31 December 2007

WTO Secretariat study focuses on plurilateral air services agreements

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Secretariat has been continuing its study of air services agreements (treaties) as part of the background for the review held every five years of "developments in the air transport sector" (see previous post). This includes the most comprehensive coverage of plurilateral/regional air services agreements that I have yet seen. The reference number for the latest work that has been made public is S/C/W/270/Add. 2. It can be found in multiple parts for download by searching the WTO web site. The site has a page on Air transport services that provides easy access to the relevant documents.

As well of being of relevance to negotiators, this latest study should also be of considerable interests to academics and students working in the international air transport field.

I was able to help the Secretariat track down the full texts of some of the plurilateral agreements, including the MALIAT and the PIASA.

European Commission includes Air New Zealand in alleged cargo price fixing probe

A 28 December 2007 story by Steve Creedy in the Australian reports that Qantas and Air New Zealand are two of many airlines (others include AC, CX, and SQ) under investigation by competition authorities with respect to global cargo price fixing.

European Parliament and separately Environment Ministers propose rules to include international aviation in EU emissions trading scheme

Both the European Parliament (13 November 2007) and the Council of the European Union Environment Ministers (20 December 2007) have been formally considering a controversial proposal to include aviation under the EU's emissions trading scheme. Each has reached a first reading position and these must now be reconciled. The Aviation and climate change page of the European Commission's DG Environment provides links to the key documents.

New Zealand proposes to include domestic aviation in emissions trading scheme

A proposed new emissions trading scheme announced in late 2007 that is planned for New Zealand would cover domestic aviation along with all other domestic transport modes. The New Zealand Government has set up a web site on New Zealand's climate change solutions that gives details. Special provisions are proposed for major jet fuel purchasers.

How to deal with greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation is the subject of separate, ongoing consideration by ICAO.

Academics look to EC-US air transport liberalisation Stage Two

A 20 November 2007 post on Aviation Law Prof Blog links to an interesting 26-page draft paper produced by an experts working group looking at the forthcoming second stage of the EC-US air services negotiations. This exercise is being conducted under the auspices of the International Aviation Law Institute in Chicago and the International Institute of Air and Space Law at Leiden.

30 December 2007

Japan-Thailand air services arrangements liberalised?

A 7 August 2007 release from Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that route amendments have been made to the Japan-Thailand air services arrangements.

I have seen an unofficial report with further details but nothing official or in the news media in English.

China and Hong Kong agree to new opportunities for their airlines

The International Herald Tribune in an Associated Press story published on 27 December 2007 details new opportunities created following air services negotiations between China and Hong Kong. Xinhua also ran a story about the new Memorandum of Understanding.

An official press release was issued by the Hong Kong Government's Transport and Housing Bureau.

Malaysia and Singapore negotiate to allow LCCs on Singapore - Kuala Lumpur route

On 21 November 2007 Bernama reported that Malaysia and Singapore were about to negotiate new air services arrangements that would allow their low-cost carriers (LCCs) to start serving the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore air route for the first time.

Aviation emissions a key issue at the ICAO Assembly

It was expected that how to address the environmental impact of aviation emissions (dealt with under Agenda Item 17) would be the key controversial issue for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 36th Assembly held in Montreal from 18 to 28 September 2007 (see previous post) and so it proved to be.

A paper presented at the Assembly details the outcome of the deliberations on this issue. The European Union member states made a formal statement of reservation and issued a media statement. On 28 September 2007 ICAO released a media statement on the outcome.

Interestingly Jeffrey N. Shane from the United States was in the chair for the Assembly. Aviation Week reported on 4 December 2007 that he will be leaving the Department of Transportation where he is Under Secretary for Policy in 2008.

Hong Kong and India expand air services opportunities

On 19 December 2007 the Indian Government announced that, following talks held in New Delhi on 17-18 December, it had reached agreement on revised air services opportunities with Hong Kong that include an expanded exchange of fifth freedom rights.

Specific mention is made in the statement of the possibility of Indian carriers code sharing with Air New Zealand via Hong Kong.

An official press release NEW was also issued by the Hong Kong Government's Transport and Housing Bureau NEW.

The Hong Kong SAR is independent from Beijing with respect to exchanging air services opportunities.

Canada and Singapore reach new air services agreement

The Canadian Government announced on 7 November 2007 that it had negotiated a new air transport agreement with Singapore. Although creating new opportunities, the Canadian Airports Council noted that the new agreement is not a "open skies" one.

Twelve months prior to this announcement a 6 November 2006 story in The Vancouver Sun gave the Vancouver Airport perspective.

Singapore Airlines resumes lobbying for rights beyond Australia

On 15 December 2007 The Australian reported that Singapore Airlines has recommenced lobbying for trans-Pacific fifth freedom rights between Australia and the US. This follows the election of a new Labor Government in Australia on 24 November 2007.

Singapore already has the necessary rights from the US, both being signatories of the "open skies" MALIAT.

EC seeks mandate to negotiate air services agreement with Israel

On 20 November 2007 the European Commission announced that it is requesting a mandate from the Council to negotiate a comprehensive EU-Israel Euro-Mediterranean aviation agreement "providing for gradual market opening and a high level of regulatory convergence in the areas of aviation safety, security, air traffic management, competition, state aid, environmental and consumer protection and research."

Canada and European Commission commence negotiation of a comprehensive air services agreement

The European Commission announced that on 27-28 November 2007 in Brussels it commenced negotiating a broad aviation agreement with Canada.

EC to negotiate comprehensive air services agreement with Jordan

After their 29-30 November/3 December 2007 meeting the Council of the European Union announced (see p.40) that Transport Ministers had granted the European Commission a mandate to negotiate a comprehensive Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement with Jordan. The Commission had sought a negotiating mandate in 2004.

23 December 2007

Airline carbon emissions calculator takes account of aircraft types

My attention was recently drawn to an Airline Carbon Emissions Calculator from Travel Analytics that not only takes account of the aircraft type being used but also, among other factors, the seating configuration of the airline you might be flying on and its typical load factors.

Fuel burn by aircraft type information comes from the 2006 version of the EMEP/CORINAIR Emission Inventory Guidebook (see Group 8). This data includes both LTO and cruise fuel burn rates.

The calculations are not perfect - for example, I suspect that it does not take into account indirect routings caused by airspace restrictions or typical wind patterns that can lead to significant directional flight time differences - but it is a significant improvement over some of the simplistic calculators that are available.

CAPA report on air services liberalisation in the APEC region

A January 2007, 129-page report drafted by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) for APEC entitled "Liberalisation of Air Services in the APEC Region, 1995-2005" has been made public and is now available for download.

The results need to be read with a note of caution - not all relevant air services arrangements were available to the authors for analysis.

Pacific Blue starts domestic services within New Zealand

On 12 November 2007 Australian-owned Virgin Blue subsidiary Pacific Blue Airlines (NZ) Limited commenced domestic air services in New Zealand between Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch using new B737-800 aircraft (see also previous post).

I attended the welcoming ceremony for the first two flights at Wellington Airport (WLG).

Air New Zealand to provide B747 for biofuel testing

On 28 September 2007 Air New Zealand announced that it would be joining with Boeing and Rolls Royce to trial the use of a second-generation biofuel in one of its B747-400 aircraft.

23 November 2007

United Kingdom forward programme for possible bilateral air services talks

The UK Department for Transport publishes a list of possible negotiations and when dates are scheduled gives these too. The 1 November 2007 update indicates that this month the UK was looking to hold talks with Jamaica, Thailand and Mauritius.

