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"

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

British Airways: debate on religious emblems continued

British Prime Minister Tony Blair delivered an astonishing put-down to the head of British Airways in the row over staff wearing personal religious symbols.
The issue came up at a conference of business leaders in the Confederation of British Industry. BA chairman Martin Broughton sought Tony Blair's support for the airline's robust ban on religious emblems worn by uniformed staff on duty, given that the police, the Army and other government uniformed staff have an identical policy in relation to crosses outside of the uniform.

However, Blair's responded that there were battles really not worth fighting. Being a a fan of BA and its management, his advice was "just to do the sensible thing".

Read more here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

British Airways to review its policy on crucifixes

British Airways will review its uniforms policy following a row over a check-in worker told to stop wearing a crucifix.
Ms Nadia Eweida, 55, has refused to return to work at Heathrow Airport since bosses told her last month she could not wear a necklace bearing a small cross over her uniform. She said she did not want to hide the cross because "Jesus has to be glorified". She lost an appeal against the decision last week, although she has the right to a second appeal. Ms Eweida said the airline's decision was good news, and she hoped it would help her win her case.
Leading figures in the Church of England had appealed to the airline to reconsider its stand. British Airways announced the review hours after the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, said talks had begun on a possible sale of the Church of England's £10.25 million ($25 million) worth of shares in the airline.


UNWTO Executive Council: fighting poverty and improving cultural understanding

The importance of tourism and its contribution to the process of economic and social development, within the framework of the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations, was underscored during the Executive Council of the UNWTO, meeting in Algiers for its 79th session on November 20th and 21st.

The Executive Council decided specifically to strengthen a number of key programmes:
  • To support, the fight against poverty – most notably by rationalizing technical assistance programs and projects within the framework of its Sustainable Tourism for the Elimination of Poverty(ST-EP).
  • To ensure effective response to emergencies – endorsing action within the UN System to prepare for a possible avian flu pandemic, to extend this approach to other crisis situations and to provide a web based portal for effective support and communications to stakeholders in crisis situations.
  • To encourage stronger security while enhancing facilitation (SAFE) and to explore new legal and technology processes, with a clear emphasis on ensuring that poor countries have the necessary technology.
  • To strengthen public-private partnerships - supporting a new focus for its Affiliate Members, including an initiative to develop a UNWTO Centre of Excellence for Destinations in Montreal, Canada.
Read more here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

USA: Breastfeeding moms protest discrimination by airline

After a nursing mother was removed from a Delta commuter flight operated by Freedom Airlines from Burlington, Vermont, to New York last month, breastfeeding mothers today will conduct "nurse-ins" against Delta Air Lines at more than a dozen U.S. airports.


"Commission allows Malta to aid the creation of new air routes"

According to the EU Press Room, "The European Commission has decided today to allow Malta to grant start-up aid for new air routes from Malta International Airport. The measure will last until September 2011 and provides for a total of Lm25 million (€58 million) to airlines in order to finance new routes. The primary objective of the aid is to improve connectivity by enhancing access to air transport services which are of basic importance for the economic and social development of Malta."

This Press Release is available in full text.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Italy Scraps Tourist Tax Proposal

A proposal to introduce a levy on tourists visiting Italy has been scrapped by the coalition government, much to the relief of the country's tourism industry. The draft government budget for 2007 had originally contained a measure that would have allowed local authorities to put in place an EUR5 (US$6.40) charge per tourist per day to help them meet the growing costs of maintaining historic monuments. However, the measure received widespread opposition from parties within the governing coalition, including from the Prime Minister's own governing centre-left party, which acknowledged the tourist industry's fears that the tax would deter people from spending holidays in Italy.


UNWTO Executive Council: Tourism Fosters Trade and Development

The UNWTO Executive Council meeting in Algiers for its 79th session, with the attendance of 38 Ministerial Delegations from around the world, welcomed the estimated 4.6% growth of international arrivals in 2006. This market strength is forecast to continue through 2007, at around 4% - the fourth year of sustained growth in international tourism and in line with UNWTO’s long-term vision.
UNWTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli, particularly underscored Africa 's strong 2006 forecast, where tourism arrivals are expected to increase by 10.6% through this year. Sub-Saharan Africa with a forecast 2006 increase of 12.6% is a key driver of the success. North Africa is also expected to grow well above the world average.
The Executive Council, will review the state of the tourism industry against the evolving global geopolitical and social dynamics, with an emphasis on tourism's role as a key element of trade and development and in the context of the organization's role as the specialized agency of the UN family dealing with this important service sector.

Read more here.

"Study: Perceived Treatment of Foreign Travelers Driving Away Visitors, Damaging America’s Image Abroad"

As stated by the Discover America Partnership, "The U.S. entry process has created a climate of fear and frustration that is turning away foreign business and leisure travelers from visiting the United States – and damaging America’s image abroad. But, according to a new global study conducted by the Discover America Partnership, minor improvements in welcoming travelers could yield substantial diplomatic and economic gains.
The study, conducted by independent polling firm RT Strategies and based upon a survey of more than 2,000 travelers worldwide, sought to gauge traveler perceptions of the U.S. visa and entry process, and how opinions of America differ among those that have and have not visited the U.S. The study revealed that, by deterring visitors, the U.S. is missing an enormous economic and diplomatic opportunity. Those that have visited the U.S. and interacted with the American people are 74 percent more likely to have an extremely favorable opinion of the U.S.
'This study should be a wake-up call for the U.S. government,' said Geoff Freeman, Executive Director of the Discover America Partnership. 'Visiting the United States and interacting with the American people can have a powerful, positive effect on how non-U.S. residents see our country. Unfortunately, perceptions of a 'rude' and 'arrogant’ entry process are turning away travelers and harming America's image.'."
This Press Release is available here.

