Friday, 11 December 2015

Aviation security: Recent regulatory developments in the EU

In response to the ongoing security situation in Europe, a series of regulatory developments has occurred in the EU: the EU Council reached an informal with the EU Parliament on the content of a proposed cybersecurity Directive, which includes aviation; the European Commission presented a proposal for Directive on terrorism, which includes travelling abroad for terrorist purposes; the European Council approved a legislative proposal for a Directive on an EU-wide Passenger Name Records (PNR) system.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Putting things into perspective: Some comments on the US Space Resource and Utilization Act of 2015

On November 25, President Obama signed into law the Space Resource and Utilization Act of 2015. The Act recognizes property rights of US citizens on asteroid resources they have extracted. The Act has been received by both enthusiasm and scepticism regarding its effect on international space law. However, a brief analysis of the situation from a technological, legal and US-domestic perspective reveals that importance of the Act lies mainly in the domestic US politics and economy.    

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Aviation safety: EU Regulation on occurrence reporting enters into force

Since 15 Nov. 2015 the EU Regulation No 376/2014 on the reporting, analysis and follow-up of occurrences in civil aviation has entered into force. The new Regulation’s objective is to ensure that  aviation safety-related information is reported, collected, stored, protected, exchanged, disseminated and analysed. The Regulation enhances EU-wide cooperation and data exchange, while strengthening “just culture”.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

ISS: Developments in the US and worldwide

US Congress passed a bill, which, among others, provides for the extension of US operations in the International Space Station (ISS) until 2024 and introduces the notion of “governmental astronaut”. At the same time, NASA administrator complained to Congress that NASA underfunding made the new deal with Roscosmos on carrying US astronauts with Russian vehicles necessary. New EASA Chief envisages new ISS partners and Bigelow Aerospace attaches its experimental module.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

EASA launches public consultation on new drone rules in Europe… and pilots call for more stringent measures

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has launched a public consultation on the Advance Notice of Proposed Amendment (ANPA) that regards new European rules for operations of all categories of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), widely known as “drones”. Meanwhile, associations of European pilots ask for prompt and strict regulations, to ensure aviation safety. 

Thursday, 16 July 2015

ICAO Council Adopts Core Principles on Consumer Protection

The Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has adopted global core principles on air transport consumer protection. The principles cover three phases of a customer’s experience: before, during and after travel.

Friday, 22 May 2015

EU competition law: Recent developments in aviation

The General Court of the EU dismissed the annulment actions that Niki Luftfahrt GmbH, an Austrian air carrier had brought against the European Commission (EC) decisions that approved the takeover of the Austrian legacy carrier Austrian Airlines by the German carrier Lufthansa.
In addition and in a more general framework, the EC initiated an infringement procedure on the application of the German Minimum Wage law to the transport sector.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

7th Circuit finds direct claims under EU Reg. 261/2004 unenforceable in the US

The US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit found in the case Volodarskiy et al. vs Delta Airlines, Inc. that claims of passengers under the European Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 on passenger rights in cases of flight delay and cancellation are unenforceable in the US, as long as they are not incorporated in the airline’s general terms of carriage. Such claims can only be enforced before the courts of the EU Member States.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Galileo is back on track - On Friday 27, the launch of satellites 7 and 8

Last week, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced that two more satellites for Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation will be launched on 27 March 2015. Galileo satellites 7 and 8 are scheduled to lift off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on top of a Soyuz rocket and they are expected to become operational by mid-2015. This launch, scheduled for late last year, was delayed due to the Soyuz launch anomaly of Galileo satellites 5 and 6 which took place in August 2014.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

RPAS regulation takes off in the EU – The Riga Declaration and the EASA Concept of Operations for Drones

Regulation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), commonly known as “drones”, received a boost in the EU after the issuance of the Riga Declaration, which laid down policy aims on RPAS regulation. A few days later, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced the Concept of Operations on Drones.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

French court awards more than 30 million € compensation over 2009 Yemenia Airlines accident …and highlights few legal issues on international air carrier liability

The French court of first instance (TGI) of Aix-en-Province has awarded damages of over 30 million Euros to the families of 70 passengers, who died at the crash of Yemenia airlines flight IY626 off shore from the Comoros islands on 30 June 2009. This is the second judgment on the case, the first one being rendered by the TGI Bobigny, which awarded about 7 million Euros to the families of three passengers. Some factual and legal parameters of the case are of great interest.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Flight MH370: A few clarifications on the notions of “accident”, “missing aircraft”, “liability” and their legal implications

The Malaysian government has officially declared the disappearance of flight MH370 an “accident” under Annex 13 to the Chicago Convention. It was reported that such statement aims at facilitating compensation of the families of victims. In law, it is not unusual to use the same terms with different meanings in different context. Such is the case of the term “accident” as used in accident and incident investigation, and in airline liability. The above Malaysian declaration causes confusion and raises questions.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

CJEU: The final price of air fares at booking process must be indicated at all times and for each flight shown

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled in its judgment on the case C-573/13 that airline websites must indicate the total price of the air fare at all stages of the booking process. Furthermore, the total price must be displayed for all flights shown on the screen and not only for the selected flight.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Cyprus Airways ceases operations after an order to repay state aid - but is it over?

Last week, Cyprus Airways, the island’s national carrier, was shut down after a European Commission decision ordered the company to repay more than 65 million euros it received in illegal state aid.   On Wednesday, the state’s Council of Ministers approved a proposal tabled by the Ministry of Finance, to proceed with acquiring the services of advisors in order to set up the new airline, which will use the logo and name of Cyprus Airways.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

FAA issues law enforcement guidance for suspected unauthorized UAS operations

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued Guidance for Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA), both state and federal, in relation to Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations. The FAA suggests that LEAs are often in best position to detect, deter and enforce the FAA regulations on UAS operations. The guidance explains briefly the pertinent FAA rules and suggests methods for their enforcement by LEAs. The document serves interagency cooperation, underscoring that the FAA has only administrative authority, yet unauthorized UAS operations might also violate criminal rules under special circumstances.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

U.S. GAO rejects Sierra Nevada’s protest over NASA $6.8 billion space contracts

On January 5, 2015, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), rejected a protest filed by the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) over a NASA contract award to SpaceX and Boeing, to develop crew transportation vehicles to the International Space Station (ISS), under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) Program.

Education campaigns on UAS, to inform users, increase safety… and prevent stricter regulation?

In the days before Christmas, two major education campaigns on the use of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) started in the US and the UK. Although the major goal of such campaigns is to educate users on the legal framework of such flights, they might be part of an effort to avoid stricter regulation.