The Philippines and New Zealand sign new air services agreement

On 21 November 2007 in Singapore the Philippines and New Zealand signed their first air services agreement. The New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who together with the President of the Philippines witnessed the signing, has announced UPDATED some of the details of the new arrangements.

News media coverage of the new arrangements has appeared in the Manila Times and Sun Star Manila.

We negotiated the text over two rounds in Wellington and Manila. Just prior to the second round the New Zealand delegation visited Clark, the former USAF base 80km north of Manila.

02 November 2007

Revised arrangements to cover Japan-Taiwan air services

An "official" 1 November 2007 report announced that revised air services arrangements have been reached. The revision was completed with an exchange of letters between Taiwan's Association of East Asian Relations and Japan's Interchange Association, the two non-governmental organizations set up by the two countries to handle bilateral affairs in the absence of diplomatic ties. On 2 November 2007 the Taipei Times reported on the new arrangements.

One implication of the new arrangements is that the JAL and ANA subsidiaries that operated services from Japan to Taiwan will be absorbed back into their parent airlines.

30 October 2007

Spain and the United Arab Emirates negotiate new ASA

On 25 October 2007 Spain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) initialled a new air services agreement.

Mongolia to join MALIAT on cargo-only basis

Mongolia has deposited an Instrument of Accession, the first stage in joining the "open skies" Multilateral Agreement on the Liberalization of International Air Transportation (MALIAT). Mongolia is seeking to join for cargo air services only, something that is now possible under Article 15 bis of the Agreement.

29 October 2007

Caribbean Ministers sign San Juan Air Transport Accord

On 25 October 2007 Aviation Week reported that Caribbean Ministers at a Caribbean Tourism Organization meeting in San Juan have signed an Air Transport Accord that includes a commitment to updating air services arrangements in the region by 30 September 2008.

On 27 October 2007, however, the Bahama Journal reported that in the Bahamas at least the Accord does not have total support.

PIASA enters into force following ratification by Niue

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat web site indicates that the Pacific Islands Air Services Agreement UPDATED (PIASA) entered into force on 13 October 2007 following ratification by a sixth Pacific Islands country, Niue.

The initial parties to the PIASA are the Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu (see also previous posting on 16 May 2007).

27 October 2007

Airbus A380 enters service with first flight by SQ to SYD

25 October 2007 finally saw the delayed entry into service of the Airbus A380. The first flight was by Singapore Airlines from Singapore (SIN) to Sydney (SYD). This historic event received considerable media coverage, including in the Australian and the Telegraph.

On 27 October 2007 the Telegraph reported on an aspect of the A380's environmental impact, its emissions.

Notable in the public comments about the aircraft, however, are how relatively quiet it is.

Earlier in the month while about to leave Manila I saw an A380 prototype landing there.

Oberstar addresses the International Aviation Club in Washington DC

On 23 October 2007 Hon. James Oberstar, the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, delivered a speech to the International Aviation Club of Washington DC. Amongst the issues he covered were restrictions on foreign control of US airlines and the European Commission's proposal to include international aviation in its emissions trading scheme.

05 October 2007

Australia and the United States to hold "open skies" negotiations

On 29 September 2007 Australia (Hon. Mark Vaile) and the United States of America announced their intention to begin the negotiation of an "open skies" air transportation agreement with the aim of concluding it in early 2008.

A 1 October 2007 Sydney Morning Herald article by Scott Rochfort looks at some of the implications.

Singapore and the UK announce new "open skies" air services agreement

On 3 October 2007 Singapore and the United Kingdom announced that they have concluded a new "open skies" air services agreement to come into effect in March 2008. Notable features include no restrictions on fifth freedom rights (including for Singaporean airlines unrestricted rights to serve the UK-US market), and exchanges of seventh freedom and cabotage rights.

In practical terms, constraints on slots at London Heathrow will be a factor in the extent to which Singapore Airlines will be able to take advantage of the opportunities that will be available.

24 September 2007

Japan and United States expand air services arrangements

A 14 September 2007 Financial Times article carried by MSNBC reports on a limited expansion in the air services arrangements between Japan and the United States of America. This is the first amendment to the arrangements since 1998.

Peter Gordon on "Food Miles"

UK-based New Zealand chef Peter Gordon has written a well researched article in the Independent on the "food miles" debate.

The key message is that just because produce may have travelled further one should not assume that the environmental impact of its production and distribution is higher.

08 September 2007

Canada and New Zealand negotiate new "Blue Sky" air transport agreement

On 7 September 2007 New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark announced UPDATED the negotiation of a new "Blue Sky" air transport agreement between New Zealand and Canada following a meeting with her Canadian counterpart. Some further details are given in a media statement by the Canadian Ministers of Transport and International Trade.

We negotiated the new agreement in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Air New Zealand is to commence non-stop flights between Auckland and Vancouver in November 2007.

02 September 2007

Dubai Aerospace Enterprises bid for Auckland International Airport Limited hits turbulence

On 31 August 2007 Bloomberg reported that a $5.6 billion bid announced on 23 July 2007 for Auckland International Airport Limited (AIAL) by Dubai Aerospace Enterprise Limited (DAE) had run into further difficulties. AIAL released a media statement on the latest developments. The NZ Herald reported in depth on 1 September 2007 and the Herald on Sunday of 2 September 2007 carried commentary written by Fran O'Sullivan.

The day the proposed deal was announced the Leader of the New Zealand First Party, Rt Hon Winston Peters (who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs) made a media release reacting to the proposal. On 8 August 2007 the NZ Herald reported on comments made by the Trade Minister, Phil Goff.

The 22 July 2007 Merger Implementation Agreement between DAE and AIAL has some interesting provisions relating to Tourism Growth and air services, in particular by Emirates, in an attached Co-operation Agreement (see section 4).

India and Malaysia liberalise air services arrangements

On 16 July 2007 the official Government of India Press Information Bureau announced that air services negotiations held between India and Malaysia on 12-13 July 2007 had lead to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that provides for a major opening up of air routes between the two countries, cargo services, code sharing and multiple designation.

A 19 July 2007 report in the International Herald Tribune provides background.

Australia and South Korea negotiate additional air service opportunities

On 27 August 2007 Australian Minister for Transport, Mark Vaile, announced that Australia has concluded new air services arrangements with South Korea. As well as a passenger capacity increase, all restrictions on the operation of freighter services have been removed and restrictions on the ability of both countries' airlines to access intermediate and beyond point hub markets have been reduced.

26 August 2007

Further anti-trust action against British Airways

A 26 August 2007 article in the Sunday Telegraph gives a detailed account of the further anti-trust difficulties that British Airways is now in, involving price fixing of both cargo and passenger fuel surcharges, the latter with Virgin Atlantic and other airlines.

Philippines looking to hold air services negotiations with New Zealand and Singapore

An August 2007 story in the Manila newspaper, the Business Mirror, reports that the Philippines is looking to hold air services negotiations with New Zealand and Singapore in the near future.

Pacific Blue to start domestic operations in New Zealand

On 23 August 2007 details were announced by Brett Godfrey of domestic services to be operated by New Zealand-based Virgin Blue subsidiary, Pacific Blue. The initial operations will be on the AKL-WLG-CHC triangle commencing on 15 November 2007 with further destinations to follow. The aircraft to be used is the 180-seat Boeing 737-800.