Monday, November 20, 2006

"Vice-President Barrot leads high-level delegation to EU-India Aviation Summit"

According to the EU Press Room, "The European Union-India Aviation Summit, jointly organised by the European Commission and the Ministry of Civil Aviation of India, will take place in New Delhi on 23-24 November 2006. The Summit aims to enhance political and industrial co-operation between India and the EU in the aviation sector. India is one of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets and of strategic importance to the EU and its industry. India is also taking a lead in market opening in Asia.
'The EU and its industry have much to offer India in facing the significant challenges of unprecedented growth in air traffic”, said Vice-President Jacques Barrot, Commissioner for Transport before leaving for India. 'The EU-India Aviation Summit is an excellent opportunity for bringing together top-level policy makers and industry executives to identify priority areas for enhanced co-operation.'

This Press Release is available in full text.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Scottish tourism going 'green'

Officials for the Scottish tourism industry have said that the sector must pay greater attention to 'green' issues.
The Scottish Tourism Forum (STF) has called for a reduction in the number of short-haul flights that service the country's airports and has warned that visitor numbers could fall if areas of beauty are littered with electricity pylons and wind farms, reports the Herald. The forum proposes the introduction of tourism-fragile zones, which would prohibit the installation of wind farms in the area as well as ensure that power lines ran along the seabed rather than overhead.

More information here.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"Out of shape" hostesses to fight Indian airline

Indian air hostesses embroiled in a legal battle with their employer after they were grounded for being out of shape said the move was unconstitutional and have vowed to win back lost wages. Eleven women say they have suffered from low self-esteem after being grounded by state-run Indian airline for being between a few hundred grams and 3 kg over the firm's specified weight limit. Lawyers for the company, known as Indian Airlines until last year, say the women are contractually obliged to meet weight guidelines for health reasons. The restrictions also apply to the 200 male stewards working for the airline, 20 of whom were also barred from work. The women will take their case to Delhi's High Court in March, demanding the company pay their salaries for the time they were grounded.

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

"Lawyer disputes plane sex activity case"

"RALEIGH, N.C. - A man arrested for allegedly engaging in 'overt sexual activity' with his girlfriend on an airliner was lying with his head on her lap because he wasn't feeling well, his attorney said.
That gesture was misinterpreted by a flight attendant, who humiliated and harassed the couple, said attorney Deb Newton, who represents Carl Persing.
Persing and Dawn Sewell, both of Lakewood, Calif., face federal charges of interfering with flight crew members, allegedly by disobeying a flight attendant's request that they stop their public displays of affection.
They were arrested on Sept. 15 when they arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles.
'The one witness I've talked to and the defendant dispute almost everything in the government's affidavit as to what happened on that airplane,' Newton said.
She said Persing suffers from a chronic disease requiring medication that makes him drowsy, dizzy and irritable. She would not identify the disease to protect her client's privacy.
Newton said she will ask that the charges be dismissed.
Sewell's lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment."

Source: Associated Press.

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Attorneys - Earn Up to 11 CLE Hours
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Monday, November 13, 2006

Austrian Airlines becomes first European airline to fly to Iraq

Austrian Airlines will become the first European airline to fly to Iraq, commencing its flights to the northern Iraqi city of Erbil on December 11. Erbil is Iraq’s fourth largest city and a burgeoning industrial center -- providing rapid and safe access to the cities of Mosul, Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah. Austrian Airlines sees the route to Erbil in the tradition of pioneering that has made Austrian the airline with one of the most comprehensive route networks not only in the Middle East, but also in Eastern and Central Europe and in the new republics that were formerly part of the USSR.
Further information here.

Friday, November 10, 2006

New National Park in Tanzania

Tanzania plans to establish a new tourist wildlife park in the bustling northern tourist circuit and bring the number of national parks currently holding the country's tourism up to 15.

Mkomazi Game Reserve in northern Tanzanian border with Kenya will have its status elevated to a national park then marketed globally as one among Africa s wildlife destination sites.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Australia offers a mix of breast implant and tourism as a package to the US

Australia is keenly promoting the concept of breast implant together with a holiday Down Under, especially to the travelers from the US.
Australia's newly appointed breast enlargement ambassador is reportedly encouraging American women to consider traveling to Australia for breast enhancement surgery. The initiative comes at a stage when the nation is counting on exposure in the huge US market resulting on big bucks for Australian tourism. Read more here.

Remark: an interesting combination indeed, especially in terms of tour organizer's liability...


The UN family and the Tourism Industry celebrates World Tourism Day each 27th of September, reflecting the social and economic relevance of Tourism. Now in a first extension, World Travel Market launched Responsible Tourism Day with UNWTO as its major partner, focusing on practical action by the industry and other stakeholders in this critically important area.
The need for a more responsible attitude in tourism, especially towards host communities, has become evident in recent years. Responsible Tourism is an important consumer and corporate component of triple bottom line sustainability - economic, social and environmental.
Further information here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"High-level group set up to advise Commission on the future of aviation regulation"

As stated by the EU Press Room, "Two years after the adoption of the Single European Sky regulations the Commission wishes to further pursue the simplification of the organisation of the sector. In September the European Commission invited representatives of the national civil aviation administrations, aviation industry and Eurocontrol to a conference in Brussels to find ways to improve the efficiency and performance of the system, while ensuring the highest safety standards. The conference made some radical conclusions, which are now being followed-up by the creation of a 'high-level group'.
Vice-President Jacques Barrot, Commissioner in charge of Transport stated: 'I have called this group together to advise the Commission how the conclusions of the conference can be realised and the current fragmented regulatory field be unified under the Community framework. It is evident that some organisations will have to evolve and enable to reform the current organisation of ATM and safety; it is the task of this group to advise us strategically how to reach those goals'.
The group is composed of selected high level representatives of the European states, air navigation service providers, airspace users, airports and aviation industry. Both European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Eurocontrol are also represented. Work will start on 8 November 2006 and the group aims to report back to the Commission mid-2007, with proposals on the public sector functions in European aviation.
The group will concentrate on developing answers to the questions of simplifying the regulatory framework, reforming the related organisations and ensuring the successful participation of the private sector. It will also have to address the implementation of the Community method with a view to the 'total system approach' to aviation safety. The terms of reference and list of members for this group can be found on the web page
which also includes information on the September 20 conference on future of aviation regulation."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

