Thursday, May 13, 2010

New U.K. Tax Coming for Airlines

It appears that in addition to scrapping plans to build a third runway at London Heathrow, the United Kingdom's newly formed Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition plans to introduce a new "eco" tax on the airline industry.  See Pilita Clark & Brian Groom, Air Tax Angst Mars Business Delight, Fin. Times, May 13, 2010 (available here).  Not surprisingly, the airlines are less than enthused.  From the story:

Virgin Atlantic branded the tax "unworkable" while British Airways said there was no guarantee it would be used to benefit the environment. FlyBe, one of the largest regional carriers, branded it "illogical" and unfair.

Business jet and air freight operators were critical of the government's adoption of the Lib Dems' pre-election pledge to replace air passenger duty with a "per-plane duty", which the party said would ensure "pollution is properly taxed". Aircraft flown by these groups do not pay the existing air passenger duty.

"It's colossal from our perspective," said Anne de Courcy, secretary-general of the Association of International Courier and Express Services, which represents air freight operators in the UK such as Fedex and DHL.

May 13, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Key Issues in International Aviation Law

On Wednesday, May 26, 2010, DePaul University College of Law and BeiHang University (Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics) will conduct their second annual Key Issues in International Aviation Law conference in Beijing, China. The theme for this year’s conference is Aviation Law Under Open Skies: Commercial and Regulatory Developments in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Confirmed speakers (listed below this note) include key civil aviation officials from the U.S. and Chinese governments, directors of major international aviation law institutes, and prominent aviation executives, attorneys, and academics. An agenda describing all speakers, topics, and times will be forthcoming soon.

If you would like additional information, please contact Professor Jerold Friedland at jfriedla@depaul.edu.

Key Issues in International Aviation Law

Aviation Under Open Skies: Commercial and Regulatory Developments in the Asia-Pacific Region

May 26, 2010

BeiHang University

(Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics)

Beijing, PRC

Confirmed speakers include:

• John R. Byerly Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Transportation Affairs

• Ms. MENG Qingfen Director, Law & Regulation Division, Civil Aviation Administration of China • Peter Harbison Executive Chairman, Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation

• Prof. WANG Han Vice President, Northwest University of Politics & Law

• G. Bailey Leopard, Jr. Senior Counsel, FedEx Express • Michael F. O’Laughlin Senior Partner, O’Laughlin & Company, Hong Kong

• Prof. XUAN Zengyi Director, Institute of Air and Space Law, Faculty of International Law China University of Political Science and Law

• Sandra Chiu Principal, Center for Aviation Policy & Economics; Former Director, International Affairs, United Airlines

• Prof. Long Weiqiu Dean, School of Law, BeiHang University Honorary Director, Institute of Aviation Law, School of Law, BeiHang University

• Nathan Bush Partner, O’Melveny & Myers, Beijing

• Prof. LI Bin Associate Director, Institute of Aviation Law Beihang University School of Law

May 12, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

No Third Heathrow Runway?

The newly formed Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, with David Cameron at the helm as Prime Minister, has pledged to scrap plans to build a third runway at London Heathrow Airport.  See Dan Coombs, Conservative Lib-Dem Coalition: No Third Runway, Uxbridge Gazette, May 12, 2010 (available here).  From the story:

A landmark coalition agreement between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats has included a pledge to scrap the third runway at Heathrow.

The confirmation came in the form of a seven page A4 document, outlining the key policies, agreements, and concessions made by both parties in the wake of a hung parliament following last Thursday's General Election.

. . . .

One of the Conservatives pre-election pledges was to deliver on their campaign against the runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow, which would have lead to the destruction of 700 homes in Sipson and Harmondsworth, and an increase in flight activity around West Drayton.

The coalition agreement confirms, in bullet point format: "The cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow", and "the refusal of additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted."

While this is no doubt good news for environmentalists and other critics who were skeptical that an increase in Heathrow's capacity would bring concrete economic benefits to the United Kingdom, it will no doubt strike a sour note with international air transport industry.  According to Airports Council International's 2009 statistics, Heathrow was the busiest airport in Europe and the second busiest in the world (behind Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport).  Moreover, competition for takeoff and landing slots at Heathrow has markedly increased since the 2007 U.S./EU Air Transport Agreement removed access restrictions to the airport for U.S. carriers. 

May 12, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Continenal/United: An Austrian Perspective

Professor Steve Horwitz, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics at St. Lawrenece University and a theorist in the "Austrian School" tradition of economics, posted his take on the Continental/United merger at the PBS Nightly Business Report blog.  See hereIt's well worth reading.

May 10, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)