December 1-2 2020
December 1-2 2020
ICATMA 2020: 14. International Conference on Air Transport Management and Applications
Auckland, New Zealand
January 19 2020
January 19 2020
The Royal Aeronautical Society Annual Air Law Networking Reception and Lecture
February 9-10 2020
February 9-10 2020
NAIS - National Aviation Infrastructure Forum & Show
Moscow, Russia


On 9 November, the Ministry of transport published the Procedure for Federal agencies to maintain the Register of transport infrastructure objects and vehicles. According to the Procedure, the Register shall be maintained in electronic form and shall include information about both categorized and non-categorized vehicles and transport infrastructure objects.

On 13 November, the Federal Government restored air traffic between the Russian Federation and two foreign countries – the Seychelles and Ethiopia.

On 20 November, the Ministry of transport published amendments to a number of acts establishing procedure for professional training of air traffic controllers. The amendments provide for the possibility to extend in emergency regime situation the duration of training and certification procedures, as well as for the use of remote technologies by aviation training centers when conducting theoretical types of training.

On 19 November, the Federal Government halved the number of quotas for foreign citizens to be employed as civil aircraft pilots by Russian organizations and entrepreneurs engaged in commercial air transportation and aviation works performance. Now, in each 12 months period starting from the date of entry into force of the Government Decree of August 1, 2014 No. 762, only 100 (not 200) foreign pilots can be employed.

On 23 November, application of the 10% VAT rate for domestic passenger air transportation services bypassing Moscow was extended until December 31, 2021. Please note that earlier the Russian Tax Code provided for termination of the said VAT rate application from January 1, 2021.


On 2 April, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published an updated version of the guidelines for Aircrew and Air Operations (Issue 2) on the use of extended exemptions as per article 71 of the Basic Regulation (EU Regulation No. 1138/2019). The revised guidelines emphasise the additional consideration and necessary changes to address the ICAO target exemptions framework that will become applicable after March 31, 2021 and the specific timeline considerations on the extension of the theoretical knowledge examinations validity period.

On 6 April, The European Commission approved French plans to grant up to €4 billion for the recapitalisation of Air France through its Holding company. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recapitalisation by France, which is part of the first step of the recapitalisation plan of the group, comprises: (i) the conversion of the €3 billion State loan already granted by France (already approved in May 2020) into a hybrid capital instrument; and (ii) a capital injection by the State, through the subscription of new shares in a share capital increase opened to existing shareholders and the market, in a limit of EUR 1 billion depending on the size of this operation. The Commission found the aid to be compatible with the provision of Article 107(3), as it found that the measure aims at restoring the balance sheet position and liquidity of Air France and its Holding company in the exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, while maintaining the necessary safeguards to limit competition distortions.

On 8 April, EASA published guidance for drone operators, manufacturers and national authorities explaining the process for the design verification of drones, an important element in ensuring safe drone operations in the 'specific' category. The process applied for the design verification will depend on the level of risk of the operation. When the drone is used in operations classified as high risk (i.e. SAIL V and VI according to SORA), EASA will issue a type certificate according to Part 21 of Regulation EU No. 748/2012. When the drone is used in operations classified in the medium risk (i.e. SAIL III and IV according to SORA), a more proportionate approach will be applied, leading to a 'design verification report'. The procedure to apply to EASA for the issuance of the 'design verification report' are described in the Guidelines. The design verification process is immediately applicable and national aviation authorities are encouraged to require all UAS operators who are conducting operations in the 'specific' category, with medium risk, to operate drones for which EASA has issued a 'design verification report'.

On 26 April, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned that the Single European Sky (SES) project to reform Europe's air traffic management system may face collapse if European states do not support the European Commission's proposals to reboot the stalled initiative. Many European states are considering blocking the reforms in favour of an alternative vision, which will weaken the targets and regulatory oversight. This could collapse the entire package of reforms. IATA calls on the transport ministers to adopt a more ambitious general approach in line with the Commission's proposal at the next Transport Council.

Annual essay competition for the EALA award
Every year, the European Air Law Association awards two prizes, with the purpose of rewarding authors of essays on subjects directly related with aviation law in the broadest sense of the word.

Prizes: A first prize of 2.000 € (Two thousand Euros), and a second one of 1.000 € (One thousand Euros), to be awarded to the essays qualified as first and second, respectively. Being awarded with the first or second prize also grants a free admission to the next annual conference of EALA.

Candidate eligibility:

- graduate or undergraduate students,

- practitioners starting their careers (with less than one (1) year post-qualification experience), or

- university teachers or researchers, in any case with less than one (1) year experience as such;

- PhD shall be excluded from participating.

The essays submitted for the EALA Prize must be original and previously unpublished/not accepted for publication pieces of legal literature, written in English by only one author, and will amount to a maximum of five thousand (5.000) words. It is a condition of entry that EALA has the right to publish any of the papers in any form.