2007 to be fourth year of sustained growtn in tourism

World tourism demand continues to exceed expectations, showing resilience against extraneous factors. According to the latest issue of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, in the first eight months of 2006 international tourist arrivals totalled 578 million worldwide (+4.5%), up from 553 million in the same period of 2005, a year which saw an all-time record of 806 million people travelling internationally and growth is expected to continue in 2007 at a pace of around 4% worldwide.

The expected 4% growth for 2007 is much in line with the UNWTO long-term forecast growth rate of 4.1% a year through 2020.

Read more here.

Australia considers cooling down Geat Barrier Reef

Australian marine scientists have proposed to protect the corals from being damaged as a result of climate change.
Speaking at the recent Ecotourism Australia Conference, Andrew Skeat, executive director of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, said the proposal involves watering the ocean surface at peak heat times to avoid coral bleaching, which is caused by higher than average water temperatures linked with global climate change, and when organisms which make up corals die leaving behind white limestone skeleton. A fine spray of seawater will be pumped onto the reef to break up the ocean water, cooling the corals. It also considered permanently placing sunshades over some areas of the reef. The UNESCO World Heritage listed reef, stretching over more than 345,000 sq kilometers (133,000 sq miles) off the coast of Queensland, is the world's largest coral system.
For Details look here.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tourism pionneer jailed in Iran

Hamid Reza Talebi, CEO of the International Tourist Organization and head of the International Council of Tourism Partners in Iran, was thrown behind bars last week by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government. Charges against him include spreading lies and inciting the old regime to challenge the current government. Talebi was sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of $15,000.
Read more here.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Iceland: whaling trade puts tourists off

Tourists are turning their backs on Iceland because the country is resuming commercial whaling, a tour operator claims. Whale watching is one of Iceland’s main tourist attractions, but bookings have fallen 25 per cent in the two weeks since it has resumed hunting.
Read more here.

China to protect its cultural and natural heritage

The drive to protect its famous monuments and nature reserves continues to get stronger and stronger in China. Following a recent decision to pass its first set of laws against vandalizing the country s legendary Great Wall, China has now stepped up protection of its state-level nature reserves to crack down on activities such as film shooting and unauthorized tourism, according to a new regulation.
Source: eTurboNews.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Review of the European Timeshare Directive

The Timeshare Directive was adopted in 1994 and gives timeshare buyers rights throughout the European Union. It applies to any timeshare contract made under the law of an EU country or where the property is in the European Economic Area (EEA). All Member States have implemented the directive into their national law.
A public consultation on the review of the Directive was launched on June 1st 2006. In addition to the question of the extension of the scope of the Directive, other issues are raised; e.g. the length of the cooling-off period, updating the list of information requirements, financial and professional requirements, the ban on advance payments and criminal sanctions for infringements. Submissions to DG SANCO's Consultation Document on the Review of the Timeshare Directive can be found here.

Monday, October 30, 2006

New EU security rules at airports

To protect passengers against the threat of liquid explosives, the European Union has adopted new security rules that restrict the amount of liquids that one can take through security checkpoints.The new rules apply from Monday, 6 November 2006 at all airports in the EU and in Norway, Iceland and Switzerland until further notice.
Details can be downloaded as pdf guide here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Choice of Law and Forum - The Red Seal Experience

1. Red Seal is an Ontario (Canada) tour operator. 2. It entered into three "Guarantee Contracts" with the Ontario-based representative of six Caribbean hotels. The Guarantee Contracts dealt with general issues such as no black-out periods, no bumping of Red Seal pax, no better terms to a Red Seal competitor, etc. None of these Guarantee Contracts contained a choice of law or a choice of forum clause. 3. After the first two of them were signed, Red Seal entered into a separate "Operating Contract" (i.e. for specific space on particular dates) with each of the six Caribbean hotels. Each specified that the law of Florida and the Courts of Aruba would apply. 4. Disputes arose, and Red Seal sued the Ontario "rep" company in the Courts of Ontario. 5. That company sought to oust Ontario law and Courts, and bounce the case to Aruba pursuant to Florida law, based on the terms of the Operating Contracts. 6. In a mid-September decision, the Ontario Courts ruled that one of the disputes involved site-specific issues and thus was governed by the relevant Operating Contract. Florida/Aruba applied to it. 7. But it ruled that the balance of the disputes related to the subject matter of the Guarantee Contracts. The Florida/Aruba provisions of the Operating Contracts were thus irrelevant. As the Guarantee Contract was silent re courts and law, the Ontario Court was free to determine (as it did) that there was a sufficient nexus with Ontario to allow Red Seal to maintain those actions in the Ontario courts.

(Originally posted by Doug Crozier)

Monday, October 23, 2006

First Mercosur Tourism Law Congress

First Mercosur Tourism Law Congress: Radisson Hotel, Montevideo, 9-10 November 2006 Tourism advocates of Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, Mexico, Spain, Venezuela and Bolivia. Further information:

(Originally posted by Diego Benítez)

USA: New 'e-passports'

A new generation of United States passports, equipped with short-range radio tags, are beiing distributed . More than 15 million Americans are expected to apply for and receive the high-tech document in the next year. Within a decade, every US passport will contain an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip.
Privacy advocates are raising concerns that the passports make Americans more vulnerable to attacks from thieves and terrorists.
For details look here.

