Thursday, November 27, 2008

Germany: consumer liable for false click in online booking

Plaintiff wanted to do an online booking of 4 tickets for a flight from Stuttgart (Germany) to San Jose (California). By mistake he clicked San Jose (Costa Rica) as destination of his flight. As the booking confirmation he received just showed "San Jose" without specifying a country, he only realized his mistake when checking in at Stuttgart airport. To get to San Jose (California) he had to purchase another 4 tickets at EUR 9.037. Back home he sued the operator of the online booking portal for compensation. The Court (Landesgericht Müchnen I) dismissed the claim: there was no obligation to advise the consumer of the existence of similar named destinations in different countries. Who takes the advantages of online booking also had to take the risk of a false click.

As no appeal was filed, the decision (LG München I 17.06.2008, 34 O 1300/08) became final.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

UK: government to raise air passenger tax

According to a pre-budget report by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), U.K.'s air passenger duty for coach travelers flying from the United States will increase from 40 to 45 British pounds (from about $60 to $68) late next year. HMRC proposes even larger increases for the following year -- a 60-pound charge for transatlantic coach travelers and 120 for passengers in premium classes.

The Air Transport Association (ATA), a trade organization representing US airlines, and the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) critizise the tax increases and are concerned about a negative effect on demand.

Source: Travel Weekly; find article here>>.

The pre-budget report on air passenger duty is availabale for download in pdf here>>.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Austrian Supreme Court: Republic liable for unjustified dismissal of airline employee

Plaintiff, an Egypt born Austrian citizen, was employed at an airline's catering division. His field of work included the preparation of snacks for the airline's passengers which he did for more than two years without any complaint when suddenly the Austrian Federal Minsitry for Transport, Innovation and Technology called the airport operating company and requested them to deprive plaintiff of his airport identity card: due to information by the national counter-terrorist department he would have to be regarded a servere security risk. As he was not allowed to enter the catering area any more without the identity card, the arline released him.

He sued the Austrian Republic for damages and succeeded in all three instances as the Ministry failed to produce any evidence of his alledged rsikiness. They only referred to an obligation of secrecy in this regard and didn't grant plaintiff access to their records. Austrian Supreme Court (OGH) upheld the lower instances' decision that the Republic was under obligation of proof which they failed to fulfill. The Republic was therefore held liable for all damages resulting from the unjustified dismissal.

The Supreme Court decision (1 Ob 225/07f of 30.09.2008) is available for download in German here>>.

The case is an example the sometimes absurd excrescences of the "war against terror" after 9/11.

Monday, November 24, 2008

European Union: Airline Blacklist updated

On Nov. 14th the European Commission updated the list of airlines banned within the EU for safety reasons. New on the list is Cambodian Siam Reap Airlines International. The ban of TAAG Angola Airlines has been extended to all Angolan airlines.

The updated list is available for download here>>.

Friday, November 21, 2008

UNWTO Future Vision: Tourism Towards 2030

UNWTO launches its new long-term research programme UNWTO Future Vision: Tourism Towards 2030. The study will forecast international tourism growth through the year 2030 and identify key actual and future trends and their impact on tourism development. It will combine industry data with the views of UNWTO members, tourism practitioners, trends experts and academics around the world. This initiative will update the previous Tourism 2020 Vision, which has become the definitive global reference on the future of tourism.

Source: UNWTO press release; read full text here>>.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

USA: Federal Aviation Adminstration demands safety checks on Boeing 737s

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an emergency safety mandate to check fuel pumps on more than 560 Boeing Co 737 airliners flown by U.S. airlines. Faulty fuel pumps could result in fire or explosions. As aircrafts are not expected to be grounded for the checks, flights should not be disrupted.

Source: Reuters; find article here>>.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kenya: hapless implementation of Civila Aviation Regulation

Three months after the new Kenya Civil Aviation Regulations (KCAR) were enacted despite objections from stakeholders, the first problems appear in their implementation. As stakeholders had feared, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) staff are overstrained enforcing overly detailed and disorganized regulations.

Formerly routine paperwork has changed to in depth scrutiny as overburdened inspectors and employees turn into sticklers for red tape, trying to adhere to performance contracts and avoid mistakes.

Source: eTurboNews; find article here>>.

