Aviation, Italy updates

Supreme Court decision on scope of Montreal Convention
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 18 March 2020

The Supreme Court recently found that for gratuitous carriage not performed by an air transport undertaking, damage compensation rights do not expire within the two-year limitation period established by Article 35 of the Montreal Convention. In other words, when the relationship between parties is not regulated by a contract, the general principle of neminem laedere (ie, general duty of care) applies. As a result, the ordinary time-bar rules for liability in tort apply.

ENAC approves new drone regulation
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 15 January 2020

The Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) recently approved a new drone regulation which will ease the transition to the EU Basic Regulation. Although EU legislation has already outlined a clear picture of the rules that will be definitively operational in the next few years, ENAC's regulation aims to safeguard the prerogatives and rights acquired by operators in the period before the EU drone legislation enters into force.

IATA: competitive conditions for an efficient market
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 08 January 2020

The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) recently published a report on the Italian air transport market, focusing on the developments that would occur if more efficient conditions were introduced. According to IATA, civil aviation is competitive in terms of air transport support, but airport and passenger ticket taxes make Italy the seventh most expensive country at the continental level. This is having an adverse effect on Italy's attractiveness as a location for both business and tourism.

Wizz Air's fine for hand baggage restrictions annulled
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 18 December 2019

The Administrative Court of Lazio (TAR) recently upheld Wizz Air's challenge and cancelled fines that had been imposed by the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) on the airline for its hand baggage policy. The policy provided that only a small piece of hand luggage to be stored under the seat was allowed on board flights free of charge, while a fee had to be paid for larger pieces of hand luggage.

Ryanair and Codacons agree ADR mechanism for flight compensation claims
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 02 October 2019

Due to the continued increase in the number of commercial flights and the resulting growth of passenger compensation claims under the EU Flight Delay Compensation Regulation, Ryanair and Codacons (the largest Italian consumer association) recently signed a valuable partnership agreement which will see them cooperate to settle claims made under the regulation by Italian passengers through alternative dispute resolution.

General ban on operation of night-time flights removed
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 03 July 2019

The Administrative Supreme Court recently ruled on the operation of night-time flights for civil purposes over Italian national territory, issuing a milestone decision that put an end to a 20-year regulatory dispute. The decision means that Italian airports now have parity with those located in other EU member states and has removed the negative effect that the ban had had on competition.

Mind your drone business – recent ENAC initiatives
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 20 March 2019

The Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) was one of the first EU aviation authorities to develop national rules to regulate remote-piloted aircraft systems. Pending the EU Basic Regulation's implementation, ENAC has announced the adoption of interim measures and a revision of the existing Italian regulations to align the national legal framework with the implementing acts that the EU Commission will introduce.

Italian antitrust procedure in respect of airlines' new hand baggage policy
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 16 January 2019

The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) recently ordered Irish carrier Ryanair and Hungarian carrier Wizz Air to suspend the implementation of a new hand baggage policy that would have charged passengers extra for bringing a standard-sized trolley on board flights. Both airlines successfully challenged the AGCM's decision before the Lazio Regional Administrative Court, which suspended the AGCM decisions by way of precautionary measures.

A step forward in Alitalia sale process
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 12 December 2018

Alitalia is a leading Italian airline that has faced financial difficulties and related restructuring projects. Following the government's extension of the deadline for completion of the sale of Alitalia, three prospective investors have presented more structured offers. This run of offers represents a step forward in the sale of Alitalia's business, even if negotiations must still be carried out over the next few months.

Application of tax on aircraft noise overruled
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 20 December 2017

The Rome Division of the Tax Commission recently ordered the full refund of debit notes issued by the Lazio region to a foreign carrier for payment of the tax on aircraft noise pursuant to Regional Law 2/2013. The Tax Commission stated that the carrier had not breached EU Directive 2002/30/EC. Accordingly, it cancelled the debit notes issued by the Lazio region to the foreign carrier and ordered a complete refund of the tax paid by the carrier under the tax on aircraft noise.