Ancient Thai city destroyed

Officials in Thailand say three months of flooding have turned the foundations of the ancient city of Wiang Kum Kam into mud. Wiang Kum Kam was originally founded around 1286 by King Meng Rai and became the capital of the Lanna kingdom before flooding forced the ruler to move his capital to Chiang Mai. The city was unearthed in 1984 and was opened in 2004 as a tourist attraction
Further information here.

Friday, October 20, 2006

New adventure tourism operators law in Western Australia

The Western Australia government has imposed new strict standards for adventure tourism operators, in a move to protect tourists following some near tragedies in the state's wilderness areas.
Under the new legislation, accreditation will be compulsory for all adventure tourism operators. Details here.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Europe's largest national park to be established in Iceland

Iceland's government announced a plan to build what the prime minister referred to as soon-to-be Europe's largest national park.
The establishment of Vatnajokull national park is the largest nature protection project in Iceland to date. The national park will not only provide a platform for protection of the unique nature of the area, but also create new opportunities in tourism in the vicinity of the park and thus strengthen habitation along the outskirts of Vatnajokull glacier.
The Ministry of Environment, in 2002, began negotiations with farmers living next to the glacier to establish a nature reserve. The negotiations did not materialize as land ownership issues delayed the process. The plan to include the entire glacier as well is more recent.
Icelandic nature continues to be the main attraction for foreign visitors to the country, according to annual research done by the Icelandic Tourist Board. Therefore, it is important for the tourism industry that steps are taken to protect it. The establishment of Vatnajokull national park would mean that Iceland will have the largest protected wilderness in Europe.
The establishment of Vatnajokull national park would also mean that glacier river Jokulsa a Fjollum will not be harnessed for the production of electricity. This issue is of great concern for nature conservationists.
More details here.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Hospitality Loss Prevention Conference: Boston, the 6th December

New airline tax for health care to poor countries

Nineteen states including include Brazil, Britain, Chile, Cambodia, Cameroon, Congo, Cyprus, France, Gabon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Norway and South Korea are committed to levying a tax on airline tickets as part of a new way to treat people in poor countries for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria under a program called UNITAID which brings together countries, U.N. agencies, international organizations and others to tackle some of the world's worst diseases. UNITAID plans initially to spend €50 million (US$63 million) this year and about €300 million next year to give 100,000 children access to anti-retroviral treatment and 150,000 children treatment against tuberculosis.
Further details here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

EUTO convention in Malta

During the last week of October, the Malta Tourism Society will be hosting delegates from the European Union of Tourism Officers (EUTO) to a convention and study visit. This annual event is part funded through the Leonardo da Vinci mobility initiatives which promote cultural and educational exchange across Europe.
Themed Developing Sustainable Tourism Reviving the Past to Build the Future, an exchange of best practice, this year s convention and study visit will take place between October 22 to 29. The focus will be on creating a unique experience for visitors to the island by capitalizing on all the possible cultural, social and historical resources which these small islands can offer. A number of local and international speakers are being invited to contribute to the convention and also to the study visits included in the program.
The convention will be addressed by the Maltese Tourism and Culture Minister Francis Zammit Dimech on October 23.
EUTO is an organization that fosters trans-national networking between all European middle and top managers principally engaged in the work of tourism promotion and development. Further details to be found here.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Misleading airline advertising

Airlines continue to engage in misleading price advertising. (See my paper at the 17th IFTTA Conference 2005, available at Among other things and according to the website of the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland ( airlines continue to be in breach of the advertising industry’s own code of advertising by - claiming that emails sent to consumer subscribers who have indicated they wish to receive special offers etc are not subject to the Code (Ref AC/0605/0505; AC/0502/0122) - claiming that the term ‘Free’ can be used although the consumer still has to pay taxes, charges (AC/0512/1384) - claiming that taxes, charges etc. do not have to be included in the advertised air fare (Ref GM/0602/0219). (References traceable through
Perhaps the most significant recent development concerns the attempt by the advertising industry self-regulator to bring clarity to the vexed question of how many seats an airline should make available when it advertises a low fare. Rule 2.44 of the Irish Code in insists in effect that the supply must be in reasonable proportion to the demand. This is a vague rule and heretofore airlines have been left free to interpret it themselves.
In a recent case (AC/0504/0310) an airline sought advice in advance from the self regulator on this point and was told such advice was not given. When the airline then provided only 4% of its seats at the advertised low fare complaints were made that the advertisement was misleading. The self regulator rejected the complaint apparently because the airline had tried to seek guidance. But more importantly the self regulator also stated: ‘Going forward and in order to provide clarity for advertisers, the Committee considered that at least 10% of tickets should be available at the lead in price.’ The choice of 10% is not explained. At first glance it is difficult to see how anyone could say that 10% is a reasonable figure. One might have thought of a figure of at least 50% if not higher.
However, the self regulator presumably chose the figure of 10% to reflect the interests of all parties, including airlines and the fact that consumers can be expected to realise an airline could not be expected to sell a lot of its seats at low fares.
From a purely legal point of view, whether 4% or 10% or some other figure complies with the present or future law banning misleading price advertising depends on European Community law and how the criterion of meaning (the average person) interprets the advertisement.
The recent EC Directive 2005/29 on unfair commercial practices (to be implemented by end-2007) contains an equivalent requirement that airlines provide seats in reasonable proportion to an advertisement of low air fares. Point 5 of the blacklist in the Annex includes among practises to be banned: ‘Making an invitation to purchase products at a specified price without disclosing the existence of any reasonable grounds the trader may have for believing that he will not be able to offer for supply … those products … at that price for a period that is, and in quantities that are, reasonable having regard to the product, the scale of advertising of the product and the price offered (bait advertising).’
This Directive also makes clear that the criterion of meaning is the careful reader of advertisements, not the hasty one. One can therefore expect a judge to say a careful reader will be aware that airlines cannot commercially operate flights if all seats are sold at the advertised low fare and that consumers surely understand this. But the judge may equally consider that consumers also know low fares do not prevent airlines from making a profit.
Given that airlines now have the technology to change fares very quickly and increase the fares if they wish, it may be that the figure of 10% is much too low.

