Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Reactions to the AMR/US Airways Merger Settlement

For those interested, the deal between the DOJ and the two merging carriers has elicitedvariety of reactions.

November 19, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

New Issue of IALP Available

The latest issue of Issues in Aviation Law and Policy is now available. To see a list of articles and authors, please refer to this earlier post. Subscriptions can be ordered through the website of DePaul University's International Aviation Law Institute or by filling out this form.

November 14, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

DOJ Announces Settlement with AMR/US Airways

The breaking news this morning is that the U.S. Department of Justice has reached an agreement with American Airlines and US Airways to allow the two carriers to proceed with their proposed merger. The agreement is now pending court approval. The divestitures are fairly extensive compared to the concessions required in previous airline mergers. The airlines will have to sell 104 slots (52 pairs) at Reagan Washington National,  34 (17 pairs) at New York LaGuardia, and two airport gates and the associated ground facilities at each of Boston Logan, Chicago O'Hare, Dallas Love Field, Los Angeles International and Miami International. The slots at Reagan National aren't a surprise, and speculation that a deal would also require slots at LaGuardia grew last week as details of the negotiations leaked out. But the divestitures from non-slot-constrained airports break new ground, though the DOJ has previously recognized that entry can be difficult at even non-slot-constrained hub airports, and cited that as a consideration in its merger analysis. The DOJ, which will have approval authority over the sale of the slots and gates, has expressed a hope that the assets will end up with LCCs such as Southwest and JetBlue. 

November 12, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

FAA Roadmap for UAS Integration

Today the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration released a forward-looking set of plans for the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the nation's airspace. The so-called "roadmap" is intended to inform the public about upcoming regulatory and procedural steps the agency will be taking to enable increased UAS operations over the coming decade. The entire roadmap can be downloaded in pdf form here.

November 7, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

AMR/US Merger Headed toward Settlement?

Reports of settlement talks between the DOJ and American Airlines and US Airways leaked out earlier this week. It appears to be the government that's pushing the settlement story at the moment, suggesting the DOJ at the very least wants to create a public impression that it made a reasonable attempt to resolve the matter before reaching trial. It's probable that the DOJ actually does want to settle the case, as its prospects of winning in court are highly uncertain. Attorney General Eric Holder's remarks suggest that the DOJ is seeking slot divestitures at Washington Reagan National, which was expected, and at least one other airport, likely New York LaGuardia, which comes as a surprise. Slot divestitures alone would fail to address many of concerns raised in the DOJ complaint, leading to speculation that the merged airline may also be required to continue US Airways' Advantage fares program for a specified duration post-merger. 

November 6, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Spying, Diplomacy and the Chicago Convention

The ongoing controversy over the public revelation that the United States security agencies have been spying on foreign leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, provides an excellent excuse to share the following excerpt from Jordan A. Schwarz's fine biography of Adolf Berle the president of the 1944 Chicago Conference that produced the Convention on International Civil Aviation. According to Schwarz, compromise between the British and American delegations to Chicago was made more difficult by British awareness that the Americans were intercepting communications between London and the British delegation. From page 250 of Liberal: Adolf A. Berle and the Vision of an American Era:

Yet Beaverbrook knew that London wanted to give Swinton new instructions for compromise, but what he could not say was that London dared not send them because it knew that the Americans were intercepting their messages to Swinton and tapping the telephones. Years later Masefield would recall that "We got totally confused. We had to cover up and reverse ourselves." Beaverbrook did not give Swinton new instructions or advise him of Roosevelt's interest in the Canadian compromise, "Nor could he be told with the Americans listening." London still hoped to bargain around the Canadian compromise and did not want to reveal its flexibility to the Americans. Even Swinton had a hint of the American spying; he later told Beaverbrook that, although he did not show Berle any telegrams from London, "he thought that Mr. Berle was well aware of them. The subject was not pursued any further."



October 30, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Autumn 2013 Issue of IALP

The Volume 13, Autumn 2013 issue of the International Aviation Law Institute's journal, Issues in Aviation Law and Policy (IALP) will be available soon. Highlights include a lead commentary from Ruwantissa Abeyratne, recently retired from years of service to ICAO, which provides an unsparing critique of the organization and recommendations for areas in which it can better serve international aviation going forward. Additionally, this issue contains one of the earliest published analyses of the DOJ's challenge to the AMR/US Airways merger and a rare English-language article on  the development of civil aviation policy in Kosovo. The full table of contents is as follows:


Ruwantissa Abeyratne, Reinventing ICAO’s Role in Economic Regulation – A Compelling Need


John Q. Mulligan, The End of Prosecutorial Discretion for Airlines: The DOJ’s Challenge to the AMR/US Airways Merger

