Friday, December 29, 2006

Ryanair loses battle with online critic

Discount airline Ryanair Holdings PLC has lost its battle to win control of an Internet domain name from a disgruntled former customer, according to a ruling issued by a United Nations panel Wednesday. Michael Coulston of London set up a website critical of Ryanair's business practices in July under the domain name The Irish carrier complained to the World Intellectual Property Organization that the domain name infringed on its trademarks and should therefore be transferred into Ryanair's possession. But a WIPO panel said there was no evidence that Coulston, who runs a private online campaign aimed at informing Ryanair customers of ways in which they can complain to the company about its service, was using the domain name in bad faith. Ryanair had previously succeeded in forcing Coulston to hand over another domain name,, by lodging a complaint with Nominet UK, an organization responsible for web domains ending in the .UK suffix.


US low-cost carrier accused of letting passenger die

A widow has filed a wrongful death suit against JetBlue Airways, charging the popular low-cost carrier ignored her husband as he was suffering a fatal heart attack during a flight. In her suit filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of her late husband, she claims “After the plane landed, JetBlue’s employees or agents determined that he was unresponsive, but nonetheless fully deplaned the aircraft before providing any assistance, calling for aid or attempting to resuscitate him". Jenny Dervin, spokeswoman for New York-based JetBlue, said the airline’s legal department has not seen the complaint.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

"European Commission invokes safeguard clause against Bulgaria on aviation safety"

As stated by the EU Press Room, "The European Commission decided today to partially exclude Bulgaria from the benefit of the internal aviation market. Following an inspection performed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) earlier this month, the Commission considers that there is a considerable risk that Bulgaria will not be able to ensure full compliance with the Community rules on aviation safety and on the internal aviation market. Therefore a safeguard clause based on the Act of Accession is invoked, in order to ensure the proper functioning of the EU air transport market and to guarantee the highest level of safety to EU citizens."

This Press Release is available in full text.

UK: hostess sues airline for religious discrimination

An hostess of British Midland was prevented to take the bible on board of flights to Saudi Arabia. She is reported to have now sued the airline because she considers having been victim of an "unacceptable religious discrimination". The airline stated it has only followed indications given by the British Foreign Office not to take to Saudi Arabia "drugs, alcohol, pork products and religious books except the Koran".


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

USA: airport workers facing daily screening?

Some lawmakers want all of the nearly 1 million workers to be screened when they arrive on the job each day. The federal government has stepped up scrutiny amid worries that the workers could use their insider jobs to help terrorists plan attacks. Lawmakers say their concern doesn't stem from a specific plot but rather recent arrests that point to potential holes in security. The plan could create massive lines at airports without improving security, some airport officials say.

Source: Full stories here and here.

Spain: airline in crisis

Air Madrid has suspended all of its flights leaving thousands of passengers stranded over Christmas.It is reported between 200,000 and 300,000 passengers could be abandoned as a result of the airline's action. Its main destinations are Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo and Mexico. The independent carrier is blaming its actions on a development ministry threat to suspend its licence. The budget airline said ticket sales had fallen dramatically since the announcement from the development ministry and suppliers had refused it credit. The ministry said that Air Madrid had not fully carried out an action plan to cut delays, saying it would have to present new information to support its case to keep flying.

Read more here.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Brithish passengers want to travel and protect the environment

According to UK government sponsored research, British passengers want to be able to travel the world but are acutely aware of the environmental effects of commercial flying. Increasingly aware that air travel causes environmental damage, they still want to fly without too many restrictions and are willing to pay for mitigating the climate change effects.


Restrictive clauses on conveyance of certain goods in checked air baggage invalid

German Supreme Court (BGH) found two clauses invalid whereby an airline tried to interdict conveyance of breakable or perishable goods, computers and other electronic devices, jewellery, valuables, cash money, business papers and commercial samples in checked baggage and to restrict its liabilty to intent or gross negligence, even if goods were carried in knowledge of the airline. BGH found these clauses inconsistent with the mandatory rules of Art. 17 of the Montreal Convention and therefore invalid (BGH 05.12.2006, X ZR 165/03)

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

UNTWO - Sixty years serving world tourism

UNWTO celebrates the 60th anniversary of the existence of an organization at the service of world tourism, and 30 years of its presence in Madrid. Thanks to the conversion, in October 2003, into an agency of the first rank within the United Nations system, the UNWTO now enjoys recognition at the highest level as well as increased visibility.

