April 26, 2012
Criminal Investigation Launched into Pakistani Crash
Farooq Bhoja, head of Bhoja Air, the carrier operating the 737 that crashed last week outside of Islamabad, has been barred from leaving Pakistan and ordered into protective custody. See Pakistan Airline Boss in 'Protective Custody' for Crash Probe, Associated Press, April 21, 2012 (available here). All 127 passengers died in the accident and Pakistan has launched a criminal investigation. The criminalization of aviation accidents has been a controversial subject over the past decade. Elaine Solomon and Dina Relles thoroughly examined the subject last year in an article for the Journal of Air Law and Commerce. See Elaine D. Solomon & Dina L. Relles, Criminalization of Air Disasters: What Goal, If Any, Is Being Achieved?, 76 J. Air L. & Com. 407 (Summer 2011). Readers interested in a more concise explication of the arguments against criminalization may be interested in this 2001 Air & Space magazine piece from Kenneth Quinn. The most recent work on criminalization can be found in the forthcoming Spring 2012 edition of Issues in Aviation Law and Policy (IALP), which will include an article by Steven M. Dejong, Kant Be Done: A Consideration of the Criminalization of Accidents within the Retributivist Paradigm. IALP is available for order here.
April 25, 2012
Ryanair Airport Deals Drawing Attention From EU Authorities
The European Commission is launching a probe into whether marketing and rebate agreements with France's Nimes airport gave Ryanair "undue economic advantage." See Aoife White, Ryanair Agreements with France's Nimes Airport Probed by EU, Bloomberg Businessweek, April 25, 2012 (available here). Earlier this month authorities began investigating agreements between Ryanair and France's Carcassonne airport. This is the 18th EC probe into Ryanair's relationships with state-subsidized regional airports around Europe, suggesting the EC's planned revisions to its state aid guidlines for aviation are badly needed. See Alex Barker and Rose Jacobs, Brussels Opens its 18th Ryanair Probe, Financial Times, April 25, 2012 (available here).
April 24, 2012
Delta Looking to Expand Stake in Gol?
According to reports, Delta is considering significantly increasing its interest in Brazil's second-largest carrier, Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA. See Rogerio Jelmayer, Delta Airlines in Talks to Increase Stake in Brazil's Gol - Report, Dow Jones Newswires, April 24, 2012 (available here). Delta purchased a 3% stake in Gol last December, but Gol has been struggling with increased fuel costs and competition in the Brazilian market and may be in need of additional funds. See Asher Levine, Brazil Airline Gol Profit Tumbles as Costs Jump, Reuters, March 27, 2012 (available here). When Delta first acquired its stake in December, the company expressed optimism about the growing Brazilian market and the increased traffic expected for the 2014 World Cup. Additionally, the move was seen as part of a broader strategy to expand its presence in the Latin American market. The report indicates that under the current talks Delta would increase its stake in Gol to 20%. Gol has denied the reports. See Rogerio Jelmayer, Brazil's Gol Denies Talks to Sell 20% Stake to Delta, Dow Jones Newswires, April 24, 2012 (available here).
April 23, 2012
AMR Section 1113 Hearing Begins Today
Today marks the beginning of court proceedings in American Airlines' attempt to reject its existing collective bargaining agreements as permitted by 11 U.S.C. § 1113. A good preview of what to expect is available from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. See Andrea Ahles, American Airlines Bankruptcy Case Goes to Court Today, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 23, 2012 (available here). The Star-Telegram's blog, Sky Talk, is also a useful source for regular updates on the hearings going forward.
Indian Government Delays FDI Decision
The spate of recent reports on the Indian government's imminent approval of investment by foreign airlines appear to have been premature as a decision is no longer expected before the end of May at the earliest. See Nigam Prusty and Manoj Kumar, India Decision on Aviation FDI Not Before May-End: Minister, Reuters, April 20, 2012 (available here). The Indian government reportedly feels it needs time to bolster political support for the measure. See Mihir Mishra, Aviation FDI: Cautious, Centre Set to Take Allies on Board, Business Standard, April 23, 2012 (available here).
Privatization Plan for Kuwait Airways Moves Forward
A draft law to privatize Kuwait Airways has been approved by Kuwait's Council of Ministers and will now receive consideration from the National Assembly. See Kuwait Airline Privatization Plan Wins Cabinet Nod, Associated Press, April 23, 2012 (available here).