News in brief from across the globe... This week, an Irish court refused to quash claims by Ryanair that Google infringed competition law, easyJet is considering applying for EU air operating permits in Portugal or Austria, while in the US, lawmakers are pushing for new regulation to improve cockpit safety.
⇒ Four US lawmakers are championing a bill to make the installation of secondary cockpit barriers mandatory in commercial aircraft. Congressmen Josh Gottheimer, Andre Carson, Brian Fitzpatrick and Peter King reintroduced the bill on 16 February, which would require “inexpensive, light weight wire-mesh gates to be installed between the passenger cabin and the cockpit door that would block access to the flight deck whenever the cockpit door is opened during flight for pilots’ meals, restroom use, and other reasons.”
⇒ The High Court of Ireland has refused to quash claims by Ryanair that Google infringed competition law, despite the technology company’s argument that the allegations were “parasitic” on the airline’s underlying trademark infringement claim, reports GTDT Aviation Law News sister publication Global Competition Review. Ryanair sued Google and online travel agency eDreams in late 2015, accusing the companies of using the airline’s branding without authorisation because eDreams appeared ahead of the airline’s official website when the term “Ryanair” was searched. The airline later amended its claim to include allegations that Google’s behaviour constituted an anticompetitive agreement. On 16 February, Mr Justice Brian McGovern dismissed the application by Google and eDreams to strike out the competition law allegations.
⇒ easyJet has held discussions with aviation authorities in Portugal and Austria, as it contemplates applying for a new European air operator’s certificate, according to Air Transport World, which quoted an anonymous source involved in the discussions. “Talks with authorities have been held. Besides Austria, Portugal is on the agenda,” the source said.
Middle East and Africa
⇒ South African airline Comair has confirmed that it wants to take over Air Botswana. Comair’s chief executive, Erik Venter, told Reuters that the carrier will submit a takeover proposal to Botswana’s government, which last week confirmed it plans to privatise the loss-making airline.
⇒ India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation has refused a request to cancel AirAsia’s operating permit, following a complaint by the Federation of Indian Airlines, which accused the carrier’s local subsidiary of violating foreign ownership rules. The industry body, whose members include the carriers GoAir, IndiGo, Jet Airways and SpiceJet, argued that a 2013 brand licence agreement between AirAsia and its local subsidiary, AirAsia India, violated foreign ownership and control rules. The DGCA rejected the complaint, ruling that Air Asia’s Indian subsidiary met the requirement of substantial ownership, irrespective of the licence agreement, because it is 51% Indian-owned, at least two-thirds of its board are Indian nationals and the company is headquartered in India.
⇒ The first planned flight between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for 25 years was cancelled on 20 February, despite thaws in relations between both countries. Tajikistan carrier Somon Air was due to fly to Tashkent airport, but the latter informed the airline that it was prohibited from flying, without reason, Reuters reported.