The terms of reference can be found on the European Air Law Association website: https://eala.aero/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/EALA-Prize-Terms-of-Reference.pdf

Anybody wishing to participate in the contest for the EALA Prize, must submit his/her essay by close of business Central European Time (CET) on or before the 31st July of each year by email attachment to EALA's Secretary, Mr. Morten Lundqvist Jakobsen at: mj@gorrissenfederspiel.com. Any queries are to be directed to Prof. Dr. Vincent Correia at vincent.correia@universite-paris-saclay.fr.

Appointment of the new head of the Ministry of Transport
Vitaly Savelyev was appointed Minister of Transport in accordance with the presidential decree "On the Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation" dated November 10, 2020. Previously, Savelyev held the position of CEO of PJSC Aeroflot.
The head of the International Air Transport Association will step down in 2021
It became known that the Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Alexandre de Junac will leave his post on March 31, 2021. Willie Walsh, ex-head of International Airlines Group (IAG, shareholder of British Airways), will be recommended for his position.

Alexandre de Junac has headed IATA since September 2016. Prior to that, he was CEO of Air France-KLM. Willie Walsh led the IAG until September 2020.
On December 3, a new air traffic management system began to operate within the Russian Federation
Some rules will come into force throughout the country, some changes will affect only the Moscow airport, but since it is connected by aviation routes with neighboring ones, they will affect the entire European part of the Russian airspace.

The changes will affect the flight information areas of Moscow, Arkhangelsk, Vologda, Yekaterinburg, Kotlas, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, St. Petersburg, Syktyvkar and Tyumen.

The main change is to change the reference height measurement standard. This parameter is necessary for all pilots when approaching, and until December 3, the reference altitude for flights across Russia was calculated from the pressure of a single airport (QFE). Instead, it was proposed to introduce a single standard, according to which all arrival and departure procedures will be calculated only using pressure reduced to sea level (QNH), as in Europe.
Year of Aviation Security Culture
Given the serious impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on aviation in 2020, the ICAO Council decided to hold a Year of Aviation Security Culture in 2021. In addition, 2021 will mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11, making it imperative to understand the severity of this threat to aviation and to promote best aviation security practices in all aviation activities.
Dear friends!
What do national and foreign researchers of air and space law write about during hard times for the whole world? You will know about this­­­ in our section.

What will happen to the aviation industry in connection with the pandemic?

The Covid-19 pandemic that has swept the planet so suddenly and has not released it for more than 10 months, it seriously affected the development and functioning of the aviation industry around the world. The issue of the French Journal of Air and Space Law (REVUE FRANÇAISE DE DROIT AERIEN ET SPATIAL) is dedicated to the peculiarities of the survival of the European aviation market. Its authors reviewed a number of measures taken in some member states of the European Union with the aim of presenting readers a complete and clear vision on the situation in Europe. In addition to France, which is covered by Vincent Corea, professor of international law at Paris-Saclay University and editor of the Air Law Chronicle column, the issue also discusses examples of Germany (by Sarah Joanna HAAS), Spain (by Alberto RUEDA CARAZO) and the United Kingdom. (by Rob Lawson and Sophie Dorion).

The authors of the issue are unanimous in the fact that the measures that the governments of the European Union states have taken to save some airlines have not been sufficiently organized. Perhaps, as writes Korea, this is due to the "long and deafening silence" of the European Union in the first weeks of the pandemic, which was then followed by equally lengthy decision-making procedures that did not bring visible results. Needless to say, the current situation in the aviation sector in Europe will return it 25 years ago in the absence of more effective measures to combat the crisis? This is the most important question, says the professor.

Will today's difficult conditions serve as a certain impetus for the progressive development of aviation, or vice versa - is this a big step back, as Korea wrote. Is the pandemic a stage in the evolution of international air transport, or vice versa? An interesting work on this topic, in our opinion, is the article by Roberto Cassar, "Evolution or Devolution: Aviation Law and Practice after COVID-19", published in a special issue of the journal Air and Space Law. The author of the article is convinced that aviation, more precisely, the large volume of flights around the world, as well as "unprecedented globalization" have greatly contributed to the spread of the virus. In this regard, new standards, procedures and measures are proposed to combat the spread of the virus, both at the national and international levels.

Nevertheless, states Kassar, states should carefully consider them, study and understand the main thing: are such measures legal and effective in the fight against the virus, or whether they can harm the aviation sector no less than COVID-19 itself.