With the airline being Australian-owned, this is a rare example of a cabotage service.

Air New Zealand responded almost immediately by dropping some of its fare levels. Pacific Blue will also be competing against Qantas subsidiary, JetConnect, which trades under the Qantas brand name.

I attended the launch in Wellington.

05 August 2007

European paper on environment issues for ICAO Assembly

On 9 July 2007 the European Commission released a European working paper, "A comprehensive approach to managing aviation's environmental impacts," to be presented by Portugal at the triennial International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly (see previous post).

The 36th session of the Assembly is to be held in Montreal from 18 to 28 September 2007.

Japan and South Korea liberalise air services arrangements

Reports on 3 August 2007 in Bloomberg, Chosun Ilbo, Japan Today and Channel Newsasia outline the contents of new air services arrangements reached between Japan and South Korea. The exchange negotiated over two days last week in Tokyo includes a limited exchange of fifth freedom rights. Restrictions remain on access to the two slot-constrained Tokyo airports, Narita and Haneda.

These are the first such more open arrangements negotiated by Japan and clearly represent the implementation of a major change in policy (see previous post).

V Australia

Virgin Blue International Airlines Pty Ltd now has a trading name. On 25 July 2007 Virgin Blue announced that the proposed new international airline will be called V Australia (see previous post).

Canada and Iceland conclude "open skies" air services agreement

On 18 July 2007 the Canadian Minister of Transport announced the conclusion of a new bilateral "open skies" agreement between Canada and Iceland.

New Zealand's current air services negotiation priorities

In a 20 July 2007 speech to the annual conference of the Aviation Industry Association of New Zealand (AIA), the Minister of Transport Safety, Hon Harry Duynhoven, outlined some of New Zealand's current priorities for air services negotiations. These include holding negotiations with Canada, the European Union, the Philippines and Turkey.

16 July 2007

Air New Zealand and the B787

A 16 July 2007 Herald article by David Stone points to the merits of the forthcoming B787-9 aircraft for Air New Zealand, noting the new non-stop route options from Auckland that will become available - he lists Bombay, Beijing, Johannesburg, Buenos Aires and Chicago. The airline now has eight of these aircraft on order.

11 July 2007

Virgin Blue International Airlines application to US DoT

The application to the US Department of Transportation by Virgin Blue International Airlines Pty Ltd for an exemption and a foreign air carrier permit has now been posted on the web (the docket number is OST-2007-28705). Included is a diagram showing the structure of the Virgin Blue Group of Airlines.

Six B777-300ER aircraft have been ordered for use by the airline. The trading name of the airline has yet to be finalised with a short list having been publicised.

Scramble for London Heathrow runway slots

The Times of London has an article by Dominic O'Connell dated 1 July 2007 reporting on the high demand for slots at Heathrow airport following the signing of the new "open skies" air services agreement between the European Union and the United States. The grey market price is reported to have doubled since last year.

10 July 2007

UK Government answer on stage two of the US/EU "open skies" negotiations

A 9 July 2007 story in Aviation Daily reports on the official UK position with respect to stage two of the EC/US "open skies" negotiations. The parliamentary question and answer given on 28 June 2007 by Gillian Merron MP is recorded in Hansard.

Standard Poodle family on front page of Wellington newspaper

A front page Dominion Post story reports on some strife involving the mother, father and sister of our two Standard Poodles.

09 July 2007

Implications of the B787 for Air New Zealand

The New Zealand Herald carries an article by Liam Dann dated 9 July 2007 reporting on the implications of the new Boeing B787 for Air New Zealand. It quotes Group General Manager International Ed Sims from Air New Zealand as saying "If you put a blindfold on and tried to design the perfect aircraft for Air New Zealand, you couldn't come up with anything better than the 787."

Notable details include that the company is currently investigating 20 to 25 new routes and envisages launching around two new routes each year with more possible when the B787 is introduced.

08 July 2007

The rollout of the Boeing B787

Sunday, 8 July 2007 (a little after 1030 on Monday New Zealand time) will see Boeing rollout the first new B787 aircraft. Already pictures of the aircraft in the paint shop have been published on the web. For me though the more significant event will be the first flight.

There will be massive media coverage of the rollout. I recommend having a look at a couple of blogs - those of Seattle Post-Intelligencer aerospace reporter James Wallace and of Boeing Commercial Airlines Vice President, Marketing, Randy Tinseth.

It is already clear that this aircraft and its engines have the potential to represent one of the major advances in the history of civil aviation technology. What I find stunning is that so many airlines have ordered the B787 even before its has flown - Air New Zealand was the second airline to do so back in 2004 and now has eight on order. The aircraft's combination of size and long range will make it particularly significant for remote countries like New Zealand and Australia.

Australia and Sri Lanka agree new air services arrangements

The Australian Minister of Transport and Regional Services, Mark Vaile, announced on 21 June 2007 new air services arrangements between Sri Lanka and Australia. A feature of the new arrangements is that there is no limit on cargo services.

02 July 2007

Progress on implementing "open skies" in Africa

In a 5 June 2007 article Flight International reports on progress being made towards implementing "open skies" within Africa.

01 July 2007

UK Office of Fair Trading sets deadline for action on air fare advertising

The Telegraph has a story dated 1 July 2007 that the United Kingdom Office of Fair Trading has set a 31 July 2007 deadline for action on misleading advertising of the cost of air travel by airlines and holiday companies (see previous post).

ASEAN Secretary General says progress towards regional "open skies" is slow

On 24 June 2007 Bloomberg reported comments by Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary General Ong Keng Yong to a World Economic Forum meeting that progress on reaching a limited "open skies" air transport agreement covering routes between ASEAN capitals by 2008 was proving to be slow.

30 June 2007

Canada and Kuwait conclude new air services agreement

On 17 May 2007 the Canadian Ministers of Transport and International Trade announced the conclusion of the first bilateral air transport agreement between Canada and Kuwait.

South Korea signs new air services arrangements with the Philippines

New air services arrangements have been signed between the Philippines and South Korea. A story dated 25 June 2007 carried by Yahoo, reports that the negotiations saw a large capacity increase to 19,000 seats per week for the airlines of each side.

A 21 June 2007 column in the Manila Standard Today outlines the Korean negotiating tactics. A opinion column dated 15 June 2007 in the Inquirer, highly critical of the Philippines delegation leader, Undersecretary Edward Pagunsan, suggests that there may have been considerable tensions within the Philippines delegation. A 7 June 2007 article in the Manila Times expands on this.

European Commission still seeking mandate to negotiate new air services agreement with New Zealand

A press release issued on 26 June 2007 ahead of a visit to New Zealand by European Commissioner for External Affairs, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, notes that "The European Commission is seeking a negotiating mandate from EU Member States to open talks on a more ambitious air transport agreement that would fully liberalize air services between the EU and New Zealand." (See previous post.)

Reported concerns about draft Indian civil aviation policy

A 26 June 2007 Times Now story outlines the concerns that some other Indian government agencies have about the draft civil aviation policy (see previous post).

Humans never domesticated cats - they adopted us

In a 29 June 2007 story the Washington Post reports on scientific research by Carlos Driscoll using genetics to determine that the origins of the domestic cat lie in the Near East.

26 June 2007

European Parliament holding public hearing on including aviation in EU ETS

On 27 June 2007 the Committee on Transport and Tourism of the European Parliament is scheduled to hold a public hearing on including aviation in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme. Papers for the meeting, including a 24 page draft report, are available here.

