Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Global Strains On Airport/ATC Infrastructure
The recent crash of a TAM Airbus A-320 at Sao Paulo's close-in Congonhas airport has put the spotlight on the rapid growth of air travel in Brazil and the failure of airport/ATC infrastructure to keep pace. A recent Aviation Daily article detailed some of the economic impacts from the temporary closure of the main runway at Congonhas airport and the Brazilian government's initial plans for improving airport infrastructure in Sao Paulo. Another article from The Weekly of Business Aviation focuses more on the problems with Brazil's ATC system and the recent firing of Brazil's defense minister because of these problems.
In the U.S., an AP article shows that even smaller airports like Portland, Maine are not immune from the ripple effects of airport and ATC congestion. Airport management points to problems at major hub airports and ATC congestion in the Northeast as the reasons why it had the third worst record for on-time arrivals from January-May 2007.
Sometimes airport infrastructure can be strained by an unexpected expansion of service from a particular tenant. A recent South Florida Sun-Sentinel article discusses Spirit Airlines' proposed service to ten new destinations from Fort Lauderdale. Although this article suggests that the new flights will not add to the landside congestion problem at the airport, a recent Miami Herald article highlights the challenges the airport faces due to Spirit's rapid growth.
Aftermath of Collapsed Alitalia Privatization Efforts
After the recent collapse of efforts to privatize flag-carrier Alitalia, the Italian government announced that it could not enter into private negotiations to sell the carrier to interested parties because any deal would face a possible court challenge. See Reuters article discussing this development.
AA Looking to Expand Antitrust Immunity With Oneworld Partners
Following the recent SkyTeam antitrust immunity application (discussed in our Friday, June 29th blog posting) in the wake of the new U.S.-EU open skies agreement, last week American Airlines asked the U.S. DOT to grant antitrust immunity to its alliance agreements with Iberia, Iberia, Finnair, Malev and Royal Jordanian Airlines. A Financial Times article notes that British Airways was excluded from the antitrust immunity application and suggests that AA and BA are not yet ready to make another push to obtain antitrust immunity for their alliance.
Monday, July 16, 2007
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.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Angola Pulls BA Operating Permit
Following the European Commission's decision to put TAAG Angola Airlines on the EU's blacklist, the Angolan government decided to pull British Airways' permit to operate to the country. A Reuters article speculates that TAP Air Portugal and Air France will also eventually be prohibited from operating to Angola. Given Angola's increasingly important role as a global oil supplier, the parties will undoubtedly face pressure from impacted business interests to settle this bilateral dispute amicably.
Deutsche Post Investing In U.S. Air Cargo Industry Again
According to a recent Financial Times article, Deutsche Post acquired a 49% holding in Astar Air Cargo last month. Under pressure from a U.S. DOT administrative law proceeding, Deutsche Post's DHL Worldwide Express unit agreed to sell a similar stake in Astar's predecessor company to a group of U.S. investors in 2003 (leading to the creation of Astar from the company previously known as DHL Airways). It will be interesting to see if DHL's rivals UPS and FedEx petition the DOT for a review of the current investment.