The House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure reported out to the floor of the House of Representatives for the consideration of the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform and Reauthorisation Act. The act privatises US air traffic control, prevents the entry of 'flag of convenience carriers' into the United States and overturns the legal interpretations by the Departments of State, Justice and Transportation of the Air Transport Agreement.
In a recent case the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit vacated a rule requiring individuals who fly small drones and other model aircraft for hobby or recreational purposes to register with the Federal Aviation Administration. The case serves as a reminder that, despite rapid advancements in drone technology, the regulators – and society – are still in the early stages of figuring out how to integrate these versatile devices into US airspace.
The Supreme Court recently denied a petition for writ of certiorari, leaving open the question of whether the Federal Aviation Act pre-empts state law standards governing design defects by aircraft and engine manufacturers. When the issue was presented on interlocutory appeal to the Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit, the court held that design defects were not the subject of field pre-emption. Further monitoring is necessary to determine whether other courts will find this approach persuasive.
The beginning of 2016 brought the arrival of 'Implementation Day' under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and its potential for business opportunities in Iran that had been shut off for decades. Subsequent months have shown that, even with the relaxation of US sanctions, the road to doing business with Iran is still complex and riddled with possible compliance faults.
The US Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control recently introduced General Licence I to make it easier for US persons to enter into contingent contracts, negotiations and transactions relating to the sale of aircraft or related parts to Iran. However, the US-Iran trade relationship is tenuous and there are still many opportunities for US businesses to fall foul of US sanctions and export laws unwittingly.
Shortly after launching its flight-sharing services website, Flytenow requested a legal interpretation from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding its business model's compliance with the Federal Aviation Act 1958. The FAA stated that under Flytenow's model, its pilots were operating as common carriers and needed to obtain Part 119 certification. The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit recently declined to overrule the FAA's interpretation.
Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the United States has agreed to lift certain sanctions targeting Iran, including sanctions on the sale and export of commercial passenger aircraft, parts, components and associated services to Iran. While this marks a potential step towards an opening of Iran's market, strict licence requirements are in place for those looking to take advantage of the new opportunities.
Aircraft portfolio securitisations continue to evolve and are becoming an attractive option for an increased number of leasing companies and aircraft portfolio owners. Recent developments have included the availability of financing in the debt market and structural changes, including enhancements for the issuer and servicer, enhancements for the noteholder or lender and regulatory requirements.
The Federal Aviation Administration has taken steps to implement a framework within which small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) can be safely integrated into the national airspace. Under a new interim policy it will grant a blanket certificate of waiver or authorisation for flights at or below 200 feet to any sUAS operator holding a Section 333 exemption. Further, it has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on the operation and certification of sUAS.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a notice of interpretation and request for comment on the special rule for model aircraft codified in the FAA Modernisation and Reform Act of 2012. The notice comes on the heels of a National Transportation Safety Board administrative law judge ruling which held that the FAA lacked regulatory authority over model aircraft operations.
An aircraft lease is a contract that provides for the conveyance of the use and possession of aircraft for a term in exchange for the payment of rent by the lessee. To create and perfect a security interest in a lease or any related collateral, or to protect the economic ownership of the lessor as a true lessor, parties must take certain actions under state, federal and international law.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a policy clarification for the registration of aircraft involving US citizen trustees and non-US citizen trustors and beneficiaries (collectively, 'non-citizen trusts'). The FAA initiated its review after citing problems with obtaining important operational and maintenance information regarding non-citizen trusts.
The registration of aircraft in the United States is the responsibility of the Federal Aviation Administration. Under the Transportation Code and the Federal Aviation Regulations, an aircraft is eligible for registration only if its owner is a US citizen and the aircraft is not registered under the laws of a foreign country. The citizenship requirement applies to both individuals and corporations, provided that certain conditions are fulfilled.
A New York court has reaffirmed the enforceability of liquidated damages clauses for holdover rent in aircraft leases that are in addition to damages for failure to comply with return conditions. Such clauses will be upheld if the fixed amount is a reasonable measure of the probable actual damages incurred in the event of a breach and the actual loss is impossible or difficult to determine with precision at the time of lease execution.
The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently made clear what it had hinted at two years ago in a similar decision: the federal government has field pre-emption over state regulation of air safety. While the court used Goodspeed Airport as the platform to rule that the federal government pre-empts the field of aviation safety, the actual facts did not support an ultimate holding of federal pre-emption.
In a recent decision the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sided with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in that federal agency's dispute with the city of Santa Monica. However, although the court upheld the FAA's decision to reject a city ordinance prohibiting large business jets from landing at Santa Monica Municipal Airport, it limited its holding exclusively to the contractual arguments.
Following the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) notice of proposed rulemaking on the re-registration of existing aircraft registrations and renewals of existing and new registrations on a three-year continuing basis, the FAA recently issued a final rule. Pursuant to the final rule, over a three-year period all aircraft registered before October 1 2010 will be terminated and must re-register to maintain US civil aircraft status.
A recent Second Circuit decision has important implications for holders of tax indemnification agreement (TIA) claims arising from aircraft leveraged leasing transactions. The court took a big-picture view of the situation and understood the importance of recovery by owner participants under TIAs as a basic part of the leveraged lease structure.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has consulted on proposals to require re-registration of existing aircraft registrations, as well as renewals of existing and new registrations on a three-year rolling basis. Industry groups have argued that an alternative approach focusing on FAA enforcement of the existing regulations would solve law enforcement's problems better than creating an entirely new registration system.
Buyers of aircraft are typically required to sign an acceptance certificate at the time of delivery, which may state that the buyer irrevocably accepts the aircraft. A recent Eighth Circuit decision calls into question whether such language, considered in the context of the parties' performance under the agreement, may prevent a buyer from exercising its right to revoke acceptance pursuant to the Uniform Commercial Code.