One of the speakers will be Andrew Steinberg, Assistant Secretary for Aviation & International Affairs from the US Department of Transportation.

Group of Ministers in India to consider draft civil aviation policy

A report dated 16 June 2007 in The Economic Times reports that a Group of Ministers will consider a draft civil aviation policy for India entitled "Vision 2020". A key issue is whether to reduce the five-year period of domestic services required before an airline from India can commence international operations.

China plans to liberalise domestic air transport

In an article dated 31 May 2007 China Daily reports that the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) intends to liberalise domestic air transport within China by 2010.

23 June 2007

Scandinavian Airlines System licensed to serve New Zealand

The licensing of international airlines to serve New Zealand is done under the Civil Aviation Act 1990. Notification of the issue of new licences and those that have been amended appears in the weekly, official New Zealand Gazette.

Notice of the most recent international airline to be licensed, Star Alliance member Scandinavian Airlines System (SK), appeared on page 1507 of the 31 May 2007 issue of the Gazette. This follows its separate designation by Denmark, Norway and Sweden under their virtually identical bilateral air services agreements with New Zealand. SAS had announced last year its intention to code share on Thai (TG) operations to Auckland (AKL).

On the same page of the Gazette there is also notice that the licence held by Air China (CA) has been amended to permit the airline greater route and capacity flexibility when code sharing on a New Zealand airline.

21 June 2007

Carbon Tax v Cap and Trade

An article dated 14 June 2007 in The Economist entitled "Doffing the cap" advocates for the use of carbon taxes rather than "cap and trade" to reduce CO2 emissions. Although there have been issues with how the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has been operating in practice, I did not think that this view in favour of such taxation was that widely shared by economists.

In any case, with respect to international aviation almost all international air services treaties prohibit the taxation of fuel.

On 8 May 2007 the New Zealand Minister Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues, David Parker, announced that the New Zealand Government, having previously explored the option of a carbon tax, is now looking to introduce a "cap and trade" emissions trading scheme.

17 June 2007

Canada-UAE air capacity restriction

An 8 June 2007 Aviation Daily article by Adrian Schofield reports that Emirates is to follow Etihad in commencing services to Canada. The article notes that Emirates would like to start daily services but the Canada-United Arab Emirates air services arrangements restrict services to six flights per week and Etihad is already using three of these.

Etihad started operating to Toronto via Brussels in October 2005 and from 2 June 2007 commenced non-stop services between Abu Dhabi and Toronto.

Paris Air Show 2007

This week sees the International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, an event held every other year. As usual some major aircraft order announcements can be expected and there will be extensive coverage in the aerospace media.

In alternate years the focus of the aviation world is on the Farnborough International Airshow, held near London. I attended on a couple of days of the 1986 event.

More recently air shows in Dubai and Singapore have become more important events in the global aviation industry calendar.

Special Report on Air Travel in The Economist

This week The Economist magazine contains a special report on air travel entitled Fear of Flying with eight articles on the subject.

I have personally subscribed to The Economist for many years and keep all the back issues. For clear and concise writing on many of the subjects that interest me it has few if any equals.

16 June 2007

UK Office of Fair Trading Threatens Action on Air Fare Advertising

On 16 June 2007 the BBC reported on the threat of action by the UK Office of Fair Trading against the advertising of air fares that exclude such items as fuel surcharges and per passenger taxes.

As noted in a 9 June 2007 post, such action has already been taken in New Zealand by the Commerce Commission.

09 June 2007

US DoT gives final approval to Virgin America

On 18 May 2007 the US Department of Transportation gave its final approval for Virgin America to start service.

UK-New Zealand passenger travel by sea - avoiding sin?

Last year the Bishop of London, Richard Chartris, was reported in the Sunday Times on 23 July 2006, as part of the Church of England's "Shrinking the Footprint" campaign, to say that taking a holiday by air was a "symptom of sin". (Subsequently the Bishop was reported to have travelled to Wittenberg in Germany by train, no doubt using nuclear-generated electricity.) The attack on this view by Ryanair Chief Executive, Michael O'Leary, as reported in the Irish Independent on 27 July 2006, was particularly robust.

Concern about the environmental impact of international air transport on the rise, but the only alternative means of international passenger transport for remote countries like New Zealand, Australia and those in the South Pacific would be by sea. It is still possible, but not cheap, to travel between the UK and New Zealand by sea with container ships offering a limited number of berths to paying passengers (see, for example, UK firm The Cruise People), as well as a few cruise ships like the QE2 operating annual round-the-world cruises. Of course, modern ships also have an environmental impact.

It was during the 1960s that air travel effectively replaced travel by ocean passenger liner as the main means of long-distance international travel and with good reason. Few people can now afford the time (what economists would call an opportunity cost) to spend weeks at sea getting to somewhere that would only take hours by aircraft.

In the 1960s, in the pre-containerisation days, I recall in Dunedin with my step-grandfather, Haxton Matthews, going on board a Union Steam Ship Company freighter that took a few passengers and was still serving the New Zealand-India route. He had served in the Royal New Zealand Navy during the Second World War and was taking a short trip by sea up the New Zealand coast. More recently I flew with my late father in a light aircraft over the QE2 as she passed down the East Coast of Northland, New Zealand - she was a truely magnificent sight.

Airline fuel surcharges illegal?

The Times of London has been reporting recently on the use of fuel surcharges by airlines and in particular British Airways:

"Airline drives up price of holidays" 9 June 2007

"BA chiefs face extradition over 'price fixing'" 27 May 2007

"Walsh says sorry for BA’s breach of price-fix standards" 19 May 2007

"BA admits it breached price fixing rules" 18 May 2007

According to a BBC story on 14 February 2006, an Associated Press story on 15 February 2006 and an Asia Times story on 22 February 2006, competition authorities from the European Commission, United Kingdom, the United States and Korea were investigating this issue in relation to cargo rates and searching airline offices.

A large number of class-action law suits targeting airlines followed in the United States, Canada and Australia. The Australian case taken by law firm Maurice Blackburn Cashman was reported in International Herald Tribune on 1 February 2007.

In New Zealand the Commerce Commission took court action on the airline practice of having separate fuel surcharges on top of advertised passenger fares and won its cases. In June 2006 Air New Zealand UPDATED was fined NZ$600,000 and in October 2006 Qantas UPDATED was fined NZ$380,000 over misleading advertising.

The "Food Miles" debate

Libertarian Liberty Scott has posted again on the food miles debate pointing to a 3 June 2007 Sunday Telegraph article that features Lincoln University research by Caroline Saunders, Andrew Barber and Greg Taylor on the carbon footprints of various food products sold in the UK.

The key message is don't assume that because food has been transported half way around the world the environmental impact is much worse than buying local European produce.

Scott is a transport expert and former colleague now based in London. Even if you don't agree with everything he writes, his weblog is well worth reading.

EU Transport Ministers endorse including aviation in emissions trading

Transport Ministers at the European Union (EU) Transport Council meeting on 8 June 2007 have concluded that aviation should be included of in emissions trading. EU member states will adopt a common position on the issue at the ICAO Assembly in September.

In a statement announcing the decisions the German Transport Minister, Wolfgang Tiefensee, who chaired the meeting noted that "aim of the conclusions was to convince the other ICAO countries of the need to include aviation in emissions trading ... there was likely to be a heated debate at the next ICAO Assembly in the autumn on the issue of including third countries with or without their consent."