(Originally posted by Marc Mc Donald)

No Deal on Passenger Data Transmission to US Authorities

The United States and the European Union failed to reach a new deal on sharing air passenger data before a Saturday deadline. Reaching an agreement before the deadline was an EU priority to ensure that airlines could continue to legally submit data about passengers flying from Europe to the United States. These data - including credit card details - must be transferred to the U.S. authorities within 15 minutes of a flight's departure to the U.S.. The European Court of Justice, in May ruled that the deal, put in place after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was illegal because it had not used the correct basis in EU law. However, court allowed the data to keep flowing until Saturday to give officials time to negotiate a new agreement. Washington has warned that airlines failing to share the data will face fines and the loss of U.S. landing rights. Without the deal, airlines that provide the data to the U.S. authorities could face legal action from the national data protection authorities in EU states. Officials said negotiations would continue. Source:

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

Compensation and assistance to air passengers

Article 16 of EC Regulation 261/2004 on confers increased protections on most air passengers flying into or out of Community airports for delay caused by denied boarding, cancellation or long delay. Article 16 requires member states to ‘designate a body responsible for the enforcement of this Regulation … Where appropriate, this body shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the rights of passengers are respected.’ Given that the consumer rights are intended to deal with the immediate effects of flight delays, Article 16 might be understood as meaning that certainly in larger airports the ‘enforcer’ should actually be located in the airport so as to be able to receive, respond and intervene on behalf of air passengers with airlines.
However, the Irish government has not taken this view and has designated a state aviation body (the Commission for Aviation Regulation, rather than the consumer protection body) whose offices are based in downtown Dublin, as the enforcer. The public has been informed of this by the same newspaper and website notice which says passengers may complain in writing or electronically to the city centre address. Fax will also be accepted.
Does the failure to locate the enforcer at a busy airport like Dublin amount to a failure to implement Article 16?

(Originally posted by Marc Mc Donald)

The Great Barrier Reef will not be closed to tourism

Responding to a recent report related to several world heritage sites being taken off the tourism map, the Queensland Tourism Industry Council has rejected the opinion that suggests closing off most of the Great Barrier Reef to tourism.
According to The Courier Mail in Australia, coral reef expert Terry Hughes, the Great Barrier Reef was a big place and the tourism industry had little impact. Source:

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Female lifeguards at Goa's beaches

The popular tourist destination in India is set to hire women to patrol its white-sand beaches as lifeguards for the first time. Goa will train women and men from the local fishing community to serve as lifeguards. This is remarkable as women in India going out to beaches in swimsuit is surely not a common sight. Details here.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

"One Price Policy" - a Victory for Consumers

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), announced earlier this week that "public interest will best be served by maintaining the status quo" insofar as maintaining its air-transportation price-advertising rule. The DOT's decision was in keeping with the American Society of Travel Agents' (ASTA) comments , in which the Society argued for maintaining governmental restrictions on airline pricing in place to protect consumers. The DOT had solicited comments as to whether it should relax or possibly eliminate enforcement of its "One-Price Policy".
The "One-Price Policy" was established by the DOT in 1984 with the intent of clarifying what is and is not a deceptive price advertisement. The policy mandates how airfares are advertised, allowing only for the exclusion from the total price of fees that are just paid to governments and those paid for agency services that are not part of the transportation service. Everything else, including fuel surcharges, must be incorporated into the quoted price. The DOT had proposed that changes to the policy be made on the grounds that (1) a long time has passed since the original rule was adopted, and (2) electronic communications have led to changes in (a) marketing practices and (b) consumer sophistication. (70 Fed. Reg. 73961-73962).

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"High-level conference discusses future of aviation regulation" in Europe

According to the EU Press Room, "Fragmentation of the aviation regulation system still remains a problem. Today high level representatives of the national civil aviation administrations, aviation industry and the Commission met in Brussels to find ways to improve the efficiency of the system, cut costs and cover possible gaps in safety. The conference brought together the highest executives of both regulators and the industry stakeholder to formulate new and more efficient policies.
Vice-President Jacques Barrot, Commissioner in charge of Transport stated: “This conference builds on the recent successes of the Community initiatives in aviation and aims to bring us from the current patchwork approach to an integrated framework that gives Europe the regulatory capabilities it needs in a globalising world”.
Rapidly growing traffic and the success of air transport liberalisation in Europe have changed the environment where national legislators operate. The aviation industry is becoming more and more cross-border in its operations, but Europe’s regulatory structures have not kept up with the challenge. Many actors take responsibility for parts of the aviation system, in a way that is not always clear or efficient.
The European Community has already taken action by tackling some of the most burning problems, be they in passenger rights or creating capacity and maintaining safety in an evolving market
In order to modernise the European air traffic management sector, the Commission has also launched measures and initiatives such as the Single European Sky or SESAR, a new-generation air traffic management system (IP/05/1435). The extension of tasks of the European Aviation Safety Agency also aims to bridge existing gaps by including issues such as flight crew licensing, operations, airports and air traffic management (IP/05/1422).
Further Information on the Conference will be made available on the following webpage:"

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Service Tax on Air Travel Impedimentary to Tourism?

The Civil Aviation Ministry in India has expressed concern over the impact of imposition of service tax on air travel on tour and travel business. In conjunction with the Tourism Ministry, Civil Aviation Ministry is intending to ask India's Finance Minister to reconsider the decision to impose service tax on air travel, which is now being charged on flying business class and first class on any airline.

