Monday, July 16, 2007

Congestion At JFK and Other News

Congestion Problems At JFK

Similar to recent problems at New York-LaGuardia and Chicago-O'Hare, there were two articles this past week in the New York Times and USA Today discussing the congestion issues that have arisen at JFK following the expiration of the high-density (slot control) rule there in January 2007.  It seems inevitable that some sort of flight caps will be enacted by the FAA at JFK, as they were at LaGuardia and O'Hare, thwarting the deregulatory objective of the legislation that Congress passed in 2000 to phase out the high-density rule at these airports.

EU Regulatory Roundup

Last week, the European Commission signaled that they would investigate government subsidies designed to attract airlines to small airports in Germany and Finland.  In particular, the Commission singled out Ryanair and easyJet for obtaining airport fees and contracts so favorable that they may be illegal.  Click here for an ATW Online article.

On a similar note, Ryanair announced that after "repeated failure" by the Commission to probe illegal state aid claims involving Air France, Lufthansa, Alitalia and Olympic Airways, it would resort to the "European Courts" in a bid to kick-start the investigative process.  Ryanair claims that it has raised these issues with the Commission for over a year without any movement on its complaints.  Click here for an ATW Online article and here for a Ryanair press release.

The High Level Group For the Future European Aviation Regulatory Framework recently released a report with recommendations intended to jump-start progress on the implementation of the Single European Sky plan.  Click here for the full report.

The EU and the U.S. are close to signing an agreement covering the transfer of passenger name record data despite concerns of the EU Parliament that the data is still not adequately protected.  Click here for an ATW Online article.      

Alitalia Privatization Process

The Italian government has pushed back the deadline for bids for a stake in Alitalia yet again until July 23.  According to a recent Reuters article, smaller Italian carrier Air One is the only bidder clearly remaining in the process.  U.S. buyout firms TPG and MatlinPatterson have also indicated a slight interest in bidding for Alitalia.  The Italian government has given no indication of its plans for Alitalia if the auction process fails to be completed as planned.

Aviation and the Environment

An interesting article on the legal ramifications of including aviation in the EU ETS scheme can be found on the Airline Business website.  Also, a recent Dow Jones Newswires article details the plans of American Airlines to roll out a marketing campaign responding to public interest in its environmental policies.

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