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.