Read more here.

ATA alerts passengers to new US passport requirements

The Air Transport Association (ATA), the industry trade organization representing leading U.S. airlines, today reminded passengers of new and more restrictive travel document policies set to take effect in early 2007 for all travelers entering or re-entering the United States by air from any part of the Western Hemisphere.
Beginning Jan. 23, 2007, all travelers will be required to present a passport to enter or re-enter the United States, including U.S. citizens returning to the U.S. by air from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda.

Find the details here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Combat global warming by "Carbon Offsetting"

A personal carbon offset facility has been devised by Climate Care. Air passengers can use an online calculator on their web site, , to determine their share of the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during their flight, and convert that to a cash amount that they can pay towards schemes that combat global warming, such as planting trees or providing low-energy means of heating and lighting.

"Single European sky: Commission takes Greece to the Court of Justice"

As stated by the EU Press Room, "The European Commission decided today to refer Greece to the European Court of Justice for failure to respect EU legislation on the establishment of a national supervisory authority in the context of the single European sky.
The single European sky framework regulation [1] entered into force in April 2004. It separates the provision of air navigation services on the one hand and the supervision and regulation of these services on the other hand. Member States are required to create or establish an independent national supervisory authority to assume the different tasks identified in EU-legislation including the certification of air navigation service providers and the on-going compliance oversight. Up to now, Greece has failed to fully establish an independent authority.
The Commission sent two reasoned opinions to Greece in December 2005 (IP/05/1609) and in June 2006 without receiving satisfactory replies.
Further Information on the single European sky, and in particular on national supervisory authorities is available on:

[1] Regulation (EC) No 549/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2004 laying down the framework for the creation of the single European sky (OJ L 96, 31.03.2004, p. 1)"

Court of Justice Finds Distribution of a Signal by Means of TV Sets by a Hotel to its Customers Protected by Copyright

The SGAE (the body responsible for the management of intellectual property rights in Spain) took the view that the use of television sets and the playing of ambient music within the hotel owned by Rafael Hotels SA involved communication to the public of works belonging to the repertoire which it manages. Considering that those acts gave rise to breach of copyright, SGAE brought an action before the Spanish courts. The Audiencia Provincial (Provincial Court) of Barcelona referred the matter to the Court of Justice. In the decision of 7th Dec. 2006 (Case C-306/05), the Court pointed out, that the concept of ‘communication to the public’ had to be interpreted broadly in order to achieve the principal objective of the directive, that is to establish a high level of protection in favour, amongst others, of authors, allowing them to obtain an appropriate reward for the use of their works, in particular when these were communicated to the public. It was necessary to take into account the fact that, usually, hotel customers quickly succeed each other. As a general rule, a fairly large number of persons are involved, so that they may be considered to be a public, having regard to the principal objective of the directive. Therefore, if, by means of television sets thus installed, the hotel distributed the signal to customers staying in its rooms or present in any other area of the hotel, a communication to the public took place, irrespective of the technique used to transmit the signal. The private or public nature of the place where the communication takes place was immaterial.
Source: ECJ Press Release 95/06,

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

UK: Air Passenger Tax Increase

The UK government’s move to double the tax on air passenger tickets has been greeted with almost universal dismay by the industry and environmental campaigners alike. The tax on economy short-haul flights from the UK goes up from £5 to £10, and on long-haul from £20 to £40. The taxes on premium tickets are also doubled. The increases will appear on tickets from February 2007.

Read more here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"Single European Sky: Commission harmonises air navigation service charges"

As stated by the EU Press Room, "The European Commission has adopted today a Regulation on a common charging scheme for air navigation services. The new charging system regulates which costs are eligible and how users will be charged for air navigation services. The regulation will apply as of 1 January 2007 . Building on the current international system, the harmonised system will contribute to achieving greater transparency and encourage the safe and effective provision of air navigation services.
Vice-President Jacques Barrot, Commissioner in charge of transport said: 'The development of a common charging scheme for air navigation services is another major step in creating the Single European Sky. The new rules provide that charging policy shall be established in consultation with airspace users. This will ensure that the charges levied are fair, transparent and reflect the real cost of services', he added."