What can prevent the spread of infection and help fight it? In his article "National Reflexes After the COVID-19 Outbreak: Is Sovereignty in the Air Again?" Dutch scientist Pablo Mendes de Leon reflects on the concept of sovereignty of states in their airspace in the context of protecting the health of their citizens and preventing the spread of infections. Earlier, the author writes, states closed their national airspaces for a number of reasons: environmental threats, flight safety
issues, political motives, military actions. The global spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is forcing a different interpretation of the action to close the airspace, as for the first time in the history of air law, measures are taken toprotect public health on a global scale. The author of the article analyzes in detail the provisions of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation (1944), agreements on air services, European air law and national law and comes to the conclusion that the basic principle of sovereignty, firmly established in the Chicago Convention and other documents on international air law is still the last resort to which states invoke in turbulent and extraordinary circumstances.

We can only hope that humanity will be able to overcome the pandemic and the aviation industry will definitely recover.

Let's highlight some other aspects of our review.

Protection of the rights of air passengers, the responsibility of the air carrier, compensation of losses are the main issues of regulation of the current document in the air transport industry - the Montreal Convention of 1999. According to many experts, both practitioners and theorists, for a short time of its existence (21 years) it has repeatedly proved its effectiveness. The 1999 Montreal Convention is 21 years old: has it reached the age of majority or is past its expiration date? This is the title of an article by the British researcher, lawyer-practitioner Robert Lawson, which was published on the pages of volume 45, 3 issues of the journal Air and Space Law.

May 2020 was marked by the 21st anniversary of the Montreal Convention. In many countries, 21 is the age of majority. Has the Montreal Convention attained such age or, to the contrary, its rules do not go in line with the modern-day reality, and the Convention itself is of no relevance? The author of the article, turning to historical prerequisites of the elaboration and the adoption of the Montreal Convention, briefly expresses the main purpose of the instrument and highlights the provisions of utmost importance which supplemented the Warsaw Convention, or Warsaw system. Lawson examines in detail the legal practice, providing the analysis of all niceties arising when applying the rules of the Montreal Convention and arrives at the conclusion that, in spite of certain shortcomings, the Montreal Convention is a sterling and decent document governing the liability of air carriers and deserves high appraisal; apart from that, he sets forth certain proposals as to improving it during further revision.

Further, of interest to us seems the publication by Magdalena Kucko "Air Transport Agreement between EU and Qatar: Is It Likely to Become Successful?", also featured in the 3rd release of Air and Space Law journal. The author conducts a detailed analysis of the air transportation market between Qatar and EU countries, as well as new opportunities for its development after the adoption of bilateral air transport agreement.

The Agreement is aimed at governing new relations in the realms of air transportation between EU and Qatar, which are based upon the principle of fair competition in conjunction with 'modern' provisions on transparency, environment protection and social dimensions, which previously had no coverage in bilateral air transport agreements. The author provides critical examination of the possibilities of legal effect of such an instrument.
October turned out to be an uneventful month in terms of litigation related to air law in Russia, but it is worth presenting one important for passengers and airlines decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation that will be discussed below.

No. AKPI20-488

The Supreme Court approves an increase in the refund period for flight tickets due to COVID-19

On September 30, 2020, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation recognized the Regulation approved by the Government Decree of 06.07.2020 No. 991 as not contradicting the legislation.

The regulation established special rules for the return of flight tickets purchased before May 1, 2020 with a departure from February 1, 2020 to China, and from March 18 - on all other routes. The document allowed the carriers to unilaterally change the flight conditions: date, time, route and type of aircraft. The repayment period from the usual 10-14 days was increased to three years with interest rate accrued in the amount of the key rate of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation. During this period, the passenger had the right not to wait for a refund, but to spend it in whole or in part on another flight by the same airline.

Many disputed this Regulation, arguing that it violates the rights of consumers. Passengers could not predict border closures and other consequences of the pandemic when they bought their tickets. Moreover, they are also not satisfied with the exchange of tickets, since country borders are still not open.

The representative of the Ministry of Transport noted that the government issued a regulation within the framework of its powers in accordance with the Air Code. At the same time, it fully protects the rights of airline customers due to the accrual of interest and the ability to choose an alternative route instead of a refund.

Speaking about foreign practice, it is worth noting that on April 6, 2020, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) recognized deposit vouchers as a legal form of refund for air tickets and urged regulators of all countries to allow legal circulation of airline deposit vouchers in order to avoid devastating consequences for the aviation industry. The drafters of the Regulation referred to this position in support of the legality and necessity of adopting the Regulation.

You can find the Regulation here: http://base.garant.ru/74345254/


Founder, Chief Editor – Oleg Aksamentov, +7 911 9616196, oleg@aerohelp.com
Editor of Russian Air Legislation Digest – Anastasia Konyukhova
Editor of EU Air Legislation Digest – Andrea Trimarchi
Editor of Aviation Litigation Digest – Chrystel Erotokritou
Editor of Air & Space Law Academic Review – Ekaterina Samorodova
Website editor - Ilona Tsimbal, ilona@aerohelp.com

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