News in brief from around the world… In the past week, the ICAO has approved new aviation emissions standards and the European Council has adopted EU-wide safety harmonisation rules. Meanwhile, American Airlines and private carrier Surf Air were hit with new lawsuits, and Delta made further tweaks to its pet policy.

North America

⇒ The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) council said on 27 June that it had approved new standards for offsetting aviation-related carbon emissions in support of the UN aviation agency’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) by adopting a new volume to annex 16 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

CORSIA was agreed by the ICAO’s 192-member states at the organisation’s 39th assembly in 2016, and requires most airlines flying international routes to begin monitoring fuel and carbon emissions from 1 January 2019.

ICAO council president Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu said the agreement of new standards was “critical” to helping states and airlines put CORSIA into operation on time.

“This especially pertains to its monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) scheme, which describes in detail what has to be done, by whom, starting with the collection of information on international aviation CO2 emissions by airlines,” he said.

The council also approved a new version of a simplified tool to help small operators estimate, monitor and report their carbon dioxide emissions, and reached further agreement around the specifics for a CORSIA Central Registry to record and track verified emissions data.

⇒ Wells Fargo has sued American Airlines in a New York federal court for failing to return three aircraft it leased from ownership trusts established by the bank in 2013.

The 18 June complaint alleged the carrier was 49, 45 and two days late in returning the aircraft under the leases.

“During the time periods in which American wrongfully retained possession of the Aircraft, the Trusts were unable to realize any residual value from such Aircraft, such as rental value,” Wells Fargo said. The trusts have issued demands for payment totalling more than US$883,000 in rental arrears, plus US$100,000 in additional contractor charges.

The lawsuit claimed American Airlines has failed to repay these sums and requested a jury trial to hear the bank’s claims against the airline. American told ALN it was reviewing the complaint and declined to comment further.

⇒ Delta Air Lines has updated its policy on service animals, limiting passengers to one “emotional support” animal per flight and banning “pit bull type dogs” from its aircraft completely. The airline said the changes were “the direct result of growing safety concerns following recent incidents in which several employees were bitten.”

The changes follow earlier amendments to the airline’s rules in March, when it began requiring passengers to submit forms confirming health and vaccination records of any animal brought onto a flight to support passengers with physical or psychiatric conditions.

According to the Washington Post, the US Department of Transportation has said “a limitation based exclusively on breed of the service animal is not allowed under the Department’s Air Carrier Access Act regulation.”

⇒ Private jet operator Encompass Aviation sued private airline Surf Air with counsel from Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York on 19 June.

The company claims Surf Air, for which Encompass operated flights in California, owed US$3.1 million under operating agreements signed by the two companies in 2017.

Encompass alleged that Surf had “repeatedly allocated its revenue on things other than paying in full for flight operations and aircraft maintenance” under the deals, claiming it had been “significantly damaged” by the airline’s failure to pay and its attempts to move its California services from Encompass to a new operator, Advanced Air, earlier in the month.

Surf didn’t respond to ALN’s request for comment.


⇒ The European Council has adopted revisions to the EU’s aviation safety rules, which were approved by the European Parliament earlier in the month.

Following the Council’s endorsement, the new regulation will be published in the EU Official Journal in July and become effective 20 days later.

The European Commission welcomed the Council’s decision in an announcement later the same day. Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said the new rules are “modern and flexible, increasing efficiency and bringing down costs”.

She said: “This means greater competitiveness and less administration for businesses and users alike. It will also establish, for the first time ever EU-wide rules for drones, ensuring a safe, secure and clean development for the years to come. The EU can only lead globally if it has Regulation that is fit for purpose.”

⇒ An arbitration tribunal has found that Lebanon breached an investment treaty by revoking a private jet company’s aviation licences but has invited further submissions on damages despite holding a hearing on quantum in the billion-dollar case last year.

In a 378-page decision dated 25 June, a tribunal at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes upheld a claim by German businessman Abed El Jaouni for breach of the fair and equitable treatment standard in the Germany-Lebanon bilateral investment treaty.

El Jaouni was an investor in ImperialJet, a Lebanese company that operated private jets for charter and lease in Europe and the Middle East. ImperialJet had a regional office in Beirut before its air operator certificates for the city’s international airport were revoked in 2010.

Lebanon’s supreme administrative court, the State Council, declared in 2014 that the revocation of the licences was unlawful, but the investors said the government refused to comply with the decision, causing ImperialJet to cease its primary operations in Lebanon.

More coverage on the case is available via ALN’s sister publication Global Arbitration Review.