Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Link Roundup

News of note before beginning your Memorial Day weekend:

  • Qatar appears to have backed off its attempt to lure ICAO headquarters away from Canada.
  • The European Commission has accepted the conditions proposed by Lufthansa, Air Canada and United for operation of the New York-Frankfurt route as part of their larger joint venture.
  • Nigeria's Federal Executive Council has approved a new national policy on civil aviation intended to bring the country's safety regulation better in line with ICAO standards.
  • Meanwhile, Australia's aviation safety agencies were harshly criticized in a senate committee report that could prompt the government to make changes.

May 24, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Progess is Slow in ICAO Emissions Talks

A report from Reuters last weekend indicated that ICAO-led discussions do not appear to be on track to resolve the question of how to regulate international aviation carbon emissions by this fall as hoped. It's long been understood that a plan is unlikely to be voted on and adopted this year, but it was hoped that ICAO members would have at least coalesced around a single recommendation. Such progress would likely be enough that EU officials would delay reinstatement of the EU ETS to international air carriers. But Reuters' analysis suggests that unless considerably more progress is made during the second half of this year, the EU is likely to be unimpressed with the state of talks and forced to make a difficult decision whether to extend its one year moratorium. A USA Today story earlier today suggests that EU officials are aware they may have to settle for less progress than initially hoped, conceding that there is unlikely to be a vote on a proposal before the 2016 ICAO Assembly.

According to Reuters, the U.S. is pushing for a scheme that places each State in charge of regulation over its own airspace. This approach would align with the traditional delineation of regulatory responsibilities under international aviation law and address the most prominent concerns raised by the EU's partially extraterritorial approach. Such a solution would be a blow to those hoping for a cross-border precedent upon which future climate change regulations could be based.

May 23, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Futurism, Technological Change and Air Space Regulation

When teaching international aviation law, one of the themes I like to introduce early in the semester is the interaction between technology and law. How does society and the state respond to disruptive technological change? Given the relatively recent invention of air passenger transport and the even shorter history of the modern international aviation law system, it is possible to provide the students with a fair overview of how aviation regulation has evolved from its infancy to present day without absorbing too much lecture time. I try to return to the theme whenever appropriate throughout the semester, highlighting for instance the relationship between the invention of the jet engine and the subsequent desire for noise regulation. Until now, post-WWII technological changes in aviation have failed to provide the excitement I associate with those early philosophical debates over the "freedom of the skies" and the need to crafting a legal regime for an entirely new mode of transport. I wonder if that may be changing though, as all of this was brought to mind by a few recent articles I read that call attention to technological changes on the verge of upsetting the industry, and in particular, the regulatory structure governing it. The coming decade will require dedicated work from scholars, regulators and industry to properly incorporate these changes into the existing legal system. 

May 22, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court to Revisit Field Preemption in Aviation

The United States Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the case of Northwest Airlines v. Ginsberg.The plaintiffs allege that Northwest Airlines committed a breach of contract under Minnesota state law when the airline expelled the plaintiffs from its frequent flyer program. The main question at issue for the Supreme Court will be whether the Airline Deregulation Act preempts state law regarding pricing or service. The case will be heard sometime after the next term begins in October.

May 21, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)