Kenya Civila Aviation Regulations (KCAR) availabe for download in pdf here>>.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

USA: Department of Homeland Security advises against unauthorized Visa Waiver websites

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has warned that unauthorized third parties have established websites seeking to charge Visa Waiver Program travelers for electronic travel authorization. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables eligible citizens or nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) becomes a mandatory program on Jan. 12. The system purports to verify whether travelers from VWP nations pose a law enforcement or security risk. Travelers fill out applications for free at ESTA's website.

Use of a private service to apply for travel authorization via ESTA will not expedite the granting of approval, said the DHS. Some of the scam websites charge fees for application.

Source: Travel Weekly; find article here>>.

Friday, November 14, 2008

USA: little help for stranded airline passengers

Airline passengers looking for protection against being stranded for hours on tarmacs cannot count on much help from a federal task force that's been trying to resolve the problem for nearly a year.

The "tarmac task force" was expected to vote Wednesday on guidelines for airlines and airports on how to craft their own contingency plans for dealing with lengthy delays. But the task force wasn't even able agree on what constitutes a "lengthy delay" — one hour, two hours or 10 hours.

The task force recommends leaving it up to airlines and airports whether they follow the guidelines or ignore them.

Source: Associated Press; find article here>>.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

European Union: new Regulation on operation of air services now avialble online

The new "Regulation on common rules for the operation of air services in the community" (EC 1008/2008) which came into force on Nov. 1 and (inter alia) provides for an obligatory "all inclusive" price in airline advertising (see posting of Nov. 2) was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on Oct. 30 and is available online here>>.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

IATA: air travel declining at alarming pace

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) the global aviation industry is facing its largest drop in passengers since the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003. Even the good news that the oil price has fallen to half its July peak was not enough to offset the impact of the drop in demand.

Global international traffic statistics for September 2008 show passenger traffic declined 2.9 percent while cargo traffic dropped 7.7 percent compared to the same month in 2007.

IATA favors less regulation of international air traffic as the most important factor in staving off further financial calamity in the industry.

Source: eTurboNews; find article here>>.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Caribbean: beaches shrink as thieves steal sand

Caribbean round grains, favored in creating smooth surfaces for plastering and finishing, are being hauled away by the truckload late at night. On some islands, towns and ecologically sensitive areas get exposed to tidal surges and rough seas.

Among the hardest hit is Grenada, where officials are building a $1.2 million seawall to protect the 131-square-mile island. Large-scale sand thefts have exposed north-coast towns to rough seas.

About 706,000 cubic feet of sand were taken from private property beaches in the northwest of Jamaica in late July.

Source: The Boston Globe; find article here>>.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

European Union: a new framework for air services

A new Regulation, which was adopted by co-decision procedure, lays down common rules for the operation of air transport services in the Community (recast) (Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council No 1008/08 of 24 September 2008, OJ L 239, 31 October 2008) and is a substantial improvement on the present legislation.

The new regulation provides for non-discriminatory and transparent pricing of air services.

  • It bans price discrimination on the basis of the place of residence or the nationality of the customer or the place of establishment of the travel agent. In practical terms, this means that for the same product – i.e. the same seat on the same flight booked at the same moment – there should be no price differences based on the place of residence or the nationality of the passenger. In the past, such differences have often been observed on airlines’ websites where residents of one Member State had to book on the country-specific website of the airline and where prices could be different (the place of residence of the passenger was established via the consumer’s credit card number).
  • Price transparency is improved by clarifying that the final price to be understood all applicable fares, charges, taxes and fees included. It avoids that airlines mislead consumers by advertising prices exclusive of taxes, charges and fees that are only added at the moment of booking. The breakdown between air fare or rate, the taxes, the airport charges and the other charges, surcharges or fees shall also be specified. Optional price supplements shall be communicated in a clear, transparent and unambiguous way at the start of any booking process and their acceptance by the customer shall be on an "opt-in" basis.
The new regulation came into force Nov. 1, 2008.

Source: EU rapid press release; find more information here>>.

Iran hosting International Tour Operator Convention Nov. 24-27, 2008

The Convention is being organized by Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and tourism Organization (ICHTO) in close cooperation with Iranian Tour Operators Association (ITOA) which is the main private sector association in Iran inbound tourism.

ITOC , which will devote two full days (November 24 and 27) ,the first day presentation on Iran Tourism and Iranian Tour Operators and the last day considered for a workshop with the members of ITOA.

Source: ITOA; find information here>>.