In recent years, there has been significant growth in air traffic to and from The Bahamas. As a result, the government has taken proactive steps to support this growth – notably, with upgrades to several of the country's busiest airports. For example, the Nassau Airport Development Company recently commenced a major rehabilitation project at the Lynden Pindling International Airport. This project will, among other things, include an asphalt upgrade to increase the runway's lifespan.
A recent Frankfurt am Main Local Court decision is a useful reminder that in the event of an assertion of claims under the EU Flight Delay Compensation Regulation, the associated booking conditions must be considered when determining claim validity. Ultimately, travellers with access to corporate customer tariffs between their employer and the airline cannot claim compensation if their flight – whether for professional or private purposes – is delayed or cancelled.
The Transportation Security Administration's (TSA's) new Action Plan Programme (APP), which recently went into effect, details an alternative framework for addressing security compliance issues. Rather than relying on traditional, penalty-focused civil enforcement action, the APP focuses on achieving a universally desired outcome – namely, increased aviation security. While the APP could prove beneficial to both the TSA and industry, it raises some areas of concern for airlines and other regulated parties.
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.
In a recent Federal Civil and Commercial Court 2 case, the plaintiffs filed a complaint for damages for a rescheduled flight after a mandatory mediation hearing ended without a settlement. However, the court found that the change of flight schedule had complied with civil aviation and consumer rules. As a result, it rejected the claim and imposed legal costs on the losing party.
It is not unusual for immigration authorities to pursue airlines for infringements of the passenger documentation requirements which travellers must meet in order to enter a country. Argentina is no exception and the Immigration Authority (DNM) has been incentivised to detect passenger documentation infringements and collect fines from air carriers. However, a number of recent decisions regarding the DNM's imposition of fines in such cases could mark a turning point with regard to this issue.
The Federal Court of Justice recently requested a preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice on the question of whether airlines are in principle entitled to choose the currencies in which their air fares are listed. Under EU law, airlines that offer flights departing from EU airports must list passenger fares; however, whether airlines have the right to choose the currencies of said listings required further clarity.
A recent decision from the Ontario Small Claims Court marks the first time that a Canadian court has considered whether EU air passenger rights legislation can be enforced outside Europe. This decision will be of interest to carriers operating flights between Canada and Europe, as it holds that a tariff that does not expressly incorporate the EU Flight Delay Compensation Regulation will not expose a carrier to breach of contract claims brought in Canada for declining to pay compensation under the regulation.
The Federal Court of Justice recently issued a verdict stating that compensation under the EU Flight Delay Compensation Regulation must be offset against compensation claims made under national law that were caused by the same incident. The court's judgment is welcomed, as it prevents passengers from being overcompensated and provides greater legal certainty while balancing the interests of airlines and customers.
A recent Court of Appeal decision regarding a claim of economic duress against an airline reinforced the fundamental importance of ensuring contractual clarity and certainty as a matter of English law. For companies operating in the aviation sector, where there may be an unequal power dynamic, parties will be unable to look to economic duress to undo a lop-sided bargain unless there is some unlawful action or provable bad faith on the part of the party with greater power.
A number of recent aircraft repossession actions have demonstrated that a majority of judges have correctly recognised lessor rights to repossession in the face of apparent lease agreement defaults. However, these decisions have not clearly cited the Cape Town Convention as their basis. The Brazilian judiciary's failure to unify repossession actions against a bankrupt lessee in a single court has meant that some lessors are subject to minority view decisions that can be upheld on appeal.
Further to the Unmanned Vehicles Technology Innovation Experimentation Act, which entered into force on 1 June 2019, a new regulation for drone use under the latest amendment to the Civil Aviation Act will take effect on 31 March 2020. Among other requirements, under the new act, drone operators in Taiwan will need to register with and pass an exam conducted by the Civil Aeronautics Administration to obtain an operator licence.
The US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) recently issued its Iran-Related Civil Aviation Industry Advisory. The advisory seeks to inform the civil aviation industry of potential exposure to US enforcement actions and economic sanctions for engaging in or supporting unauthorised exports to Iran or designated Iranian airlines. While no new restrictions have been announced, the advisory's publication could signal that the OFAC is taking a greater interest in the Iranian aviation sector.
The Small Claims Court recently rejected two passengers' claim that their flight should be considered a cancelled flight under the Aviation Services Law. The case examined whether an airline should pay compensation for a missed connecting flight when passengers book two flights from the same company with a short connection time.
The Supreme Court recently dismissed an appeal against the conviction of an air traffic controller for negligent disruption of public transport. In so doing, the court established a new precedent that allows for criminal prosecution and conviction for operational incidents that result in neither injury nor damage. As this decision makes it difficult for aviation professionals to treat their mistakes as learning opportunities, it is a major step backwards for aviation safety.
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.
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.
The Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security recently announced rules designed to further restrict travel to Cuba, including eliminating a sub-category of authorised travel to Cuba entitled 'people-to-people educational travel'. These changes significantly restrict non-commercial aviation traffic to Cuba going forward for all persons subject to the OFAC's jurisdiction.
In a recent preliminary ruling, the European Court of Justice held that a foreign object such as a screw or nail on an airport runway which damages an aircraft represents an extraordinary circumstance under the EU Flight Delay Compensation Regulation. According to the court, such incidents exempt air carriers from the obligation to pay passengers compensation in the event of denied boarding and flight cancellation or long delays.