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.
The Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) was one of the first EU aviation authorities to develop national rules to regulate remote-piloted aircraft systems. Pending the EU Basic Regulation's implementation, ENAC has announced the adoption of interim measures and a revision of the existing Italian regulations to align the national legal framework with the implementing acts that the EU Commission will introduce.
The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) recently ordered Irish carrier Ryanair and Hungarian carrier Wizz Air to suspend the implementation of a new hand baggage policy that would have charged passengers extra for bringing a standard-sized trolley on board flights. Both airlines successfully challenged the AGCM's decision before the Lazio Regional Administrative Court, which suspended the AGCM decisions by way of precautionary measures.
Alitalia is a leading Italian airline that has faced financial difficulties and related restructuring projects. Following the government's extension of the deadline for completion of the sale of Alitalia, three prospective investors have presented more structured offers. This run of offers represents a step forward in the sale of Alitalia's business, even if negotiations must still be carried out over the next few months.
The Rome Division of the Tax Commission recently ordered the full refund of debit notes issued by the Lazio region to a foreign carrier for payment of the tax on aircraft noise pursuant to Regional Law 2/2013. The Tax Commission stated that the carrier had not breached EU Directive 2002/30/EC. Accordingly, it cancelled the debit notes issued by the Lazio region to the foreign carrier and ordered a complete refund of the tax paid by the carrier under the tax on aircraft noise.
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.
The Civil Aviation (Security) Regulations 2019 (Security Regulations) recently entered into force. Among other things, the regulations have established new aviation security authorities, implemented national security programmes and introduced new security and screening controls. Passengers, operators (including aerodrome operators), ground handlers and other persons who fail to comply with the Security Regulations could face a fine of up to RM200,000 or up to five years' imprisonment (or both).
A Bangladeshi man was recently caught committing lewd acts on a flight departing from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It is unclear whether the criminal laws in Malaysia could apply in this case, as available news reports have not yet provided sufficient information. However, assuming that Malaysian criminal laws apply, the man's curious actions may contravene several Malaysian statutes, including the Penal Code.
The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) Act 2015 enables MAVCOM to serve as the economic regulator for civil aviation in Malaysia, with the goal of promoting a commercially viable, consumer-oriented and resilient civil aviation industry which supports the nation's economic growth. The first amendment to the act recently came into force. Among other things, it makes changes to the definition of 'air traffic right', expands MAVCOM's powers and imposes financial penalties.
As air travel becomes more accessible to the public, especially with the proliferation of low-cost travel options, the issue of safeguarding consumers' interests has attracted increasing attention. The government has chosen to regulate airline service standards by introducing the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code. The code aims to strike the right balance between protecting passengers and industry competitiveness.
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.
Over the last few years, the government has sought to promote the development of the aviation sector through the introduction of legal and administrative infrastructure modelled on the common law system and international conventions, including the adoption of the Cape Town Convention, the creation of a dynamic aircraft and mortgage register and the introduction of comprehensive laws on trust.
In response to the recommendations of a legal group commissioned by the Ministry for Infrastructure, Transport and Communications, the Maltese government is proposing to ratify and implement the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the Aircraft Protocol thereto. Ratification of the convention will go some way towards making Malta a more attractive jurisdiction for aircraft registration.
Emulating the success of its Shipping Register, Malta is committed to establishing itself as a leading jurisdiction for aircraft registration. Plans were recently announced to reform the local regulatory framework and develop the registration of aircraft into a niche sector, with the potential of spearheading the creation of a cluster of aviation services.
The Nigerian aviation industry plays a key role in the country's transport system and overall economy. Thus, it is exasperating that air passengers still encounter numerous challenges, such as delays or cancellations of scheduled flights and lost, stolen or delayed baggage. Although existing laws and regulations govern passenger rights, key issues concern the level of passenger awareness regarding such rights and the inadequate enforcement of the laws and regulations.
As a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Nigeria must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from both domestic and international aviation. To demonstrate its commitment in this regard, Nigeria has developed an action plan to reduce aircraft emissions and implement the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. Further, it intends to explore regulatory measures to reduce its aircraft emissions.
For the aviation sector to generate more income, the government must address a number of challenges to maximise the sector's full potential. Such challenges include compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation global standards, the difficulties experienced by aviation stakeholders wanting to access funds or ensure financing for the modernisation and expansion of their infrastructure, the slow implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision and Nigeria's requisite skill shortages.
For the Nigerian aviation industry 2018 began on a relatively high note. In 2017 the sector experienced a number of milestones which should serve as leverage for building success as the country becomes an air travel hub in West Africa. These developments include the country's increased ranking in the Level 3 State Safety Programme Implementation Process, the International Civil Aviation Organisation certification of two airports and the signing of the Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria.
It is important that the safety and security standards adopted in the Nigerian aviation sector be given proper attention to ensure the protection and safeguarding of all stakeholders against acts of unlawful interference or other threats. However, aviation security in Nigeria is fraught with challenges and this has brought about recent deliberations from the government, regulators, the aviation industry and the public.