Nithya Narayanan, Unwinding the Vicious Loop of Aircraft Finance Leases

Jeffrey J. Immel, The Montreal Convention and Recovery for Free-Standing Emotional Distress Under Article 17

P. Paul Fitzgerald, In Search of Greener Commercial Aviation

Md. Tanveer Ahmad, The CJEU’s Radical ETS Judgment: Destabilizing the Chicago Convention System

Eset Berisha, At the Boundaries of the Chicago Convention – ICAO’s Role in Civil Aviation Affairs in Kosovo

Daniel Friedenzohn, Delayed Flights and Delayed Action: The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Tarmac Delay Regulations and Their Impact on Air Travel

Blog readers interested in subscribing to IALP, ordering back issues, or browsing a list of published articles may do so at the Institute's website here

October 29, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 11, 2013

EC to Approve Aegean Acquisition of Olympic Air

The European Commission has defied recent precedent by deciding in favor of a proposal by Greece's Aegean Airlines to acquire Olympic Air, creating perhaps an interesting point of comparison to the U.S. Department of Justice's challenge to the proposed merger between American Airlines and US Airways which similarly broke with recent decisions though in the opposite direction.  

The Commission had previously prohibited a merger between the two carriers in 2011, and by opening up a phase II investigation into the most recent proposal, provided cause to believe it would again deny the merger. The Commission has been somewhat forgiving of cross-border airline consolidation within the EU, but has taken a more skeptical view toward mergers between two carriers within the same member state, something that can be seen in both its previous decision on Aegean-Olympic as well as its multiple rejections of a combination between Ireland's Ryanair and Aer Lingus. In a speech explaining the decision, Vice President Joaquin Almunias indicated that the Commission has not changed its philosophy and remains concerned about the likely anticompetitive effects this merger will have on certain routes. In this instance though, the Commission appears to have concluded that its hand were tied by Olympic's precarious financial situation, creating a classic "failing firm defense" case. The key paragraph from the speech:

The detailed investigation revealed that, in contrast to its situation 2 years ago, Olympic today is simply not able to continue operating outside of Aegean. Had Olympic been able to continue operations outside the Aegean group, the decision would have been a prohibition. But now, because of both the on-going economic crisis in Greece and Olympic's very difficult financial situation, Olympic would be forced to leave the market soon, with or without merger. If it were not acquired by Aegean, Olympic would simply shut down. This means that on the 5 problematic routes, Aegean would remain in any event the only player.

October 11, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

European Parliament Approves New Flight Time Rules

Contrary to the position of the transport committee, the European Parliament has voted down a resolution opposing the new flight time rules drafted by the European Commission. The text of the new regulations can be found here.

October 9, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

New ICAO Council

Last week, as is done every three years, the ICAO general Assembly elected a new Council. This is highly important as the Council sets the policy agenda for the organization. The importance is magnified this time around because the incoming Council will oversee the development of the global emissions plan to be introduced in 2016.

The Council election process is segregated into three tiers, with the first grouping consisting of States of chief importance in air transport. All of the States in this tier retained their place on the Council. The second grouping consists of States which make the largest contribution to the provision of facilities for international civil air navigation (excluding States in tier 1). Norway, Portugal and Venezuela were newly elected in this grouping. The third tier is used to ensure adequate geographic representation of all areas making up the ICAO community. Most of the turnover on the Council occurs within this grouping. This year, Bolivia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Kenya, Libya, Nicaragua, Poland, and United Republic of Tanzania were newly elected within this category.

The full Council, including incumbents and newly elected States, is as follows: Australia, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, and Venezuela.

October 8, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 4, 2013

ICAO Concludes Assembly with Emissions Accord

The ICAO Assembly ratified an emissions agreement on the final day of its triennial meeting. The plan commits ICAO to drafting by 2016 a detailed global market-based-mechanism for limiting carbon emissions from aviation. The MBM would enter into effect starting in 2020. In somewhat of a surprise, ICAO voted not to permit the EU to apply its ETS to foreign airlines, even if limited to the portion of the flight taking place over EU airspace. Legally, the EU has the right to regulate its own airspace, and as such the EU Parliament could choose to ignore ICAO's position on this issue. It is highly unlikely to do so, however, as the rest of the international community clearly does not intend to comply with the EU regime. Next week the blog will provide some more detailed commentary on the results of the 2013 assembly, but for now a summary can be found here

October 4, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

EC May Have to Redraft Flight Time Rules

The European Parliament Transport Committee voted to reject the European Commission's draft rule changes regarding on-duty time limits for pilots and crew. The rules are designed to enhance safety by prohibiting work schedules that lead to dangerous levels of pilot fatigue. The Committee appears to have opposed the draft changes because it felt they weren't strong enough. The proposal will be voted on by the full Parliament later this month. If rejected again, the Commission will have to rewrite the proposed changes or leave the current standards in place.