07 June 2007


The Annual General Meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) was held in Vancouver, Canada this week. A feature of the meeting was the 4 June 2007 State of the Air Transport Industry speech by IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani.

A key theme of the AGM was responding to concerns about the impact of aviation on climate change. Bisignani made a statement that included setting a very challenging goal - "Air transport must aim to become an industry that does not pollute—zero emissions."

Swissair Trial Verdicts

On 7 June 2007 the BBC reported that all 19 defendants in the Swissair collapse trial have been found not guilty. The court in Bülach near Zurich also announced damages of SFr3 million (US$2.45 million) in favour of the defendants.

I previously posted about the trial on 20 and 24 January and 10 March 2007.

Ernst & Young and York Aviation Report on EC ETS proposal

After being commissioned by key players in the European aviation industry, Ernst & Young and York Aviation have completed a report dated 1 June 2007 entitled "Analysis of the EC Proposal to Include Aviation Activities in the Emissions Trading Scheme". The Executive Summary and full report are now available on the Association of European Airlines web site as is a related aviation industry press release.

I previously covered the European Commission's proposal in a post on 11 January 2007.

04 June 2007

"Open skies" being considered in Japan

On 13 May 2007 the Yomiuri Shimbun had an editorial that covered consideration in Japan of the possibility of adopting an "open skies" policy, noting that the two key airports that serve Tokyo, Narita and Haneda, are already operating at capacity.

The editorial noted recent consideration of the issue by the Council for the Promotion of Regulatory Reform, the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy (see the provisional translation of the Expert Members' Paper Toward the Promotion of Aviation Liberalization (Open Sky) NEW), and the Council for the Asian Gateway Initiative.

On 17 May 2007 Japan Today carried a report on one of the proposals covering Kansai and Nagoya airports.

Qantas currently Australian owned and controlled

In an 8 May 2007 post I touched on the question of whether the Qantas Sale Act had been breached during the recent bid.

On 30 May 2007 Qantas issued a media statement advising that it "believed the level of foreign shareholding in the company was below the regulatory requirement of 49 per cent." It went on to say that Qantas was "working with lawyers and other advisers to investigate alternative methods of monitoring foreign shareholding in line with the requirements of the Qantas Sale Act."

30 May 2007

Air New Zealand and the Environment

Just as the issue of aircraft noise did some years ago, the issue of the impact of aviation emissions is now a major one for the international airline industry. It is of particular significance for countries that rely on aviation to meet their international passenger transport needs.

Air New Zealand has just published a booklet (1.86mb .pdf) on it commitment to the environment.

A 25 May 2007 article by Steve Creedy in the Australian reported on the views of Rob Fyfe, the airline's Chief Executive, on this issue.

An update on Emirates

The rapid growth of new international airlines based in the Gulf region of the Middle East are being closely followed by many in the aviation industry. An article by Jens Flottau published in the 21 May 2007 issue of the US industry magazine "Aviation Week & Space Technology" provide an interesting update on developments at Emirates (EK).

"The Leading Edge - An Adventure Story" by Dick Georgeson and Anna Wilson

I have recently finished reading this excellent autobiography. Dick Georgeson, the nephew of famous jet boat inventor Bill Hamilton, grew up in the South Island high country and was a pioneer glider pilot in New Zealand. He set many gliding distance and altitude New Zealand and world records as he explored the mountain waves that form in the lee of ranges. The stories of coping with extremes of heat, freezing cold, turbulence and flying in cloud are somewhat awe inspiring. Breaking records is not easy! The Mackenzie Country in South Canterbury where Dick Georgeson often flew has subsequently come a world-class centre for soaring.

A Listener article published in 2003 provides some more information about Dick Georgeson that was not included in the book.

Personally I have been up in a glider twice on trial flights but while I was flying powered light aircraft wasn't tempted to take up gliding as a hobby. My wife was involved in a gliding club in England when she was younger.

"The Southern Octopus - The Rise of a Shipping Empire" by Gavin McLean

I recently finished reading this very good history of the Union Steam Ship Company covering the period from the company's founding in Dunedin by James Mills in 1875 until it was purchased by P&O in 1917. The book was, I think, adapted from Gavin McLean's PhD thesis.

What struck me were the parallels between some of the issues facing international shipping in the late nineteenth century and international aviation in the late twentieth century. New technology, alliance arrangements, competition regulation and management performance all loomed large albeit with the shipping fleet moving at about one thirtieth of the speed of modern jet aircraft.

The book is also a good reminder that Dunedin was once the commercial capital of New Zealand.

I studied history at the University of Otago a year behind Gavin and very much respected his thesis supervisor, Associate Professor Gordon Parsonson. Gavin has gone on to be a prolific author of New Zealand history.

GAO report on implications of the A380

When the huge Airbus A380 does finally enter into commercial service it will have significant implications for airports. Many of the larger airports around the world have been preparing for some time for that day. A report entitled "Commercial Aviation: Potential Safety and Capacity Issues Associated with the Introduction of the New A380 Aircraft", published on 20 April 2007 by the US General Accounting Office (GAO), touches on many of the issues.

A graphic on page 17 of the full report illustrates the separation distances that other aircraft must maintain from a landing A380. In a 1 April 2007 post I noted the A380 capacity issue of slots at congested airports such as London Heathrow. At this stage at least, it seems clear that airlines operating the A380 to congested, slot-controlled airports will not be able to do a simple one-for-one swap with existing take-off and landing slots that they hold.

Having flown light aircraft at Wellington Airport, I am very conscious of the dangers of wake turbulence for smaller aircraft. Of course just about every other aircraft is smaller than an A380!

24 May 2007

China and US agree to more than double air capacity by 2012

US Transportation Secretary, Mary Peters, announced on 23 May 2007 that agreement has been reached for air transport capacity for US and Chinese airlines to be increased in phased steps to 23 flights per day by 2012. Limits on dedicated air cargo capacity will be removed by 2011. Negotiations towards an "open skies" agreement will recommence in 2010.

19 May 2007

New South Africa-Switzerland Air Services Agreement

On 8 May 2007 South Africa and Switzerland signed a new Air Services Agreement replacing one signed in 1959. A press statement from the South African Department of Transport gives some details.

South Africa is pursuing a new "Airlift Strategy" that was given Cabinet approval on 26 July 2006 (see posting on 18 March 2007).

16 May 2007

Vanuatu ratifies the PIASA

Vanuatu has become the fifth country to ratify the Pacific Islands Air Services Agreement (PIASA) according to a press statement released on 15 May 2007 by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. Only one further ratification is now required to bring the PIASA into force. (See also related posting on 20 March 2007.)

12 May 2007

"747 - Creating the World's First Jumbo Jet and Other Adventures from a Life in Aviation" by Joe Sutter

I have just finished reading this excellent book completed in 2005 by the legendary "father of the B747" aeronautical engineer Joe Sutter. Born in 1921, he still works as a consultant for Boeing. I found the book hard to put down and finished all 263 pages around 24 hours after I purchased it.

It tells a superb story about the development of the Boeing 747 placed in the context of other aviation developments from around that time - the original B747 first flew on 9 February 1969. In addition, the book offers concise technical insights into airliner design.

Another fascination in the book are the "warts and all" stories of the office "politics" at Boeing. I had wondered why this book had not been written some years ago. This latter content may not have been included if it had been!

Randy Baseler from Boeing, after reading the book, published on his weblog two interviews with Joe Sutter last year, posted on 22 August 2006 and 16 August 2006.

