Wednesday, October 19, 2016
The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a press release yesterday informing the public about a host of forthcoming measures that could be fairly categorized as consumer protections for airline passengers. Impending changes include broadening reporting requirements for on-time performance and baggage mishandling to include more carriers and flights operated by code-share partners, as well as more precise reporting of mishandled baggage and new reporting requirements for mishandled wheelchairs. The DOT also issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking that will eventually lead to a requirement that airlines refund baggage fees when bags are substantially delayed. And the DOT signaled an intent to crack down on instances of undisclosed bias by online ticket brokers in favor of specific airlines. None of the proposed changes promise to be overly consequential, but they reflect an ongoing preference in U.S. aviation for addressing what has been referred to elsewhere as "passenger rights" via minor regulatory tweaks as opposed to sweeping legislative enactments.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Last week the United Kingdom and China reached agreement on amendments to the existing air services agreement between the two countries. Under the new terms, the cap on weekly flights between the two countries will be raised from 80 to 200, and UK carriers will no longer be restricted in the number of Chinese destinations they choose to serve. This is the first major air services deal announced by the UK since the summer vote to leave the European Union and is being promoted as an attempt to broaden the UK's horizons beyond its previously Eurocentric commercial relations. As the linked Financial Times' article observes, however, for the UK to take full advantage of expanded service opportunities in China and elsewhere, it will first have to resolve bottlenecks related to visa policy and congestion at Heathrow.
Monday, October 17, 2016
The first installment of Volume 16 of the International Aviation Law Institute's journal, Issues in Aviation Law & Policy, will arrive next month. The following articles will appear in the Autumn 2016 issue:
- Rene David-Cooper, Defining Common Law Property Rights - The Ownership Conundrum of Landing Slots Resolved
- Jae Woon Lee & Andrew Harrington, The Montreal Protocol 2014 and Unruly Passenger Cases On Board Aircraft: Is there Really a Jurisdictional Gap?
- Sarah Jane Fox, BREXIT: A Bolt from the Blue! - Red Sky in the Morning
- Eliot T. Tracz, Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors? An Economic Approach to the Common Heritage Problem in Outer Space
- Delphine Defossez, International Conventions on Aviation and the Brazilian Constitution: The Case of the CDC
- Moses George, Environmental Impact of Airport Competition - A Case Study of Indian Airports
The new issue will also include a transcript of the Institute's most recent installment in the Conversations with Aviation Leaders Oral History Project, in which Professor Brian F. Havel served as interlocutor interviewing Paul Mifsud.
Issues of the journal are available for subscription or purchase via the IALI web page.
Friday, October 7, 2016
The International Civil Aviation Organization concluded it's 39th Assembly by recommending adoption of a final resolution text authorizing the organization's long-awaited scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). The details mostly conform to those that had leaked out over the past month. The scheme will begin with a voluntary phase from 2021-2026, with mandatory participation required thereafter. Participating airlines will be required to purchase carbon offsets for emissions beyond a given cap, benchmarked against 2020 emissions levels. Language has been included stressing the need for meaningful carbon offsets and avoidance of double-counting. Exceptions have been made for certain classes of developing countries and de minimis emitters. The plan will be reviewed, and subject to adjustment every three years. Most environmental advocates have recognized the importance of aviation taking the historic step of producing the first global, sector-specific agreement, while expressing hopes that the caps may be tightened during future reviews. IATA has also endorsed the plan, signifying industry acceptance. A more thorough review of the resolution text is forthcoming.