Friday, October 29, 2010
The European Commission announced yesterday that it has launched an investigation into provisions of Russia's bilateral air services agreements with France, Germany, Austria, and Finland which may violate EU law. From the press release:
The European Commission has today launched infringement procedures against France, Germany, Austria and Finland over their bilateral air service agreements with Russia, which inter alia include provisions concerning Siberian overflights. The decision was taken on the initiative of European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas Responsible for Transport. The Commission has concerns over two main issues. First, the agreements in question do not contain a clause recognising that the terms apply equally to all EU carriers, despite the "Open Skies" case-law of the EU's Court of Justice. This can create serious practical problems - for example, if an airline is taken over by an airline from another Member State it stands to lose all its traffic route rights. Second, the bi-lateral air service agreements between the four Member States and Russia contain specific provisions on the setting of traffic rights as well as on the modalities for fixing the charges that EU-designated carriers must pay to Aeroflot in order to fly over Siberia on their way to Asia. The Commission is concerned that such provisions may be in breach of EU antitrust rules and could lead to competition distortions to the disadvantage of both EU airlines and consumers. The Commission is actively assessing the compliance with EU law of the twenty three other Member States' bilateral air service agreements with Russia.
See Press Release, Eur. Comm'n, Air Transport: Commission Launches Infringement Procedures Against France, Germany, Austria and Finland Over Agreements with Russia on Siberian Overflights, IP/10/1425 (Oct. 28, 2010) (available here).
EU/Russian aeropolitical relations have long been cool, though a 2007 agreement between the parties is supposed to abolish the Siberian overflight payments by 2013. For further information on the EU's air transport policy toward Russia, see A Framework for Developing Relations with the Russian Federation in the Field of Air Transport, COM (2005) 77 final (Mar. 14, 2005) (available here).
Blog readers may be interested in Eric Fielding et al.'s new paper, The National Transportation Safety Board: A Model for Systemic Risk Management (Working Paper, Oct. 27, 2010) (available from SSRN here). From the abstract:
We propose the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as a model organization for addressing systemic risk in industries and contexts other than transportation. When adopted by regulatory agencies and the transportation industry, the safety recommendations of the NTSB have been remarkably effective in reducing the number of fatalities in various modes of transportation since the NTSB’s inception in 1967 as an independent agency. Formerly part of the Civil Aeronautics Board (now the Federal Aviation Administration), the NTSB has no regulatory authority and is solely focused on conducting forensic investigations of transportation accidents and proposing safety recommendations. With only 400 full-time employees, the NTSB has a much larger network of experts drawn from other government agencies and the private sector who are on call to assist in accident investigations on an as-needed basis. By allowing and encouraging the participation of all interested parties in its investigations, the NTSB is able to produce definitive analyses of even the most complex accidents and provide genuinely actionable measures for reducing the chances of future accidents. We believe it is possible to create more efficient and effective systemic-risk management processes in many other industries, including the financial services industry, by studying the organizational structure and functions of the NTSB.
Monday, October 25, 2010
The Volume 10, Fall 2010 issue of the International Aviation Law Institutes's journal, Issues in Aviation Law and Policy (IALP), will be available next month. The following articles will appear in the issue:
- Kenneth S. Nankin, The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: Revenue Protection Weapon for Airlines
- Gabriel S. Sanchez, The Impotence of the Chicago Convention's Dispute Settlement Provisions
- Daniel Friedenzohn, Code-Sharing in the U.S. Airline Industry: Effective Disclosure Requirements for an Aspect of Air Transport That is Complex, Important, and Often Misunderstood
- Iva Savic, Airline Mergers--Responding to Market Changes and Inducing New Market Structures
- Paul Mifsud, Carlos Bonilla, & Vaughn Cordle, United + Continental is a Market Solution That Can Benefit All Stakeholders--Is American + US Airways Next?
- Aaron B. Swerdlow, Modern Approaches to the Powers of the Aircraft Commander Under Article 6 of the Tokyo Convention
- Matthew D. Kasper, The Air Transport Association's Challenge to the European Union's Extension of Its Emissions Trading Scheme to International Aviation: A Legal Analysis
Blog readers interested in subscribing to IALP, ordering back issues, or perusing a list of published articles may do so at the Institutes's website here.