Wednesday, October 6, 2010
The DePaul College of Law's International Aviation Law Institute will be hosting John R. Byerly, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Affairs, on Thursday and Friday of this week. On Thursday, Mr. Byerly will deliver a guest lecture in Professor Gabriel Sanchez's International Aviation Law course. On Friday, Byerly will take part in the fourth installment of the Institute's "Conversations with Aviation Leaders Series."
Mr. Byerly has been the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Transportation Affairs since 2001. In this role, he is the lead U.S. negotiator for air transport agreements, including the landmark U.S.-EU Open Skies agreement and the recent U.S.-Japan air transport agreement, among many others. Before taking his current position, he was the State Department's Senior Advisor for Transportation Affairs. A career member of the Senior Executive Service at DOS, Mr. Byerly has held positions covering a range of duties in American foreign policy, national security, and international economic relations. He has served the Department as General Counsel, Multinational Force and Observers (seconded to Rome Headquarters of Sinai peacekeepers); Special Negotiator for Transportation Affairs; Director, Office of Aviation Programs and Policy; and Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs.
The Institute’s “Conversations” oral history series focuses on interviewing those who have shaped the public law and policy of the airline industry during the age of global deregulation. Interviews with Michael Levine, Alfred Kahn, and Robert L. Crandall have been completed, and our plans call for continuing the series with an interview in the spring and autumn of each year. Interested readers may watch the earlier installments in streaming video on the Institute's website here.
The Department of Transportation announced today that it is prepared to grant two Japan/U.S. airline alliances--ANA/United/Continental and JAL/American Airlines--approval and antitrust immunity. See Press Release, Dep't of Transp., DOT Proposes to Approve Antitrust Immunity for U.S.-Japan Aviation Alliances (Oct. 6, 2010) (available here). A full copy of the Show Cause Order is available here.
Undoubtedly the relative speed of the applications' approval will raise a few questions about the DOT's diligence in carrying out its analysis of the joint ventures in question. Perhaps the most powerful explanation of why the alliances were cleared is contained in the ANA/United/Continental application for antitrust immunity itself:
In the negotiations [for a U.S./Japan Open Skies agreement], the Japanese delegation unambiguously communicated that U.S. approval of [the three airlines' antitrust immunity application] on terms acceptable to the Japanese Government is a condition precedent to the entry into force of [the] Open Skies [agreement].
See Joint Application of All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd., Continental Airlines, Inc. & United Airlines, Inc., at 6 n.9, Dkt. No. OST-2009-0350 (Dep't of Transp. Dec. 23, 2009) (available here) (emphasis added).