IFPA - Independent & Engaged
Civil Aviation is moving from a sovereignty-based framework towards an increasingly supranational industry that is guided by the principles of the free market. Throughout this dynamic process, rules and responsibilities interact and sometimes clash. As an independent partner, the International Foundation for Public Aviation (IFPA) offers legal & institutional insight, guidance and support to those parties involved in- or affected by- these developments and ongoing transition processes. Our activities include organizing seminars, workshops, giving general legal counsel, and delivering specific advice.
Conflict Zones: MH17 Report published
On October 15th, the Dutch Safety Board (OVV) handed down its final report on the MH17 tragedy. In response to the crash of the Maylasian Airlines 777 the board persued several different investigations, which have now been published in two separate reports. The first adressed the causes of the crash and the issues pertaining to routes over conflict zones. The second was focused on the compilations of passenger lists and process of informing Dutch victim’s families. The rationale behind the investigation was published seperately.
The report has been widely recognized as an outstanding and meticulously researched opus that adresses a number of key issues. The english version can be conuslted and downloaded here. A number of the legal and institutional aspects related to routing of civil aircraft over conflict zones were discussed at a closed IFPA seminar held on March 16th at Schiphol Airport. The seminar did not adress the ongoing accident investigation but was set up as a first initiative to identify realistic and future-oriented solutions for the problems pertaining to the responsibilities and liabilities of the different parties involved, such as legislators, regulatory authorities, airspace users, service providers and states.
IFPA intends to organize a follow up event with a broader legal forum that invites carriers, service providers, states, rule-making authorities, and regulators to
discuss, together with politicians and passengers, new approaches that recognize and connect corporate and public functions related to conflict zones.
Atypical contracts & aviation safety
The recent growth of so-called atypical employment contracts for flight crews has drawn both praise and concern in European and American aviation circles. In the highly competitive air transport sector, potential savings on labour costs in the order of 30% by reallocating taxes and other costs through employment contracts is seen as an innovative and legitimate move towards more competitve air transport in full respect of exisiting rules and regulations.
Concerns stem from the effects of social dumping and stripped-down working conditions. The impact of these practices on aviation safety merits urgent attention from regulators. While there is no evidence that exisitng safety norms are being exceeded yet, close scrutiny, and where needed, regulation of these practices and their effect on on safety critical operations, is necessary.
The benefits of a competitive aviation industry, in the form of financially healthy carriers and low prices for consumers, are obivious. At the same time, economic arguments cannot justify the use of any practices that, directly or indirectly, compromise the overall safety of civil aviation. What is needed, therefore, is a conclusive assessment of potential safety concequences of atypical contracts and, if a negative effect on aviation safety is established, efficient remedies to regulate their use.