30 March 2008

EU-US "open skies" comes into effect

The "open skies" Air Transport Agreement between the European Union and the United States comes into effect today, replacing 21 bilateral agreements. This comes just after the opening of the new Terminal 5 at London Heathrow (LHR), the airport that will be the focus of new competition.

Media statements have been issued by the European Commission and US Department of State. Media coverage includes that by USA Today and the BBC. A story in the International Herald Tribune looks towards the next stage in the negotiations.

This is a historic day for international aviation (see previous post on its signing).

Australia adopting the Montreal Convention on air carrier liability

On 20 March 2008 the Civil Aviation Legislation Amendment (1999 Montreal Convention and Other Measures) Bill 2008, that will allow Australia to ratify the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (the Montreal Convention 1999) was introduced into the Australian Federal Parliament. The Montreal Convention covers air carrier liability and Australia will be the last OECD country to do so. The Australian Department of Infrastructure has a good page on the subject with links to details of what is happening.

This action is of considerable significance for New Zealand as the trans-Tasman air transport market is our largest. New Zealand ratified the Convention on 18 November 2002. The relevant part of the Civil Aviation Act 1990 came into effect on 4 November 2003. The New Zealand National Interest Analysis of this treaty is available here.

The liability regime is a matter of private international law.

Wellington regional river flows

It has been a very dry summer here in the Wellington region with little rainfall. So much so that we can now only water our gardens with a hand-held hose every second day. For us this has caused some real difficulty as we are trying to get a new lawn established. We now have some brown patches that will need to be reseeded.

This weekend, however, we are enjoying steady rain and river flows in the east of region where we live are rapidly rising.

23 March 2008

Korea and Macau open up new air routes

The Macau Daily Times reported on 28 February 2008 that Macau and Korea have agreed to amendments in their air services arrangements that will, among other things, see airlines from Macau permitted to operate to any point in South Korea.

United States negotiates 91st "Open Skies" partnership - with Croatia

The US Secretary of Transportation, Mary Peters, announced on 13 March 2008 that, after two days of negotiations in Zagreb, the United States had reached an "open skies' agreement with Croatia.

Canada and Barbados reach "Open Skies" agreement

On 4 March 2008 Canadian Ministers Cannon and Emerson announced that Canada had reached an "Open Skies-type" air transport agreement with Barbados.

Singapore concludes "Open Skies" agreement with Portugal

On 4 March 2008 the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) announced that Singapore had concluded an open skies agreement with Portugal following air services negotiations held in Lisbon on 26-27 February 2008. The agreement will become fully effective in 2010.

Singapore now states that it has open skies relationships with more than 25 countries, including 14 in the European Union.

India and China exchange fifth freedom rights

On 20 March 2008 India announced that, following negotiations in New Delhi on 19-20 March 2008, India and China reached an understanding exchanging fifth freedom rights.

The Economic Times reported on 21 March 2008 that this will allow Jet Airways to operate beyond Shanghai to San Francisco.

India and Pakistan negotiate an air routes and capacity expansion

On 15 February 2008 Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced details of new air services arrangements with India. This followed talks in Islamabad. Capacity is increased from 12 to 28 flights per week for each side, Indian carriers may now serve Islamabad and Pakistani carriers Chennai. The new arrangements also move from restricting each side to one airline to allowing each side to designate up to three airlines.

Australia and Malaysia expand available capacity for their airlines

The Australian Minister for Infrastructure, Hon Anthony Albanese, announced on 7 March 2008 that Australia has negotiated a phased increase in seat capacity with Malaysia.

One beneficiary of this should be Air Asia X, which commenced services to the Gold Coast (OOL) on 2 November 2007, and is understood to be planning to serve additional points in Australia.

New Zealand has had a bilateral "open skies" agreement with Malaysia since 1998.