"The Soulful Science - What Economists Really do and Why It Matters" by Diane Coyle

For those who studied economics over 20 years ago or have a stereotypical view of economic theory as being out of touch with reality (an unfair criticism these days) but think that they understand the basics of the subject, this book is well worth reading for an update on recent developments across the discipline (without the mathematics). Diane Coyle holds a PhD in Economics from Harvard and has worked as a journalist - she was Economic Editor of the Independent - which shows in her clear and concise writing style.

I enjoyed this book. My one disappointment was that there were some areas of the subject, such as economic geography and international trade theory, that were barely covered, something that the author freely acknowledges. I was left thirsting for more.

10 May 2007

US may not push China so hard for "open skies"

An 8 May 2007 report in Aviation Daily suggests that the US is likely to give greater priority to securing agreement for more flight frequencies with China.

Proposal to include aviation in EU emissions trading scheme generates controversy

On 10 May 2007 the New Zealand Herald has a good article written by Brian Fallow on the controversy being generated by the European Commission's proposal to include aviation in its emissions trading scheme.

08 May 2007

UK consultations on proposal to include aviation in EU emissions trading scheme

On 30 March 2007 the United Kingdom Department for Transport released a consultation document about the European Commission's proposal to include aviation emissions within the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). Submissions are due by 1 June 2007.

No agreement yet from China-US air services negotiations

Aviation Daily has a 1 May 2007 report on the latest round of negotiations between China and the United States held in Chengdu in late April.

Qantas bid "definitely dead"

After Qantas shares were suspended from trading on 7 May 2007, on 8 May 2007 the Sydney Morning Herald was reporting that the current Qantas bid was "definitely dead." Qantas has issued a statement.

Qantas Sale Act breached?

In a 7 May 2007 media statement Australian Transport Minister Mark Vaile has in effect questioned whether the Qantas Sale Act has been breached (see 23 December 2006 posting) during the recent share-market activity associated with the bid for Qantas. Articles in the Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald on 8 May 2007 give some background on the issue.

It is important to understand that this issue is not primarily about some xenophobic dislike of foreign investment in a national icon. International airlines generally operate under bilateral air services agreements - treaties between governments - that in this case would allow Qantas to be denied operating authorisation by many other countries if it was found that the company was not "substantially owned and effectively controlled" by Australian nationals. This is designed to safeguard against the circumvention of these bilateral arrangements.

This was a live issue in 2001 when the New Zealand Government was considering proposals from Singapore Airlines and Qantas to invest in Air New Zealand at a time when major shareholder Brierley Investments had moved its head office to Singapore (see papers available on the NZ Treasury web site, in particular a report dated 16 July 2001 from the NZ Ministry of Transport). Unlike in the case of Australia, New Zealand has made considerable progress in getting the "substantial ownership" criterion removed from many but not all of its air services agreements. Prior to partial renationalisation, Air New Zealand had a share structure with 'A' and 'B' shares, with 'A' share only able to be purchased by qualifying New Zealand nationals.

06 May 2007

Qantas bid off again?

According to a 6 May 2007 report in the Sydney Morning Herald the latest twist in the saga is that the Takeovers Panel has blocked the deal by deciding to decline to consider the matter.

Jamaica-UK air services negotiations

A 6 May 2007 article in the Jamaica Observer reports that a new air services Memorandum of Understanding has been concluded between Jamaica and the United Kingdom.

Economic life on the Antarctic Rim

While New Zealand is often described as one of the economies on the Pacific Rim - by implication part of the fast-growing Pacific region in contrast to a supposedly sclerotic European economy - and is accordingly a member of APEC, the Pacific is a vast geographic region covering over a third of the surface of the earth. A country can be located on the Pacific Rim yet still be very remote from the centres of global economic activity.

I can't recall exactly the first time that I heard New Zealand described as being on the "Antarctic Rim" but think it was while I was still working at the Treasury in the mid 1990s. It is a description with some telling implications and points to the importance for New Zealand of having excellent international transport links.

As a history graduate and someone who was very impressed with Professor Geoffrey Blainey's book "The Tyranny of Distance: How Distance Shaped Australia's History", the phrase Antarctic Rim is one that has stayed with me and it is encouraging to read that economists are increasingly taking account of geography in their theoretical research.

The phrase was used by Professor Wolfgang Kasper in an address to the New Zealand Economic Association on 27 June 2002 in which he discussed New Zealand's economic growth record in the context of advances in growth theory. He does not think that New Zealand's remoteness has been holding New Zealand back.

A measure of the remoteness of fellow Antarctic Rim country Australia from an economic perspective is contained in a number of papers published by the Australian Treasury including:

"Measuring recent trends in Australia’s economic remoteness" UPDATED by Robert Ewing and Bryn Battersby (March 2005)

"International Trade Performance: The Gravity of Australia’s RemotenessUPDATED by Bryn Battersby and Robert Ewing (June 2005)

The New Zealand Treasury has also touched on the issue in its series of working papers including:

"Economic Geography - Key Concepts" UPDATED by Sarah Box (2000)

"Geography, Trade and Growth: Problems and Possibilities for the New Zealand EconomyUPDATED by Philip McCann (2003)

"Global Connectedness and Bilateral Economic Linkages - Which Countries?UPDATED by Jim Rose and Wayne Stevens (2004)

The gravity model of international trade - taking into account distance and market size - would seem to have applicability when it comes to examining international air passenger transport but I have yet to track down any academic studies using the model for this purpose. One such paper that focuses on air cargo is:

"Infrastructure, Competition Regimes and Air Transport Costs: Cross Country Evidence" by Alejandro Micco and Tomás Serebrisk (2004)

I suspect that it would make for some interesting further econometric research provided that care is taken with the data sets used.

The Qantas takeover bid attempt

Respected New Zealand Herald business journalist Fran O'Sullivan has a 6 May 2007 article on the takeover attempt. There are also articles in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Times that give some background to how the 50% minimum was reached only after the 7.00pm Friday deadline for acceptances had closed.

05 May 2007

Qantas bid may yet go to the next stage?

On Saturday morning, 5 May 2007, ABC was reporting that, following an acceptance received from a large investor after the bid deadline, Airline Partners Australia will go to the Takeovers Panel to see if the bid can still proceed.

Bid for Qantas fails?

On 5 May 2007 the Australian and Sydney Morning Herald were reporting that the Airline Partners Australia bid for Qantas had failed to secure the necessary 50% acceptance for it to proceed. A successful bid would have resulted in A$4.5bn being "stripped off the balance sheet."

The Qantas share-price reaction on Monday will no doubt be the subject of considerable interest.

The "insane" world of bilateral international aviation regulation

A 20 December 2003 weblog posting by Michael Jennings on samizdata.net has some minor factual errors but makes some good points, particular about the implications of the way the exchanging of "freedoms of the air" works in practice in what he describes as the "bizarrely anachronistic" way international aviation is regulated.

04 May 2007

Australia-Brunei air services arrangements expanded

On 26 April 2007 the Australian Minister of Transport Mark Vaile announced the expansion of capacity and routes available under the air services arrangements between Australia and Brunei Darussalam.

01 May 2007

Speech by John Byerly on US-EU aviation relations

On 24 April 2007 John Byerly, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Affairs at the US State Department and the leader of the US delegation at the numerous rounds of ultimately successful air services with the European Commission, gave a speech to the International Aviation Club of Washington DC. He paid tribute to the many people involved in bringing together the historic "open skies" arrangement between the European Union and the United States and also looked forward to the next set of negotiations scheduled to begin by the end of May 2008.