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

Monday, September 18, 2006

U.S. District Court Blocks Job Actions by Flight Attendants

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York overturned a bankruptcy court decision and granted Northwest Airlines' request for a preliminary injunction to prevent a threatened strike or work action by the company's flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants.
For details see

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

Government Imposes New Visa Regulations for Tourists

Thai government on Friday announced new visa regulations for tourists limiting the foreign visitors to a maximum stay of 90 days each every six months in order to ease social problems and crime in the country. For details see

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Tourists to sign up for values?

Australian lawmakers are in a heated debate over a proposal that would require visitors to Australia to sign an 'Australian values' pledge before being granted a visa to enter the country, according to published reports. "It's wrong to expect tourists to sign up to a country s values for a visit," said Australian Prime Minister John Howard. Prime Minister Howard was replying to proposals by opposition leader Kim Beazley, who had proposed visa reforms to include a section for people to sign up to Australian values, laws and institutions of democracy (

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Final Call - The Anthony G. Marshall Award (USA)

From, I've just recieved this information request:

"HOUSTON - The nominations are winding down. Thank you for the tremendous response thus far, though there is still time left to recognize general counsel and private attorneys for the 2007 Anthony G. Marshall Award. One deserving person who has made a significant impact in the hospitality legal, safety or security arenas will be recognized at The 5th Annual Hospitality Law Conference, February 8th and 9th, 2007 in Houston, Texas.
The Hospitality Law Conference brings together over 350 general counsel, private attorneys, hospitality executives and industry experts from across the nation. The award, given in recognition of pioneering and lasting contributions to the fields of hospitality law, safety or security, was first given to Anthony G. Marshall, a renowned educator, author, speaker and columnist, at the 2005 conference. Banks Brown, a partner in the firm of McDermott, Will & Emery, was the honored recipient in 2006.
'We honor Anthony Marshall for his pioneering and continuing contributions to the field of hospitality law. He was the first to define reasonable care in a way that the average hotel manager, who is not a lawyer, could understand,' states Stephen Barth, founder of
To nominate an individual for this prestigious honor, please submit by September 21st, 2006
  • Nominee
  • Brief biography of nominee
  • Contact information of submitter & nominee is an efficient, cost-effective way for law firms, litigation support businesses and vendors of safety and security products to reach a large audience of hospitality industry decision makers; providing the access to build relationships and share knowledge with other experts in the field.

To submit a nomination, please contact Jeanie Gibbs at 713-963-8800, or email her at"

Monday, September 04, 2006

"How to fight terrorism and crime more effectively and enhance protection for citizens? The Commission adopts a green paper on detection technologies"

As stated by the EU Press Room, "The Commission has adopted a Green Paper on detection technologies for law enforcement, customs and other security authorities to further enhance the interaction between public and private sectors and help Member States acquire the best tools available at the lowest possible cost.
'Recent events in the UK have further underlined that detection devices must be continuously improved in order to reflect the ever changing threat posed by terrorists and criminals and to ensure that people are able to travel safely. Modern detection technologies have therefore an important role to play in the fight against crime and terrorism', said Vice-President Franco Frattini, Commissioner responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security.
Vice-President Frattini believes it is vital to establishing an effective public-private dialogue on security for better focussing investments on standardisation, research, certification and interoperability of detection systems and for transforming research results into useful and applicable tools. From this perspective the Vice-President attached great importance to a conference on 'Enhancing the Security of Explosives' that will be held in Brussels 9-10 October 2006, and which he will open formally. It will bring together the public and private sectors to tackle areas such as: components of explosives including liquids, detection, traceability and transport & storage.
The Green Paper aims at further stimulating the public-private partnership, in order to promote the development of an advanced market in certified detection technology which should lead to greater availability of products and services at lower cost, more effectiveness and better protection of privacy.
Detection technologies are increasingly used in the daily work of law enforcement authorities to fight terrorism and other forms of crime and play an important role in the daily lives of Europeans (boarding airplanes, taking a ferry, attending sports events, drinking water and food supply safety etc) as these technologies are used to protect our borders and check goods entering the territory of the European Union. Moreover they are essential for guarding private property and critical infrastructure.
The Green Paper is available at the website."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

ACI/IATA Friction

Airports Council International is to Airports what IATA is to carriers. The two international trade associations are at odds over several issues regarding airport costs, responsibility for pre-boarding security costs, etc. Earlier this year, ACI issued a report that dealt in detail with what it calls the three weak links in pre-boarding security....processes, people and equipment. Improvements in all three areas will require money and airport/airline co-operation. However, in a July 2006 speech to The Aviation Club of the UK, ACI's Director General called for IATA to disengage from any role in such discussions, suggesting that IATA does not really want the principals to meet directly. ACI denounced IATA for engaging in a "phoney war", "distortions", "empty rhetoric" and "an anti-airports agenda". It called on IATA to become a partner, and not an adversary.

(Originally posted by Doug Crozier)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Supreme Court (OGH) partly dismissed injunction against no-frills airline

OGH had to decide whether low price advertising of a no-frills airline was misleading. Plaintiff (another airline) claimed that defendant was promoting low price ticktes on his website although these tickets were not avialable on each flight, sometimes not even over the period open for online-booking, or only available for the outward but not the return flight. Plaintiff therefore moved for interim injuncion to interdict such misleading advertising. OGH held that consumers concerned were well aware that flight seats are sold at different fares and categories and they therefore knew that the cheapest fares normally have to be booked several months in advance. However, OGH prohibited to advertise low fares on the website if, over the period bookable there, no flight could be booked at these fares at all (but at higher fares only) or only outward but no return flights were available for booking (OGH 20.04.2006, 4 Ob 265/05g)

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Supreme Court (BGH) affirmed liability for water slide accident

Supreme Court (BGH) affirmed liability for water slide accident and dismissed tour operator's appeal. Plaintiffs' eleven year old child was killed at a holiday resort in Greece when his arm got trapped in a water slide's suction pipe which was not protected by a grating. The water slide had been built up without permission of the competent authority. BGH held that even though the water slide was not mentioned in the tour operators brochure and tourists had to pay the hotel seperately for using it, it still had been part of his performance under the package tour contract. As the tour operator had failed to provide reasonable security and to check construction permit he was liable for the accident. Plaintiffs were granted a compensation of EUR 40.000 in total. (BGH 18.07.2006, X ZR 142/05; press release 105/2006).

