Tuesday, 29 April 2014

ViaSat awarded $ 283 million in lawsuit against Space System Loral

ViaSat announced that it was awarded $ 283 million in damages in a lawsuit against Space System Loral (SSL) concerning patent infringement and loss of contract. Loral Space & Communications Inc. has expressed its intention to appeal the judgment.

Satellites to prevent aircraft from disappearing

The disappearance of flight MH 370, also in the light of the AF 440 accident in 2009, has sparked discussions on using satellites to enable continuous aircraft tracking. IATA has announced it will form a study group to study the problem and make recommendations by the end of the year.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Space conferences

A non-comprehensive list of space (law) conferences for 2014:

On traveling to Mars

NASA has released an infographic concerning its path to Mars. However, there has been increasing criticism to NASA’s strategy. At the same, studies suggest that a travel to Mars is an extremely dangerous endeavor, to the extent of being viewed as unethical under current astronaut health standards.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

“Spaceport Body of Knowledge” released

The FAA Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation has released the Body of Knowledge for Spaceport Operations, which is an evolving collection of documents and information aimed at supporting the development of space launch site interoperability and industry best practices. The information has been selected by members of the Body of Knowledge for Spaceport Operations research team, and the database is constructed and maintained by the New Mexico State University Library. 
The FAA Centers of Excellence are partnerships of academia, industry and government with the objective to address current and future challenges for air and space transportation. To learn more about the FAA Center of Excellence for Space Transportation click here.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Upcoming aviation law conferences

A non-exhaustive list of upcoming aviation law conferences:

EU Commission announces improvement of travel services websites after concerted enforcement action

The EU Commission announced that there has been increased compliance with EU law of the websites offering travel services, after a concerted action (“sweep”) of national enforcement bodies took place all over the EU in 2013.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

53rd Session of the UNCOPUOS Legal Subcommittee + ΙΙSL/ECSL Symposium

The fifty-third session of the Legal Subcommittee of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space was held from 24 March to 4 April 2014 at the United Nations Office in Vienna Austria. Plenty of documents, presentations and related resources can be found here.

During the session, on 24 March 2014, the IISL/ECSL Symposium on "Regulatory needs for very small satellites", was hosted. The presentations of the Symposium are available here.

Monday, 14 April 2014

EU Commission to regulate civil RPAS

The EU Commission announced the intention to develop standards on the use in civilian airspace of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), commonly known as “drones”. The standards will include safety, privacy and data protection, security, liability and insurance, and streamlining of Research and Development (R&D).

Saturday, 12 April 2014

CJEU: EU-MS may prohibit charges for the use of cashless payment methods

The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) ruled in its judgment of 9 April 2014 (case C-616/11) that under Directive 2007/64/EC on payment services a Member State (MS) may prohibit charges for cashless payments levied by traders to customers. This ruling entails that EU-MS may, in full accordance with EU law, prohibit airline transaction fees charged to customers (e.g. credit card fees). 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

ICAO Diplomatic Conference adopts amendments to Tokyo Convention to cover unruly passengers

The International Civil Aviation Organization announced that a Diplomatic Conference adopted on 4 April 2014 a Protocol to amend the 1963 Tokyo Convention. The new Protocol addresses the problem of the so called “disruptive” or “unruly” passengers. It contains three main categories of provisions: on jurisdiction, list of offences and in-flight security officers.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

EU Parliament reaches compromise over aviation ETS

On a plenary vote on 3 April 2014 the EU Parliament reached a compromise on the scope of the aviation ETS. The measures will apply only to intra-European flights in the ETS scope. Flights between European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, EEA outermost regions, EEA overseas territories, as well as flights of small aircraft operators are also exempted. The EU-ETS will apply from 2013 to 2016, when an ICAO summit is expected to decide on a global scheme to reduce aviation CO2 emissions. Should ICAO fail to reach an agreement in 2016, the EU ETS will be applied in full scope. The relevant EU legislative procedures will be concluded on 14 April, when the EU Council is expected to formally adopt the new rules.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Judge rejects US law firm’s petitions concerning flight MH 370

The Chicago Tribune has reported that the two petitions filed by the US law firm Ribbeck law against Boeing and Malaysian airlines before the judge of Cook County, Chicago, for preserving evidence concerning flight MH 370 has been rejected as inadmissible. The Judge described the petitions as “improper, baseless motions”.

Aviation criminal law: LH passenger takes stewardess as hostage

A 28 year-old man from Kosovo on board a Lufthansa (LH) flight from Munich to Budapest took a stewardess as hostage with the threat of a razor blade on 1 April. The aircraft returned to Munich airport, where the man was convinced to surrender. No serious injuries occurred.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

NASA suspends cooperation with Russia for non-ISS issues because of Crimean crisis

NASA announced on 2 April the suspension of its cooperation with Russian government representatives, save for issues related to the International Space Station, owing to the “ongoing violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

LH pilot strike and passenger rights

The pilots of the German carrier Lufthansa (LH) are on strike from Wednesday 2 April to Friday 4 April demanding higher wages and better retirement schemes. As a result, about 3.800 flights will be cancelled (see more here). From a legal view, it is worth highlighting a few issues on passenger rights according to EU law in such cases.