October 2, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Texas Drops Out of DOJ Suit Against American/US Airways

Texas, one of six states to join the Department of Justice's complaint against the proposed American Airlines/US Airways merger, has withdrawn from the lawsuit after the carriers agreed to continue existing services to the state's airports. Texas' withdrawal is unlikely to have a significant bearing on the trial.

Also today, the presiding judge has denied the DOJ's request for a postponement due to the federal government shutdown. The DOJ attorneys assigned to the case are now expected to continue working on the case despite the shutdown.


October 1, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 27, 2013

EC Calls Out Italy, Cyprus and Greece for Non-compliance with Single European Sky

The European Commission has asked Italy, Cyprus and Greece for an account of their progress toward the establishment of Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs) as required by 2004 legislation designed to create a Single European Sky. The plan is intended to reduce congestion, costs and emissions while increasing efficiency by making air traffic control less fragmented between EU member states. The FABs were supposed to be in place by the end of 2012.

September 27, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Latest on ICAO Emissions Negotiations

Reuters has a report out today describing the latest developments regarding ICAO's efforts to manage aviation emissions. The proposal currently under consideration appears to be a commitment to some form of global market-based-mechanism, the details of which would be drafted and finalized by 2016, and which would take effect beginning in 2020.

According to the report, there remains disagreement about the interim rules on emissions regulation. As has previously been reported, the EU would be permitted to keep its scheme, but only charge allowances to foreign carriers for the portions of flights over the collective territory of EU member states. The United States is reportedly objecting to plans that would exempt many developing countries from the obligation to comply with the EU regulations.

September 26, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Delta/Virgin Atlantic Joint Venture Receives Antitrust Immunity

The United States Department of Transportation earlier this week issued its final order approving antitrust immunity for Delta Airlines and Virgin Atlantic Airways to engage in a joint venture on routes between North America and the United Kingdom. The agreement between the carriers will include codesharing, proration of fares, lounge access and frequent flier programs. The entire docket regarding this application for antitrust immunity can be found here.  

September 25, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ukraine Upgraded to Category 1

The FAA announced last week that a July review found the Ukraine's civil aviation authority to be compliant with ICAO's safety oversight standards and practices, earning the country an upgrade under the FAA's International Aviation Safety Assessment program. Ukraine, which had been classifed as Category 2 since 2005, has been granted Category 1 status. Ukraine does not currently offer service to the United States.

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

Monday, September 23, 2013

F.A.A. Expected to Revise Portable Electronic Device Policy

The New York Times reports that an F.A.A. aviation rulemaking committee is expected to formulate rule changes later this week that would allow passengers to use electronic devices such as e-readers and tablets during takeoff and landing. Restrictions are likely to remain in place on cell phone and Wi-Fi use. A brief explanation of the current policy can be found here.



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

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Principato to Present Third Annual IALI/Chaddick Lecture

Greg Principato, past president of Airports Council International-North America, will present at the International Aviation Law Institute (IALI) and Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development's third annual lecture on October 21 at DePaul University. The title of his speech will be "Trouble on the Tarmac: Redirecting U.S. Aviation Policy to Promote Economic Growth."

Principato served eight years as president of Airports Council International-North America, before stepping down in June 2013. During his 30 plus-year career, he worked on a wide variety of aviation issues. His many achievements include serving as executive director of the 1993 National Airline Commission, helping negotiate a new air service agreement between the United States and Japan, working to develop a new global standard for aircraft noise, and helping negotiate an international airline alliance.

Each year, IALI and Chaddick invite an expert in national aviation policy and advocacy to discuss the role of commercial airports and their impact on U.S. cities and the national transportation network. Past presenters include Christa Fornarotto, the Federal Aviation Administration’s associate administrator for airports, and Professor John Kasarda, author of the book Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next.

Attendance is by invitation only. For more information, please contact IALI Executive Director Stephen B. Rudolph.

September 12, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New Filings in US/AMR Merger Case

Late last week the Department of Justice filed an amended complaint against the proposed merger of US Airways and American Airlines. The two carriers have submitted their responses, which are available through the always excellent Airline Biz Blog at Dallas Morning News. Airline Biz Blog is also reporting that the two carriers are seeking to push back the original December 17 date by which they had planned to complete the merger. We'll have more detailed thoughts on the contents of these latest filings later in the week.

September 11, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)