Tuesday, May 27, 2014
In an apparent effort to reassure foreign airlines, Venezuela will allow six Latin American carriers to repatriate revenues from local ticket sales from the past two years. As noted in a blog post earlier this year, foreign airlines had been cutting service to Venezuela because the government had frozen their access to funds from ticket sales in the country.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Reports out of a constitutional complaint hearing suggest that Germany's air travel tax, introduced in 2011, is likely to be upheld when the constitutional court issues its ruling in a few months. The legal challenge was brought by the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, which has expressed concern that the levy is harmful to airports near Germany's external borders.
Friday, May 16, 2014
Reuters is reporting that EU officials may ask the WTO to consider $8.7 billion in tax breaks passed by the State of Washington late last year, primarily for the benefit of Boeing, as part of the ongoing proceedings between the U.S. and EU over subsidies to Boeing and Airbus. The U.S. recently objected to loans given to Airbus for the development of the A350. The long-running dispute shows no sign of abating any time soon.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Representatives from States on the ICAO Council, the Air Navigation Commission and the aviation industry met earlier this week to discuss the use of flight tracking technologies for passenger airlines. The meeting was of course prompted by the tragic disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 two months ago. The plan appears to be to endorse by September some near-term steps States could voluntarily adopt to improve their flight-tracking capability, with discussions for the eventual development of standards requiring flight tracking. There appears to be a preference right now for performance-based standards that would require that States have the ability to track aircraft without mandating a specific technological approach to doing so.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
We would like to take a minute to recognize former U.S. Congressman Jim Oberstar who passed away last weekend. Oberstar entered the U.S. House of Representatives in 1975, just in time to participate in the policy debate that would culminate in the Airline Deregulation Act a few years later. Though he voted in favor of the act, he would not hesitate to criticize some of deregulation's consequences in subsequent years and was a vocal opponent of the recent wave of industry consolidation. He remained heavily engaged with transportation issues throughout his 36-year career in Congress, ultimately becoming chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The International Aviation Law Institute had been planning to interview him this fall for the Conversations with Aviation Leaders oral history series.
Monday, May 5, 2014
Qatar has announced that it has bought out all of the national airline's private shareholders, including a former prime minister, to bring Qatar Airways under complete government ownership. This provides a worthwhile reminder that while the industry trend over the past decade has been toward privatization, the shift away from State ownership of airlines is far from universal.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Earlier today the Malaysia Transport Ministry made public a preliminary report produced as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. ICAO's Annex 13 to the Chicago Convention, which covers Accident and Incident Investigation, instructs the state conducting the investigation to produce a preliminary report within 30 days of the incident and to distribute it to the states of design and manufacture as well as other states that have assisted with the investigation. This report is from April 9, but it has not previously been made available to the public.