Wednesday, December 16, 2015
The EU General Court today struck down €790 million in fines levied by the European Commission against 11 airlines in a 2010 antitrust decision. The Commission had accused the airlines of colluding on prices for fuel surcharges and security measures, but the court found the Commission's case wanting. It is not yet known whether the Commission will appeal the ruling to the European Court of Justice.
Monday, December 14, 2015
The FAA issued a press release announcing the new registration process for drone hobbyists, meeting its goal of having a registration system in place before Christmas. The process follows closely the task force recommendations released last month. A few notable additions involve the registration deadlines. Current small drone operators have until February 19, 2016 to register, while drones purchased after December 21 will need to be registered prior to use. The FAA is also hoping to entice early registration by waiving the $5 registration fee for operators who register before January 20, 2016. For now, the online registration system is only intended for recreational users, and for aircraft that fall within the specified size dimensions for small UAS.
Monday, December 7, 2015
Reuters reports today that China plans to reform slot allocation at some of its major airports in 2016. Interestingly, China will test out different methods of slot allocation, including sale and random drawing, at different airports, offering a potentially useful natural experiment for scholars and economists. Under the current system, State-owned airlines have been granted the most attractive slot times at the expense of private carriers. Unfortunately, it appears the reforms will only apply to domestic flights, leaving in place the current system for international services, which is reportedly an obstacle to amending the China/U.S. Air Services Agreement.
Thursday, December 3, 2015
The Russian government is reportedly transferring some key aviation responsibilities, including incident investigation and aircraft type certification away from the Interstate Aviation Committee. Neither the reason for the shakeup nor the new assignment of duties are yet publicly known, but the Ministry of Transport and Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) are both expected to assume increased responsibilities.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) became the latest external agency to publicly express a lack of confidence in the safety of Thai aviation by downgrading Thailand from Category 1 to Category 2 status under the U.S. International Aviation Safety Assessment program. Earlier this year, China, South Korea, and Japan had curtailed Thailand's ability to operate flights to their markets, and the International Civil Aviation Organization pronounced Thailand non-compliant with international safety standards. Because Thai airlines are not currently operating to the United States, the latest downgrade lacks any direct commercial consequences, aside from reputational damage. Thailand clearly has work to do to regain the confidence of the international community.