Friday, November 4, 2011
Institute Director Brian F. Havel spoke at the 23rd annual European Air Law Association conference in Rome earlier today. Professor Havel was assigned to a panel on EU-Russia air transport relations that included former U.S. Department of State negotiater John Byerly, Carlos Mestre of the EU Commission, and former Meridiana Fly CEO Massimo Chieli. His speech analyzed the rule of law in EU-Russia air transport relations with an emphasis on air space sovereignty. He discussed the long-festering issue of Siberian overflight charges which the EU has repeatedly argued exceed the air services charges permissible under Article 15 of the Chicago Convention. The EU hopes the issue is nearing resolution based on promises obtained from Russia earlier this month to finally implement the terms of an agreement that was reached in 2006. Professor Havel proposed that the overflights issue should not be viewed in isolation but contained disturbing similarities to the current dispute over the EU's attempts to extend its emissions regulations to foreign carriers. Both controversies involve attempts to leverage control over sovereign airspace to serve domestic interests, a pattern of practice that could threaten the international comity and expectation of First Freedom rights upon which a healthy international aviation system depends.