This Press Release is available in full text.

EU-Survey: only 23% aware of their protection abroad

Due to a Council Decision of 1995 EU nationals in trouble abroad can get help from the diplomatic offices of any other EU country, if theirs has no local representation - a fact known by less than a third of EU citizens. They can expect to be treated as a national of that country. This is important as only three countries outside the EU host representations from all 25 EU members: Russia, China and the US.
However, a recent survey showed that only very few travellers know about their right to protection.

More information here.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"South Americans need no visas for region"

According to the Associated Press, "Nationals from all 12 South American nations will soon be able to travel freely throughout their region without needing visas, a regional foreign ministers summit in Chile has agreed.
The decision exempts the visa requirement for nationals from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The decision 'represents a step in our efforts to eliminate our traditional divisions,' said Chilean Foreign Minister Alejandro Foxley who inaugurated the daylong conference. The visa exemption is expected to become effective within 90 days. Regional integration is the main subject in the ministers' agenda."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Switzerland joins European Aviation Safety Agency

Switzerland today officially became a member of the European Aviation Safety Agency. It is the fourth non-EU country to adopt European Union aviation safety legislation after Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Patrick Goudou, Executive Director of the Agency, said: “I welcome Switzerland’s membership. It is an important step towards a more integrated safety system in Europe and underlines the key role of the Agency in this system”.

The four non-EU countries are represented in the Agency’s Management Board and nationals of these countries are eligible to work for the Agency.

Source: EASA-Press release 2006-11-30.

UK: Travel industry urged to adress aviation's climate threat

Environment campaigners Friends of the Earth called on the travel industry to wake up to the threat posed by climate change and do more to reduce the environmental impact caused by the growth in aviation. Aviation can continue to be an important part of the travel sector, but the growth expected in the coming years is not compatible with protecting climatic stability.

Friends of the Earth is calling on ABTA members to promote rail over other transport for short-haul journeys, end support for an expansion in UK airports and raise awareness about the environmental benefits of holidays that avoid long distance travel.

Further details here.

Switzerland joins European Aviation Safety Agency

Switzerland today officially became a member of the European Aviation Safety Agency. It is the fourth non-EU country to adopt European Union aviation safety legislation after Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Patrick Goudou, Executive Director of the Agency, said: “I welcome Switzerland’s membership. It is an important step towards a more integrated safety system in Europe and underlines the key role of the Agency in this system”. The four non-EU countries are represented in the Agency’s Management Board and nationals of these countries are eligible to work for the Agency.
Source: EASA-Press release 2006-11-30

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

The Anthony G. Marshall Hospitality Law Award

"HOUSTON – is proud to announce the following nominees for the Anthony G. Marshall Hospitality Law Award:

  • Jim Butler - Chairman, Global Hospitality Group of Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro
  • Madeleine Kleiner - Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Hilton Hotels Corporation
  • Andria Ryan - Partner, Fisher & Phillips
  • Irv Sandman - Shareholder, Graham & Dunn, P.C.
  • Arch Stokes - Shareholder and Executive Director, Shea Stokes & Carter
  • Stephen Barth - Professor of Hospitality Law and Leadership, Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management

The Anthony G. Marshall Award honoree will be announced on February 8, 2007, during the two-day Fifth Annual Hospitality Law Conference in Houston, Texas.
Each year at the Annual Hospitality Law Conference, the Marshall Award is given to someone who has made pioneering and lasting contributions to the field of hospitality law. In presenting the award, the selection board seeks to recognize someone who exemplifies Mr. Marshall's commitment to hospitality law. This will be the third year the Award will be presented.
Anthony Marshall himself received the Award the first year, with Banks Brown, General Counsel to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Hotel Association of New York City and the Travel Business Roundtable, receiving the Award at last year's Conference.

For more information, please contact Jeanie Gibbs at 713-963-8800 or at"