Monday, April 29, 2013
In yet another manifestation of major U.S. and European carriers' increasing concern for a level playing field, at least when Emirates is involved, a proposal to establish a U.S. customs pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport is drawing strong opposition.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Etihad Airways is purchasing a 24 percent stake in India's Jet Airways, completing a deal that has been in the works since at least January. This is the first such investment by a foreign airline since India began allowing foreign carriers to make direct investments in Indian carriers last September.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The European Commission announced in a press release earlier today that it's initial review of the proposed merger between Greece's two major carriers, Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines, produced sufficient competition concerns to warrant an in-depth probe. The Commission blocked a previous merger attempt by Olympic and Aegean in 2011. Today's press release gave little indication that the outcome will be different this time around. In the press release the Commission identified six routes on which the merged entity would have a monopoly, as compared with nine such routes that would have been created under the first merger attempt. The Commission also expressed serious concern about the viability of existing or future competitors within the affected markets and indicated that Aegean's proposed commitments were inadequate. A final decision is expected by the beginning of September.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Over the weekend Israeli airline workers went on strike to protest Israel's new open skies agreement with the European Union. Numerous flights were cancelled as a result of the two-day strike, which ended today. In the first linked article, a quoted union representative characterizes the worker's stance as supporting competition if it is fair. The Israeli carriers have raised two areas of concern with regard to fairness in competition: their exclusion from the most powerful international airline alliances and Israel's stricter security standards. To end the strike, the Israeli government reportedly addressed the latter concern by agreeing to pay 98 percent of the carrier's security costs. While it's hardly unprecedented for airlines and unions to oppose liberalization, the international aviation community's growing concern with "fairness," a trend that was on display at ICAO's Air Transport Conference last month, warrants attention.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
In order to improve safety regulation and decrease notice time for non-scheduled flights, India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) plans to create a separate regulatory division that will be assigned to the non-scheduled sector. Rule changes are also on the agenda. Apparently these reforms are intended to take place simultaneous to or in conjunction with India's grander goal of replacing the DGCA with a Civil Aviation Authority about which we'll have more to say later.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Earlier this week the EU Parliament voted against a proposal intended to increase the price of carbon permits. Some observers are concerned that the falling prices of permits will render the trading scheme useless and effectively end meaningful EU-wide efforts to prevent climate change, at least for the near future. The vote carries important implications for the regulation of aviation emissions. It hard to imagine that a Parliament unwilling to make changes to keep the scheme functioning properly within the EU will be able to muster the political will to reinstate the scheme's application to foreign air carriers once the one-year suspension ends in 2014.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Malfunctioning computer systems caused American Airlines to cancel approximately 700 flights this afternoon and delay many more. It is not yet clear from reports whether or not the outage has caused any violations of the DOT's new tarmac delay rules. It is interesting to speculate about what the consequences of such an outage would be under the EU's passenger rights regime. Under such a system American Airlines would potentially face a staggering number of compensation claims as a result of today's events.Would a computer outage of this magnitude constitute "extraordinary circumstances"? This certainly isn't the type of problem associated with routine maintenance or the normal exercise of the air carrier. Conversely, can the functioning of an airline's computer systems be fairly characterized as a circumstance beyond the carrier's actual control? Fortunately for American that is one problem it does not have to worry about today.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Last week, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Affairs John R. Byerly delivered a guest lecture to the Institute's Public International Aviation Law and Policy class. The topic of the lecture was fair competition and what the concept means for the Open Skies approach to air services agreements. Following the lecture, there was a short reception allowing students a continued opportunity to discuss aviation law with Byerly in an informal setting.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013