26 April 2009

GAO provides an update on the recession's impact on US commercial aviation

In April 2009 the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a 58-page report entitled Commercial Aviation - Airline industry contraction due to volatile fuel prices and falling demand affects airports, passenger and Federal Government revenues.

ICAO Diplomatic Conference looking to replace Rome Convention 1952

A diplomatic conference being held at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal from 20 April to 2 May 2009 is examining the legal issue of compensation caused by aircraft to third parties from acts of unlawful interference or from general risks.

The two draft conventions being considered are intended to replace the Rome Convention 1952 and the Montreal Protocol 1978. Information on parties to these treaties is available from ICAO here. They have not been that widely adopted, with the main treaty having 49 parties and the protocol only 12 parties.

Neither Australia nor New Zealand are parties to the Rome Convention. In New Zealand this area of law is covered by an accident compensation scheme and s.97 of the Civil Aviation Act. In Australia the relevant law is the Damage by Aircraft Act 1999. Australia and Canada were parties to the Rome Convention but withdrew.

New arrangements for air services between Italy and Taiwan

Reports dated 22 April 2009 in the China Post and Taipei Times carry news from the Taiwan Civil Aeronautics Administration that new arrangements negotiated with Italy provided for new air routes, additional capacity and dual designation of airlines.

Japan opens up to Canada in air rights deal

On 9 April 2009 Canadian Ministers announced the conclusion of new bilateral air services arrangements with Japan that will allow Canadian airlines unlimited access to airports outside of the Tokyo area and limited access to Haneda airport.

Singapore and Malaysia agree on new air routes and increased capacity

On 14 April 2009 the Singapore Ministry of Transport announced that Malaysia and Singapore had agreed to new routes and increased frequency of air services opportunities for the airlines of their two countries under their bilateral air services agreement.

This followed an earlier 6 October 2008 announcement about the outcome of negotiations that created opportunities for the low-cost carriers of the two countries on three East Malaysia-Singapore routes.

Options for extending domestic aviation security in New Zealand released

On 23 April 2009 the New Zealand Minister of Transport, Hon Steven Joyce, released a statement (including questions and answers) and a summary report of a domestic aviation security review that includes options for extending the screening of passengers on domestic flights by the Aviation Security Service to additional airports (see previous post).

No decision has yet been made by the New Zealand Cabinet.

Kuwait signs "open skies" agreements with Thailand and Brunei

On 22 February 2009 the Thai News Agency reported that Thailand had signed an "open skies" air services agreement with Kuwait.

On 14 April 2009 the Brunei Times reported that Brunei had signed an "open skies" air services agreement with Kuwait.

These moves follow the signing of "open skies" agreements between Kuwait and separately Singapore (see previous post), Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar last year (see 9 September 2008 report from Peanuts!).

Fiji negotiates air services arrangements with Hong Kong

The interim Fiji Government announced on 22 April 2009 that it has signed a Confidential Memorandum of Understanding with Hong Kong. This included the initialling of an Air Services Agreement (ASA).

Air Pacific
(FJ), part owned by oneworld alliance member Qantas, is now planning to commence air services between Nadi and Hong Kong in December 2009. The announcement imples that Air Pacific will look to enter into a commercial arrangements with Cathay Pacific, also a member of oneworld.

Fijilive reported on 2 April 2009 that Air Pacific is exploring the possibility of codesharing on Noumea-based Aircalin after recently ceasing operating to Japan. This would require amending the Fiji-Japan ASA to allow for third-country code share and an intermediate point in Noumea.