Sadly one of the visionary architects of the new EU-US agreement, former EC Commissioner for Energy and Transport, Loyola de Palacio, did not live to see the agreement signed. She died of lung cancer at the age of only 56 on 13 December 2006.

ECJ rules against the Netherlands-US air services agreement

Following an opinion dated 16 November 2006, in a judgement dated 24 April 2007 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled against the Netherlands concerning its bilateral air services arrangements with the United States (Case C-523/04). The case was brought by the European Commission.

EU-US "open skies" agreement signed

Reuters reports that the new "open skies" Air Transportation Agreement between the European Union and the United States was signed in Washington DC on 30 April 2007. A transcript of remarks made at the signing ceremony has been released by the US State Department.

Canada and Ireland conclude "open skies" air services agreement

On 30 April 2007 Canadian Ministers announced that Canada had concluded an "open skies" agreement with Ireland. The new agreement replaces one concluded in 1947 and has immediate effect. This is the third such agreement concluded under Canada's new Blue Sky policy.

28 April 2007

Extension of South East Asian fifth freedom exchange announced

On 24 April 2007 the Office of the President of the Philippines announced that the number of points available for fifth freedom air transport operations in the Brunei Darussalam/Indonesia/Malaysia/the Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) has been extended.

25 April 2007

China-New Zealand air services agreement amendments brought into effect

On 23 April 2007 the New Zealand Minister of Transport, Hon. Annette King, announced from Beijing that amendments to the 1993 air services treaty between China and New Zealand had been brought into effect.

These amendments were negotiated in 2004. The main features were announced by the then Minister of Transport, Hon. Pete Hodgson, on 18 May 2004.

Brazilian interest in a regional approach to international air services arrangements?

On 17 April 2007 the head of the ANAC, Milton Zuanazzi, was reported (in Portuguese) to have been expressing an interest in the possibility of moving from a bilateral to a regional approach within South America for the economic regulation of international air services (O Globo article in Portuguese).

Civil aviation policy changes recommended in Israel

A 20 April 2007 article in Haaretz reports on recommendations from the Israeli Ministry of Transport to liberalise aspects of Israel's international air transport policy. This includes seeking to negotiate an "open skies" agreement with the European Union.

18 April 2007

Australia concludes new Air Services Agreements with Spain and Croatia

In a 12 April 2007 media statement the Australian Transport Minister, Mark Vaile, announced that Australia has concluded new Air Services Agreements with Spain and Croatia.

New Zealand signed an Air Services Agreement with Spain in 2002. I led the New Zealand delegation at the negotiations.

16 April 2007

Illustrated History of National Airways Corporation

I have just finished enjoying reading and looking at the excellent set of pictures in "NAC - The Illustrated History of New Zealand National Airways Corporation 1947-1978" by Richard Waugh with Peter Layne & Graeme McConnell.

The authors, who are members of New Zealand Airline Research, have had the good sense not to try to repeat material in Dr Peter Aimer's book "Wings of the Nation - A History of the National Airways Corporation, 1947-78" about New Zealand's State-owned domestic carrier that was merged with Air New Zealand in 1978. Rather the two books are very much complimentary.

I remember flying in NAC Vickers Viscount aircraft between Dunedin and Christchurch as a child. I still think that the type is particularly beautiful but it was very noisy.

Rev Richard Waugh, in particular, has been involved in writing a number of books printed by Craigs about early airlines in New Zealand, reenactment flights and commemorating many of the airline tragedies that marked that history.

15 April 2007

IATA releases Oxera report comparing restrictions facing airlines with other industries

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has just released an 86-page November 2006 report prepared by Oxera Consulting entitled What are the economic impacts of relaxing on product and capital markets restrictions? - lessons from other industries together with an accompanying IATA Economics Briefing on Airline Liberalisation. The other industries looked at are banking, telecommunications, media and energy.

US aspirations for an "open skies" agreement with China

On 13 April 2007 Reuters, Associated Press and Xinhua carried reports on the visit by Secretary for Transportation, Mary Peters, to Beijing during which she outlined a possible timetable for liberalising US-China air services arrangements. This would see a framework deal concluded by May.

13 April 2007

Arab Maghreb Union studying Moroccan "open skies" proposal

Middle East Online carries a 30 March 2007 report that the five countries of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) - Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia - have set up a committee to study a proposal from Morocco for an "open skies" agreement.

Morocco recently concluded a similar agreement with the European Union.

11 April 2007

No result from Japan-United States air services negotiations

Aviation Week in a 9 April 2007 story reports that three days of air services negotiations in Washington DC between Japan and the United States did not reach agreement.

Japan has long been concerned that US airlines hold a disproportionate share of slots at Narita International Airport (NRT) near Tokyo.

10 April 2007

IATA releases latest airline industry forecasts

IATA Economics has recently released the 29 page presentation of its April 2007 set of forecasts for the global airline industry. Of particular interest is the shock risk graph on Slide 10. There is also a 4 page briefing version.

Other freely available global and regional forecasts are published annually by the two major airliner manufacturers, Airbus with its Global Market Forecast and Boeing with its Current Market Outlook. Inevitably they place emphasis on their aircraft sales expectations and of late the forecasts have also been used to further the debate about whether the future lies in operations to and from major hubs with aircraft like the A380 (and B747-8) or point-to-point flying with aircraft like the B787 (and A350).

Here in New Zealand, where almost all visitors arrive by air, official tourism forecasts are produced annually for the Ministry of Tourism by Covec. For better or worse I am a contributor to this annual exercise.

A fishy public transport story from England

The Daily Mail on 9 April 2007 has a report, complete with photos, about a white cat that regularly and unaccompanied uses public transport (the No 331 bus) to visit the local fish and chip shop!

We humans all too often fail to give our feline and canine companions sufficient credit for their intelligence.

09 April 2007

Setback for CERN as Fermilab maths mistake causes explosion

In an 8 April 2007 article the Sunday Times reports on a small explosion on 27 March at CERN in Geneva that has possibly set back by months the multi-billion euro Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project to build an experiment to search for evidence of the Higgs Boson. The cause of the explosion was reportedly a miscalculation by staff at CERN's US rival, Fermilab. Official statements have been made by CERN and Fermilab.

I have been out to the visitor centre, Microcosm, at CERN. It is well worth a look. Ever since studying physics at high school I have retained a fascination for the subject reading popular accounts but thought that my maths skills were not up to taking the subject any further. Maybe they were!

In addition, understanding basic physics is very important for anyone involved in flying.

Spectacular photos of unusual clouds

A 7 April 2007 post on the Thrilling Wonder blog has some spectacular photos of cloud formations, including lenticular clouds and the rare mammatus.

07 April 2007

Government support for South African Airways

A 4 April 2007 article in Business Day, quoting Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin, reports that there are limits to the South African Government's support for its loss-making airline, South African Airways.

On 29 March 2007 Star Alliance member South African Airways announced that it is entering into a code-share arrangement with non-Star Malaysia Airlines.

06 April 2007

Canada-Japan air services arrangements expanded

On 5 February 2007 Canadian Ministers Lawrence Cannon and David Emerson announced that air services negotiations between Canada and Japan concluded on 25 January 2007 had expanded the air services arrangements between the two countries.

