The Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) recently approved a new drone regulation which will ease the transition to the EU Basic Regulation. Although EU legislation has already outlined a clear picture of the rules that will be definitively operational in the next few years, ENAC's regulation aims to safeguard the prerogatives and rights acquired by operators in the period before the EU drone legislation enters into force.
The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) recently published a report on the Italian air transport market, focusing on the developments that would occur if more efficient conditions were introduced. According to IATA, civil aviation is competitive in terms of air transport support, but airport and passenger ticket taxes make Italy the seventh most expensive country at the continental level. This is having an adverse effect on Italy's attractiveness as a location for both business and tourism.
The Administrative Court of Lazio (TAR) recently upheld Wizz Air's challenge and cancelled fines that had been imposed by the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) on the airline for its hand baggage policy. The policy provided that only a small piece of hand luggage to be stored under the seat was allowed on board flights free of charge, while a fee had to be paid for larger pieces of hand luggage.
Due to the continued increase in the number of commercial flights and the resulting growth of passenger compensation claims under the EU Flight Delay Compensation Regulation, Ryanair and Codacons (the largest Italian consumer association) recently signed a valuable partnership agreement which will see them cooperate to settle claims made under the regulation by Italian passengers through alternative dispute resolution.
The Administrative Supreme Court recently ruled on the operation of night-time flights for civil purposes over Italian national territory, issuing a milestone decision that put an end to a 20-year regulatory dispute. The decision means that Italian airports now have parity with those located in other EU member states and has removed the negative effect that the ban had had on competition.
Malaysia's International Aviation Safety Assessment air safety rating was recently downgraded from Category 1 to Category 2 by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). As a result, all Malaysian airlines are now restricted from adding new flights to the United States, although existing flights will be allowed to continue under heightened FAA surveillance and checks. The downgrade also means that reciprocal code-sharing arrangements between US and Malaysian airlines are no longer permitted.
The Malaysian Aviation Commission Protection Code 2016 was recently amended. The amendments, which considered feedback from consumers and consultations with industry players, aim to promote greater transparency and fairness in dealings between airlines and passengers, which should allow consumers to enjoy monetary savings and make more informed decisions.
The Malaysian Aviation Commission recently imposed RM200,000 fines on two airline operators for charging credit card, debit card and online banking processing fees separately from their base fares in breach of the Aviation Consumer Protection Code. The commission also issued a RM1.179 million fine to airport operator Malaysian Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd for failing to meet several service level requirements regarding airport users under the Implementation of the Airports Quality of Service Framework Directive.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court recently granted summary judgment for a combined sum exceeding RM40 million for outstanding passenger service charges. In coming to this decision, the court dealt with the jurisdiction of the nation's aviation regulator to resolve disputes between aviation service providers prescribed under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court recently dismissed a judicial review leave application brought by AirAsia Berhad and AirAsia X Berhad (collectively, AirAsia) against the Malaysian Aviation Commission, with Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd being named as the second respondent. AirAsia argued that the passenger service charge rates prescribed in the regulations were ceiling rates rather than fixed rates and, as such, AirAsia was not required to pay the revised amount.
If the Maldives ratifies the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the Aircraft Equipment Protocol 2001, it is likely to have a direct and positive effect on airlines, passengers and the Maldives economy as a whole. For example, if borrowing costs reduce, this would pave the way for the acquisition of new modern aircraft with less fuel consumption – ultimately enabling airlines to pass on the benefits to passengers in the form of reduced travel costs.
Since Maldivian law contains no compulsory terms and conditions for domestic air carriage, air carriers are free to determine the conditions of carriage. As long as such terms do not violate any other Maldivian laws, they are valid and binding between passengers and consignees. Therefore, it is essential for passengers and consignees to understand the conditions of carriage and their rights in case of an accident, damage or loss of passengers or cargo.
The Constitution provides that any international treaty to which the Maldives becomes a party will be enforced only on Parliament's approval and in accordance with any conditions of such approval. Among others, the Maldives has ratified the Convention on International Civil Aviation and the Convention on the International Recognition of Rights in Aircraft. Further, there have been talks about implementing legislation to govern the rights of domestic air passengers.
Recent amendments to the Civil Code concerning contracts of lease have bolstered the rights of lessors of aircraft such that they are now not materially different to those granted to the holders of security interests in terms of the Cape Town Convention. Aircraft leases are now akin to security interests and grant important rights and remedies to lessors and financiers. The changes better reflect the commercial realities underlying the aircraft lease relationship and should continue to improve Malta's legislative framework in this area.
While the rights of third-party owners of installed engines were recognised prior to amendments introduced in 2016, the protection of those rights was subject to serious procedural limitations which came to light in several related cases. Following the decisions in these cases, the law was amended so that it is now provided that the court seized with the acts of a warrant of arrest of an aircraft will also be competent to hear an application by the owner of an installed engine which does not belong to the aircraft owner.
The Amsterdam Court of Appeal recently denied jurisdiction against an airline and its ground-handling agent in a case concerning a claim for loss of cargo from the agent's premises at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The judgment is relevant for claimants seeking to bring a case against air carriers and their ground-handling agents before the court of the place of destination under Article 33 of the Montreal Convention 1999.