesman for the command, a Pentagon agency that coordinates transport operations. "Right now, the focus is on cargo flights. Passenger flights would depend on our success with cargo missions."

Maintaining a fighting force of more than 100,000 service members halfway around the world takes enormous airlift capacity. And the recent increase in troop levels is putting even greater stress on an already strained system.

According to the Air Mobility Command, a division of the Transportation Command, in the 18-month period ending April 6, Air Force transport planes flew 35,980 sorties to and from Iraq and Afghanistan and an additional 26,402 within Iraq. Being able to use U.S.-flagged carriers for flights into Iraq would lessen the load on the military-transport system.

The final decision on whether an airplane registered in the United States may fly to or within Iraq rests with the FAA. "The safety and security of the airspace and aircraft is our concern," said agency spokesman Hank Price.

When asked when the FAA might act on the military's request, Price said he would have to make inquiries to find out. He did not respond by late Monday.

Despite frequent attacks on aircraft operating in Iraq, Price said, "waivers (to regulation 77) have been approved for private operators conducting U.S. government missions." Four such waivers were granted between March and July last year.

Even if the FAA allows U.S. airlines to operate in Iraq, the issue of war-risk insurance may decide whether any carriers seize the opportunity.

Currently, U.S. aircraft lose their FAA-sponsored war-risk insurance if they fly in Iraq under a waiver of regulation 77.

David Castelveter, vice president of communications for the Air Transport Association, an industry group representing the nation's largest airlines, said Monday that ATA's member airlines would not fly into Iraq without insurance.

Still, since most of the military charter flights are being made by non-ATA carriers, there may be enough to meet Pentagon needs, even without insurance.

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/05/08/MNG6FPMR6S1.DTL

Posted by: interesting news | May 10, 2007 12:19:29 PM

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