25 February 2009

Interim Report from BEA into Air New Zealand-owned A320 crash

On 24 February 2009 the French Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses (BEA) released an Interim Report (English version) into the 27 November 2008 A320 crash (see previous post).

On 25 February 2009 Air New Zealand released a media statement NEW commenting on the interim report.

On the same day the New Zealand Herald has an article NEW that includes a report of comments from the New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission NEW (TAIC) and another article NEW that includes comments from the New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association NEW (NZALPA).

24 February 2009

Great circle distances data from CEPII

I have been using great circle distances for some work on both the environmental impact of aviation and to illustrate the growth in and pattern of international air transport to and from New Zealand.

My usual source for this data is Great Circle Mapper. However, recently I came across some data files of geodesic distances produced by the CEPII (a research center in international economics based in Paris, France), primarily for use in trade gravity modelling.

The European Commission's Observatory of the Air Transport Market

A very useful source of information on civil aviation developments is the annual and topical reports produced on aviation for the European Commission. These are described as an Observatory of the Air Transport Market. They give a write up of aviation developments with a focus on developments within Europe but also with the wider global context well covered.

This is one of those cases where there is a trade off between detail and timeliness, with the former winning out in this case. The 222 page Annual Report 2007 was finalised in December 2008.

They were originally produced by the Department of Air Transport at Cranfield University but this is now done by the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

The two 2008 topical reports are on Fuel and Air Transport (completed before the collapse of the oil price "super spike"), and Airline Business Models.

Canada-European Union Air Transport Agreement text

As a consequence of the need to gain Council of the European Union approval, the full texts of the Air Transport Agreement between Canada and the European Community and its Member States, and the related Memorandum of Consultation are now available (see previous post).

The new arrangements are relatively complex, providing for a phase in of "hard" rights dependent on Canada's policy progress on permitting foreign investment in its airlines.

The Agreement is also unusual in that it contains articles on Environment (Article 18) and Labour Matters (Article 19).

22 February 2009

Cost-benefit analysis of aviation security

On 19 February 2009 the Dominion Post reported on a review of domestic aviation security in New Zealand dating from July 2008 that had recently been released to it under the Official Information Act. This review followed the attempted hijacking of a commuter aircraft in which the two pilots were seriously injured.

Commenting on this report and the review, Liberty Scott has posted that what is needed is a full benefit-cost assessment.

What this might involve was the subject of a Round Table on Security, Risk Perception and Cost-Benefit Analysis held by the Paris-based International Transport Forum (ITF) on 11-12 December 2008 at which the following discussion papers were presented:
Separately Bruce Schneier in a 21 July 2008 weblog post points to research by Stewart, from the University of Newcastle in Australia, and Mueller:
I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the flight decks of a number of airliners while on long-haul journeys before increased security sadly made this impossible.

A critical look at rail transport in New Zealand

A 19 February 2009 presentation by Dave Heatley, a research fellow at the New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation takes a critical look at rail transport in New Zealand. It is certainly thought provoking and has generated considerable debate on the frogblog weblog run by the Green Party.

Liberty Scott
has highlighted this presentation in a 19 February 2009 post and summarises what he describes as "some simple myths about rail."

16 February 2009

Singapore reaches "open skies" agreement with Oman

In a media statement on 11 February 2009 the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) announced that Singapore has negotiated an "open skies" type air services agreement with Oman (Straits Times report).

15 February 2009

A thesis covering regional "open skies" arrangements - SAM, MALIAT and PIASA

A collection of theses from students of the internationally renowned Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University in Montreal, Canada is available online.

One that has just attracted my attention is that completed in 2003 by Sean McGonigle for his LLM entitled Comparative regulation of air transport in the Asia-Pacific region.

This thesis focuses on the Australia-New Zealand Single Aviation Market (SAM) Arrangements, the Multilateral Agreement on the Liberalization of International Air Transportation (MALIAT) and the Pacific Islands Air Transport Agreement (PIASA).

Having participated in the negotiation of all three air services arrangements as a member of the New Zealand delegation, I will be interested to read what Sean has to say.

06 February 2009

Air New Zealand ceasing round-the-world freighter service

Air Cargo World has reported that Air New Zealand is to cease its round-the-world B747-400F service (the aircraft has been wet leased from Atlas) from the end of March 2009. The routing of the current service, which started in 2005, is Auckland-Melbourne-Shanghai-Frankfurt-Chicago-Auckland (see previous post).

On 22 January 2009 Qantas announced that it would be routing a once-weekly B747F service from New York and Chicago to Melbourne via Auckland (AKL).

The economic importance of aviation

There have been a number of reports published with the aim of convincing decision makers, opinion leaders and the general public of how significant aviation is now to our economic and social well being. These include:

Oberstar's Airline Anti-Trust Bill

On 3 February 2009 Chairman of the US House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee James Oberstar introduced an Airline Anti Trust Bill H.R. 831 UPDATED (HT to Aviation Law Prof Blog). See GovTrack to follow the progress of this bill which has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

The Bill has already attracted some comment:
Any hearings should be interesting.

One has to wonder what impact this move will have on the already commenced second phase of the EU-US air services negotiations.

The relevant current legislation that give the US Department of Transportation the power to grant anti-trust immunity is contained in sections 41308 and 41309, Title 49, United States Code. New Zealand has similar legislation in Part 9 of the Civil Aviation Act.

Dunedin international air services cut to one per week for winter

On 2 February 2009 Air New Zealand announced that it was also reducing its international flights from Dunedin Airport (DUD) to one per week in June and July (see recent post).

Prime Minister John Key, who is also New Zealand's Tourism Minister, was reported in the Otago Daily Times on 5 February 2009 as saying that he would: "continue to try to work with Air New Zealand on maintaining and re-establishing services."

Note that while Air New Zealand is currently majority government owned it is not a State-Owned Enterprise (SOE). Its shares are traded on the stock exchanges in New Zealand and Australia. As well as majority ownership, the government retains a limited degree of control through the Kiwi Share (see the company's Constitution for details).

For those interested in studying the recent declines in trans-Tasman passenger traffic out of some of New Zealand's provincial airports a good source for trans-Tasman city-pair data is the Australian Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics.

01 February 2009

"Alarming" decline in international air cargo movement

On 29 January 2009 the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that December 2008 saw a massive 22.6% drop in air cargo movement compared with the same period in 2007.

The regional numbers indicate that the sharp drop is global. Although the drop in the Middle East and Africa was smaller, the hardest hit region was Asia/Pacific with a 26% drop.

The Economics team at IATA produces some very good data and commentary on what is currently impacting the global aviation industry. It makes for sobering reading. See, for example:
Note that IATA estimates that 35% of international trade by value moves by air. The percentage for New Zealand is significantly lower, partly a consequence of our geographic isolation and export product mix.

Hamilton to lose Air New Zealand international services

On 30 January 2009 Air New Zealand announced that it is to cease its remaining international air services from Hamilton Airport (HLZ) on 25 April 2009.

In commenting on the decision to the NZ Herald Glen Sowry from Air New Zealand noted that a factor for the declining business has been the improved road link to Auckland. A new interchange at Manukau City that will make road travel to Auckland International Airport from the south even quicker is currently under construction. The new government is committed to further extending the Waikato Expressway.

International air services from Hamilton were inaugurated in 1994 by Kiwi Travel Air Charters (it subsequently became Kiwi Travel International Airlines before ceasing services in 1996).

Air New Zealand withdrew international services from Palmerston North Airport (PMR) in 2008.