Italian case law upholds that hidden manufacturing defect is an extraordinary circumstance
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 22 November 2017

The most recent Italian case law has upheld the European Court of Justice's interpretation of EU Regulation 261/2004 in Wallentin-Hermann and Van der Lans by qualifying a hidden manufacturing defect as an 'extraordinary circumstance' under the meaning of Article 5(3) of the regulation and rejecting passenger claims for compensation under Article 7 of the regulation.

Alitalia recovery plan takes flight
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 19 July 2017

In a recent decree the Ministry for the Economic Development started the extraordinary administration procedure for Alitalia pursuant to Law 39/2004 and appointed commissioners to lead the company throughout the procedure. The main purpose of the extraordinary administration is to implement a recovery plan meant to preserve employment levels through the financial restructuring of the company, the sale of the business as a whole or the sale of the business, assets and contracts part by part.

No-show rule and round-trip tickets
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 25 January 2017

The Competition Authority has often fined airlines for imposing limits on round-trip tickets which force passengers to take flights in the order listed on the original ticket (ie, the so-called 'no-show rule'). The Council of State recently found this rule to be lawful. However, to protect consumer rights, the rule must strike a balance between the commercial needs of airlines and consumer rights. This decision confirms the increased focus on consumer rights without neglecting the commercial needs of airlines.

Assignment of passenger rights to compensation
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 02 November 2016

Italian courts are facing an increase in judicial claims by debt collection companies for denied boarding and the cancellation and delay of flights pursuant to EU Regulation 261/2004. The claims are based on the assignment of passenger rights to compensation under the regulation. The increase in judicial claims has led to jurisdictional and legal entitlement issues which have been resolved by different Italian court approaches.

ENAC implements regulation on non-scheduled air transport outside European Union
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 24 August 2016

The Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) recently issued a circular regarding non-scheduled air transport services operated outside the European Union to and from Italian airports. ENAC's rules apply to EU carriers and extra-community carriers on the condition that their states of origin grant equal treatment to EU carriers and are in line with the Italian Navigation Code.

Recent Supreme Court case law regarding liability of ground handlers
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 29 June 2016

The Supreme Court recently changed its approach to the interpretation of the commercial relationship between airlines and ground-handling companies, with the main focus being the damages suffered by passengers as a consequence of the supply of handling services. The key point in this regard is whether a ground-handling company can be considered to be an auxiliary entity of the airline.

ENAC road map for implementation of new EU airport rules
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 13 April 2016

In the past few years the EU legal framework regarding airports has been highly revised, obliging the aviation authorities of member states to revise national regulations accordingly. The Italian implementation process is supervised by the Italian Civil Aviation Authority, which has developed a road map for ensuring the Italian airport system's compliance with the new EU rules by the December 31 2017 deadline.

European Commission issues formal notice for failure to implement airport charges directive
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 20 January 2016

The European Commission recently issued a formal notice to the government for failures in implementing the EU Airport Charges Directive. The commission contested the consultation procedure that aimed to regulate charges at five major Italian airports through contract agreements between airport management and the Italian Civil Aviation Authority. The government is working on its formal comments regarding the alleged non-compliance.

Aviation authority issues new regulation on remotely piloted aerial vehicles
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 12 August 2015

The Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) recently issued a new regulation on remotely piloted aerial vehicles, which supersedes the existing regulation in that regard. ENAC makes a distinction between remotely piloted aircraft systems, which are subject to the provisions of the Navigation Code, and model aircraft, which are exempt from the code's provisions.

Fundamental rule for tax on aircraft noise established
Studio Pierallini
  • Italy
  • 29 April 2015

A recent Constitutional Court judgment established a fundamental rule for the implementation of a regional tax on aircraft noise. The Lazio Region argued that tax on aircraft noise is a matter under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Italian regions. However, according to the court, the guidelines fixed at a national level play an important role in coordinating the implementation of the tax on aircraft noise region by region.

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