UK report on baggage mishandling by airlines

On 4 April 2007 the UK Air Transport Users Council published a 9-page report on every air passenger's nightmare, the mishandling of baggage. The report gives statistics for some of the major airlines serving the UK. Notable airlines that did not submit data included Virgin Atlantic and bmi.

I have personally had a few bags go missing but the airlines concerned have always managed to get them back to me at my hotel within a day.

Japan to open international airline access to regional airports?

In a 31 March 2007 article the Financial Times reports that the Japanese Government is looking at freeing up international airline access to its regional airports in what is being called the Asia Gateway Plan. The article quotes Takumi Nemoto, a special adviser to the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and also reports on the possibility of an air services agreement between Japan and ASEAN.

Australia and the United Kingdom already follow similar policy approaches with respect to access by foreign international airlines to their regional airports. On 17 October 2005 the United Kingdom went as far as inviting fifth freedom services through its regional airports.

Australian air rights aspirations in Europe

Following the recent exchanges of new air rights by Australia with Qatar and separately the United Arab Emirates, Australian Minister of Transport Mark Vaile is quoted in an interview with the Australian reported on 30 March 2007 about Australia's aspirations to expand its air services arrangements with Europe, including increased access to Paris.

Problems with Enforcement of EU Air Passenger Rights

On 4 April 2007 the European Commission (EC) released a 12-page communication (report) on the results and application of the EU air passenger rights regulation, noting in particular problems with low-cost carriers, and announced that it is giving member states another six months to make this legislation work.

A BBC report on this announcement notes the lack of a definition of "delay" in the EU regulation. No definition of "delay" is included in the 1929 Warsaw Convention on international air carrier liability (Article 19 refers) either and when this and subsequent amendments were consolidated in the 1999 Montreal Convention (again Article 19 refers) again no definition of "delay" was included. The same situation exists in Part 9B of the New Zealand Civil Aviation Act 1990 with respect to domestic delay. Back in 2004 the China Daily carried an interesting article on this subject noting the whether or not delay has occurred is generally considered on a case-by-case basis.

A number of countries collect and publish airline delay statistics. In the United States (where the Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Statistics issues a monthly Air Travel Consumer Report) "on time" is defined as within 15 minutes of scheduled time. The Australian Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics uses the same 15 minute definition of "on time" in its reporting. UK punctuality statistics are published by the UK Civil Aviation Authority and this information is also available in a more user-friendly form on the Flightontime.info web site.

On 10 January 2007, following airline industry complaints, the European Ombudsman had criticised certain public information produced by the EC on air passenger rights as being inaccurate and misleading.

01 April 2007

The global air transport network

Having read Mark Buchanan's book "Nexus - Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Science of Networks", I found the academic paper The worldwide air transportation network: Anomalous centrality, community structure, and cities' global roles by R. Guimerà, S. Mossa, A. Turtschi & L. A. N. Amaral, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2005 to be interesting. This research used data from OAG - 500,000 flights between 27,000 pairs of cities scheduled during the first week of November 2000. A non-technical description of the results is also available together with a couple of ranked lists of all the cities in the database.

Note, in particular, the significance - "centrality" - of airports in Anchorage in Alaska and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. Both areas of the world are very much dependent on air transport.

For someone who often takes journeys that involve flying four sectors (the research shows that a traveller can get from any city to any other with an average of 4.4 sectors) it was fascinating to read of the most disconnected places in the world - Mount Pleasant (MPN) in the Falkland Islands and Wasu (WSU) in Papua New Guinea - flying between them required a 15-sector journey!

London Heathrow airport slots and the A380

One consequence of the EU-US "open skies" agreement will be that, with the end of the UK-US Bermuda II agreement, more UK and US airlines will be able to serve routes between London Heathrow (LHR) airport and the United States (other EU airlines will also gain access). A major constraint on this will be the lack of takeoff and landing slots at LHR.

Airport Coordination Ltd, who control slots at LHR, has issued a three-page brief dated 26 March 2007 on the situation. Logically LHR slots may be about to get a whole lot more expensive.

A further dimension to the issue of slot constraints is that the A380 aircraft some major carriers will be seeking to operate into LHR may require greater wake turbulence separation from other aircraft during landing and takeoff thereby reducing hourly runway capacity. In June 2006 ICAO was issuing guidance on this subject. British Airways (BA) Chief Executive Willie Walsh touched on some of the implications of this in a lecture to the Royal Aeronautical Society on 13 November 2006 (Flight International carried a report on this in a short article).

Australia and New Zealand implement mutual recognition of airline safety certification

On 30 March 2007 the Australian and New Zealand Ministers of Transport, Mark Vaile and Annette King, jointly announced that mutual recognition of airline safety certification between Australia and New Zealand had been implemented. This move has been a decade in the making and required legislation changes in Australia and New Zealand. It is particularly significant because under the Single Aviation Market qualifying airlines can operate both eight and ninth freedom cabotage services.

Further details are available on the New Zealand Ministry of Transport web site. An Arrangement (3.34Mb .pdf) between the two governments was signed on 13 February 2007 and an Operational Arrangement between CASA and the New Zealand CAA was signed on 16 March 2007.

A previous statement by Annette King welcoming the passage of the Australian legislation was made on 12 September 2006.

APEC Transport Ministers meet in Adelaide

Unlike their European counterparts, APEC transport ministers do not meet very often. Their 28-30 March 2007 meeting last week in Adelaide, Australia, was only the fifth time that they have got together.

At the end of the meeting a Joint Ministerial Statement was issued.

One of the issues discussed was how to take practical steps to reduce aviation emissions. This featured in a media statement issued by meeting chairman, Mark Vaile, and can in part be seen as a response to European Commission proposal released late last year as to how to address this issue.

One interesting speech delivered at the conference on 30 March 2007 was that by Singapore's Transport Minister, Raymond Lim, covering progress being made within APEC on air services liberalisation.

27 March 2007

Argentina-US air services arrangements to expand

A statement issued by the US State Department announces new air services arrangements initialled by Argentina and the United States at negotiations held on 20-22 March 2007 in Washington DC. It is not "open skies" for passenger services but available capacity would be substantially increased and new route opportunities created.

26 March 2007

Shipping emissions

A 3 March 2007 article in the Guardian by John Vidal headed "CO2 output from shipping twice as much as airlines" points to new research by BP Marine and the German Institute for Physics and Atmosphere about emissions from shipping being higher than previously thought. These studies have attracted the attention of the European Federation for Transport and Environment, a Brussels-based NGO.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) based in London plays a similar role in setting environmental standards to that played by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with respect to aviation and emissions. The European Commission's DG Environment also takes close interest in ship emissions.

Again like aviation, the environmental impact of shipping is being ameliorated as new technology is introduced but it would seem that the growth in cargo volumes is more than offsetting this progress.

24 March 2007

EU position on EC proposal to include international aviation in its emissions trading scheme not yet established

A 22 March 2006 statement from European Union Transport Council President and German Transport Minister, Wolfgang Tiefensee, indicates that the position to be taken by EU member states to what he expects will be "heated" debate at the ICAO Council and September 2007 Assembly has yet to be established.

Media statements on and coverage of the conditional approval of the EU-US "open skies" ATA

Following the unanimous conditional approval on 22 March 2007 by European Union transport ministers of the draft EU-US "open skies" Air Transport Agreement (ATA), statements have been released by:

Media coverage has included that in the Belfast Telegraph, BusinessWeek, the Guardian, the International Herald Tribune and the Times.