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

"The Commission opens a formal enquiry into restrictions to air services to Sardinia"

According to the EU Press Room, "The Commission has decided to open a formal investigation into the rules imposed by Italy on 2 May 2006 on 16 air routes between three Sardinian airports and important airports on the Italian mainland. The Commission has serious doubts as to the conformity of the Italian public service obligations with the aviation market rules and considers that they may close the market to Sardinia. Italy has to react within two months upon receiving the Commission's notice.
'This possible abuse threatens the principle of public services that I strongly support. The European Commission must ensure that public services are not used to close a profitable market from competition', said Jacques Barrot, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of transport. 'This is what the European Commission must check in this case'."

This Press Release is available in full text.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

European " Community code on short-stay visas"

As stated by the EU Press Room, "The European Commission has adopted today a proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Community Code on Visas.
This proposal incorporates all legal instruments governing decisions in relation to the conditions and procedures for issuing visas into one Code on Visas. This contributes to enhance transparency and to clarify the existing rules, increases the harmonisation of procedures and strengthens legal certainty and procedural guarantees.
The proposal is part of the objectives of the Hague programme to facilitating legitimate travel and to tackle illegal immigration through further harmonisation of national legislation and handling practices at local consular missions."

This Press Release is available in full text.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

European "Cooperation agreement with the USA on modernising air traffic management"

According to the EU Press Room, "Vice-President Jacques Barrot, the Commissioner responsible for transport, and Marion C. Blakey of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), recently signed a cooperation agreement that will ensure coordination between their respective programmes for the modernisation of air traffic control, SESAR on the European side, and NGATS ('Next Generation Air Transport System') on the American side.
'We must have compatible technologies and standards between Europe and the United States. This is obviously a question of good economic sense but also a safety issue: you cannot ask an aircraft to change over its equipment in the middle of the Atlantic depending on whether it is being controlled by the USA or Europe', said Jacques Barrot. 'With this agreement, we will be sure that the technological choices made on the two sides of the Atlantic are coordinated for the benefit of the aviation industry'.
'As FAA moves forward its aggressive air traffic modernization efforts, it’s vital that we coordinate with our global partners,' said Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Marion C. Blakey. 'This memorandum provides the framework for a more effective, performance-based air transportation system between the United States and Europe.
'As FAA moves forward its aggressive air traffic modernization efforts, it’s vital that we coordinate with our global partners,' said Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Marion C. Blakey. 'This memorandum provides the framework for a more effective, performance-based air transportation system between the United States and Europe.'
SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research Programme) is currently in its definition phase which has been entrusted to a consortium of 30 companies. On 9 June 2006 the Council of Ministers adopted general guidelines for the next phase of SESAR, the 'development phase', during which all the new technologies and systems will be constructed. Ministers approved the principle of creating a 'SESAR Joint Undertaking' which will be responsible for managing the development phase.

The cooperation agreement signed by the Commission and the FAA at the Farnborough airshow will not only make it possible to put in place the mechanisms for coordinating the two programmes but also includes a reciprocity clause that will allow European industry to participate in the American programme and American industry to participate in SESAR.

For more information, see:

- Air Transport"

Thursday, July 13, 2006

DG SANCO publishes industry questionnaire on timeshare

The questionnaire is designed to collect the views of industry stakeholders on the administrative costs of current legislation, as well as the impacts of possible forms of future legislation in the field of timeshare. The aim of DG SANCO in distributing the questionnaire is to elicit a large range of industry views on the topics asked, and use the responses received as evidence in the impact assessment, which will accompany a possible proposal to revise the directive. The questionaire is available here Submissions to are welcome by 11 September 2006.

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Union workers threaten with airport strike

Union workers are threatening with strike action at the country's national airport on 14th July, demanding airport management offer more overtime pay and better working schedules in new contract talks.

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

"Interoperability of European air traffic management systems: towards a Single European Sky"

As stated by the EU Press Room, "The European Commission has adopted two Regulations concerning the interoperability of European air traffic management systems. The two actions aim at modernising air traffic management systems.
Vice-President Jacques Barrot, Commissioner in charge of Transport said: 'These legal instruments are milestones in the implementation of the Single Sky, as they establish clear interoperability requirements for the systems used by service providers to run their business to high safety and efficiency standards; for civil and military airspace users to make best use of congested skies, and for the air traffic controllers who handle over 27,000 flights a day.'
The 'co-ordination and transfer' Regulation establishes the requirements for automatic systems for the exchange of flight data that notify, co-ordinate and transfer flights between air traffic control units. The aim is to ensure a high level of safety and efficiency of the systems located in the same or in different Member States.
This regulation also applies to flight data exchange systems supporting the co-ordination procedures between air traffic services units and controlling military units, in accordance with the 'flexible use of airspace' Regulation.
The ‘flight plans’ Regulation sets out the procedural requirements for flight plans in the pre-flight phase. The aim is to ensure that all parties involved in submitting, modifying, accepting and distributing flight plans (i.e. aircraft operators, pilots and air traffic service units) will have the same flight plan before take off. It defines the obligations of a centralised flight planning processing and distribution service, provided through the Integrated Initial Flight Plan Processing System (IFPS), established under the authority of Eurocontrol.
The Regulation also defines the obligations in the case of flights entering European airspace without a flight plan.
Further Information on the single European sky is available on:"

