Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Another sign that we have entered the era of the European Union leading the charge of exporting airline liberalization came last week after the Council of the European Union authorized the European Commission to open negotiations with Lebanon to expand the EU's Common Aviation Area (CAA) with its neighbors. As the Commission has stated, the objective of the CAA is to establish "a single pan-European air transport market, based on a common set of rules and encompassing 60 countries with approximately one billion inhabitants." The Commission's ambitious goal for the CAA, when placed next to its network of global air transport agreements and negotiations with the U.S., Canada, Australia, India, and China, has positioned it, not the U.S., as the central force in shaping international aviation law and policy.
Further information concerning the Council's authorization, along with the Commission's official communications on its CAA goals, are available here.
On Thursday, October 23, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice will hold a workshop on airline competition to mark the thirtieth anniversary of airline deregulation. Information on attending the workshop is available on the DOJ's website. Whether you are able to attend or not, most of the workshop's panelists have provided papers on the topics they will cover; links to their work may be found here.
The Summer 2008 edition of the Houston Law Review features a series of thoughtful articles and commentaries on the airline industry after 30 years of (incomplete) deregulation. For those without Lexis, Westlaw, or ready-at-hand law library access, the entire issue is archived online for free here. Readers of this blog may be particularly interested in the contributions of Prof. Paul Stephen Dempsey, Director of McGill University's Institute of Air & Space Law, which beats the war drums against deregulation, and the thoughtful rejoinder provided by Prof. Peter C. Carstensen of the University of Wisconsin's Law School. While, as Carstensen readily admits, Dempsey does a fine job highlighting the faulty assumptions underlying the initial deregulatory ethos, he goes too far in saddling competition itself as the culprit behind the industry's cyclical woes. A sound and sophisticated rethinking of pro-competitive policies for civil aviation--the sort which Carstensen highlights throughout his commentary--would maintain the consumer benefits yielded by deregulation while injecting economic stability into the aviation marketplace.