Monday, June 19, 2006

"Transfer of passenger name records (PNR): The Commission adopts two initiatives to comply with the Ruling of the ECJ"

According to the EU Press Room, "The European Commission adopted today two initiatives to put a legally sound framework in place for the transfer of PNR data to the United States. These initiatives are the first European answers to correct the legal basis for the Agreement with the US that was struck down by the European Court of Justice on 30 May 2006. The Court ruled that the Article 95 EC-Treaty was not an appropriate legal basis for the transfer of PNR data which are essentially aiming to ensure public security and activities by public authorities in areas of criminal law.
As the Agreement with the United-States remains in force under international law for a period of 90 days after it is denounced by either Party, the Commission recommends to the Council to terminate the Agreement with the US before the end of this month.
At the same time the Commission asks the Council for an authorisation to open negotiations for an Agreement with the United States of America on the use of PNR data to prevent and combat terrorism and transnational crime, including organised crime."

This Press Release is available in full text.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

"Who Takes the Haircut When a Carrier Fails?"

When Canada 3000 ("C3") failed in late 2001, it owed CDN$34m. to various Canadian Airport Authorities and to NAV Canada ("Authorities"). Its planes were leased from a variety of legal titleholders ("Owners"). The Authorities exercised statutory powers to seize the C3 aircraft on account of the debts. The Owners went to Court to recover "their" planes. The Authorities sued the Owners, contending they were jointly and severally liable with C3 for the debts. The Supreme Court ruled on June 9 that: a) The Owners were not jointly and severally liable for the debts; b) The Authorities' rights take priority and they CAN look to the aircraft (or the security that was posted to allow for their release) to satisfy the debts. The Court found the Owners to be sophisticated business people quite able to assess (and bear) risk. Conversely, the Authorities are obliged by law to provide services to all carriers, regardless of their solvency.

(Originally posted by Doug Crozier)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Court annuls Council decision concerning transfer of personal data to U.S. authorities

Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, the United States passed legislation providing that air carriers operating flights to, from or across United States territory have to provide the United States authorities with electronic access to the data contained in their reservation and departure control systems, called ‘Passenger Name Records’ (PNR). Following negotiations with U.S. authorities the Commission adopted, on 14 May 2004, a decision (the decision on adequacy) finding that the United States Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ensures an adequate level of protection for PNR data transferred from the Community. On 17 May 2004, the Council adopted a decision approving the conclusion of an agreement between the European Community and the United States on the processing and transfer of PNR data by air carriers. The Court has now annulled both decisions. (Press relase 46/06 of European Court of Justice,

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

House of Lords dismissed DVT Group Action

Claimants (or their relatives) had been passengers on international flights with the defendant carriers. In each case a DVT had resulted in serious injury or death. It was assumed that DVT was caused by the flight, defendants had known about the rsik of DVT and failed to warn of such rsik or advise passengers how to avoid or minimize it. The House of Lords unanimously found that, where a passenger suffered DVT on a flight during which nothing out of the ordinary had occurred, this did not amount to an accident capable of founding recovery under Article 17 of the Warsaw Convention as the term "accident" denoted an event or occurrence having a particular quality or characteristic. For the purposes of Article 17, it was the cause of the harm which constituted the accident, not the harm itself. These requirements ruled out Article 17 recovery in DVT cases where no more can be said than that the cramped seating arrangements in the aircraft were a causative link in the onset of the DVT. Not warning of the risk and not advising passengers of precautions which might be taken to minimize the risk were non-events which could not properly be described as accidents.

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Commission proposes new EU plan to halt biodiversity loss

The European Commission adopted a Communication which sets out an ambitious policy approach to halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010. In particular, it provides an EU Action Plan which proposed concrete measures and outlines the responsibilities of EU institutions and Member States, respectively. It also specifies indicators to monitor progress, and a timetable for evaluations. It spells out what needs to be done to halt biodiversity loss in the EU and to meet the international commitments to reduce biodiversity worldwide. It furthermore creates an advisory mechanism to help decision-makers make better use of existing knowledge. (Press release IP/06/667 of 22 May 2006)

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Hawaii Tourism Authority Releases Resident Sentiments Survey Results

As long-term trend the report noted a declining belief that tourism has been “mostly good for you and your family,” although the shift has been more to perceptions of “mixed” than to “mostly bad” impacts. The survey found widespread appreciation of positive economic impacts but more questions about social and environmental impacts. For the first time, a definite majority has agreed that “this island is being run for tourists at the expense of local people.” Because past surveys have shown positive feelings towards visitors, the analysis suggests this agreement may reflect frustration over the failure of the infrastructure to keep pace with growth. The full report can be downloaded at

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

Friday, March 31, 2006

New standard signalling for trains

The Commission has adopted Technical Specifications for Interoperability for control/command and signalling on the conventional trans-European railway network. At the moment, more than twenty different signalling and speed control systems are used in Europe, which means that most international passenger and goods trains still have to stop at the border station to change locomotive. The adopted Decision will allow these incompatible systems to be gradually replaced by a single system known by its abbreviation ERTMS (press release IP/06/404 of European Comission, see here.

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Aviation blacklist published

The EU Commission's Aviation Blacklist has been published in the Official Journal 24 March 2006 (see The publication of the list will allow passengers to make informed choices even when they travel outside the EU, in countries where these flight bans do not apply. The preparation and finalisation of the list is the result of successful co-operation between the Commission, the Member States and the European Parliament. The Commission and the “Air Safety” Committee will continue to monitor airlines and national civil aviation authorities to ensure their adherence to internationally-agreed air safety standards. It will continue to address new threats to European air safety by updating the list when necessary, as well as recognise the progress made by airlines on the list, in order to ensure their removal once their safety deficiencies have been rectified.

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)