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US DOT Says Italy Discriminates; Might Ban AZ  
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25846 posts, RR: 50
Posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 18824 times:

The US Department of Transportation is out today with a tentative show cause complaint to the EU and IATA stating that "Italian airports constitute an unjustifiable or unreasonable discriminatory, predatory, or anticompetitive practice against U.S. air carriers and impose an unjustifiable or unreasonable restriction on access of U.S. air carriers to the Italy market."

In their complaint the US government alleges that the Italian airport authorities have been imposing differing sets of user charges at Italian airports for US operators, as much as 58% higher compared to charges imposed on other operators including EU carriers.

The US says it has attempted to raise this directly in government to government consultations that such charges violate US-EU air transport agreement and have even received supporting correspondance from the EU itself questioning the legal validty of the Italian policy.

However, the Italian authorities have not altered their airport charging policies in the meantime, and differentiated fee system continues, with U.S. carriers suffering its harmful effects.

Accordingly the US finds that these actions, are in violation of Article 12 of the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement and warrant remedial action under the International Air Transportation Fair Competitive Practices Act (IATFCPA).

As such the DOT shall "impose operational restrictions on the Italian-flag carrier Alitalia - Compagnia Aerea Italiana S.p.A. (Alitalia), designed to bring about the elimination of the differentiated fee system. Specifically, we tentatively conclude that if we finalize the present tentative findings, we will proceed to preclude Alitalia from participating in any or all services (on-line, interline or codeshare) between any point or points in Italy, via any intermediate point in the EU, and any point or points in the United States"

Parties have 7-days to file comments before order becomes final.


Order 2013-3-1


From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
55 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinealitalia744 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 4753 posts, RR: 45
Reply 1, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 18799 times:

Is this driven by extra security and resources needed to deal with US carriers - specifically out of FCO they're sequestered for security & check in at different terminal.


Some see lines, others see between the lines.
User currently offlineikramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21547 posts, RR: 59
Reply 2, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 18766 times:

Might it be justified, or used as justification, when you consider flights to the USA must depart from special sections of the international terminal where flyers are penned in like cattle after a second security screening? I'd assume this costs extra money in logistics, etc. It also forces US flyers to have to walk to the far ends of the concourses where US flights can be segregated, so it punishes us, too. Granted, there is a valid reason, as most international based attacks on US flights originated outside at airports with poor security (or where officials are easily bribed) and transited the EU without rescreening.


Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlinePHX787 From Japan, joined Mar 2012, 7785 posts, RR: 18
Reply 3, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 18676 times:

This sounds like it could turn into an embarrassing back-and-forth between the two governments. In my opinion though Italy is probably doing this because their money is being thrown down the can and the government doesn't quite give a hoot about other airlines, which probably offer much better service between the states than AZ (i wouldn't know though). We shall see on this one.


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User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25846 posts, RR: 50
Reply 4, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 18655 times:

Regardless of the reason - differing charges are not allowed per the US-EU open skies agreement.

Its not an issue in UK, France, Germany, Spain, etc. Just here in Italy that has continued to impose a different set of charges compared to what the home EU carrier for example enjoy.

Anyhow as of January 15th 2013, the EU transport folks themselves found they could not reconcile the Italian fees with the Article 12 U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement and asked Italy to provide "a valid legal justification for the differentiated fee system." Two months have passed without an answer.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlinemercure1 From French Polynesia, joined Jul 2008, 1639 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 18547 times:

Frankly the Italians might not even know why they have differing fee system for US airlines.

What might have started as protectionism maybe in favor of AZ one day, has since been buried deep in byzantine regulations while the monthly invoices go out.

I hope people realize that Italy is the country where your tax rate can be based more upon which finance office or inspector you meet then what any underlying regulations is.


User currently offlineGRUIAD From United States of America, joined Sep 2010, 68 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 18301 times:

It looks like it is a differential system based on intra-EU flights and extra-EU flights. In the accusation, apparently Italian airports are charging a different landing fee for flights within the EU than flights coming from outside the EU. The intra-EU flights get a discount, which presumably mostly benefit EU carriers.

User currently offlinebennett123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7707 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 18253 times:

Surely, if certain airlines have additional security requirements, then the airport is allowed to charge for providing these.

That said, surely AZ flights to the US would have the same requirements.


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3313 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 18053 times:

Does the Italian Govt actually own a share of AZ? If not, aren't the US punishing a private company for something their government is doing? Surely AZ have no say over what fees US airlines pay in Italy?


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User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25700 posts, RR: 22
Reply 9, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 17993 times:

Why is IATA, an airline trade association, involved in the DOT complaint?

User currently offlineavek00 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 4406 posts, RR: 19
Reply 10, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 17515 times:

IATA is not involved in the complaint in any way. However, IATA member carriers and travel agents would have to comply with restrictions that arise from a Final Order in this matter, assuming the matter is of course not otherwise amicably resolved.


Live life to the fullest.
User currently offlineflyguy89 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 1968 posts, RR: 21
Reply 11, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 17197 times:

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 2):
Might it be justified, or used as justification, when you consider flights to the USA must depart from special sections of the international terminal where flyers are penned in like cattle after a second security screening?

I don't really understand this. I've departed on flights to the US from other EU airports and no 'special sections' were needed. They simply departed from the same terminal as other international flights with the only exception being that passports were checked before boarding and there were a few security agents randomly searching the carry-ons of boarding passengers.


User currently offlineikramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21547 posts, RR: 59
Reply 12, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 16300 times:

Quoting flyguy89 (Reply 11):
I don't really understand this. I've departed on flights to the US from other EU airports and no 'special sections' were needed. They simply departed from the same terminal as other international flights with the only exception being that passports were checked before boarding and there were a few security agents randomly searching the carry-ons of boarding passengers.

CDG on CO had special screening area. At HAM, we were penned into this tiny area not large enough for the 757 we were on, and the security people were MEAN. MUC has a special end of the terminal where you are penned in, away from all the other gates, with a second security line and not enough seating. The rest of the terminal is wonderful. LHR UA flights arrive at the farthest away gates possible in the non-schengzen area and depart there to, away from all concessions.

I've not visited each and every airport in the EU since the 2nd gulf war, but that's my experience. Oh, and SYD traps you in the end of the terminal without enough seating and no concessions for the USA flights too...



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineCoachClass From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 441 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 16299 times:

Just as we Americans are very sensitive to issues of 9/11, Rome and Italy (and Vienna, for that matter) can't forget the 1973 terrorist attack in the airport that killed over 30 people and twice that number injured at FCO. Most of the dead were American citizens. The new set up and terminal satellite at FCO in the last few years are nice and easy to use. Alitalia uses these same areas and same security measures for their non-stops to the U.S., too. I will say that traveling from Italy to the US has more layers of noticeable scrutiny than, say, Germany. In Italy, I've been asked where I stayed the night before, etc-never had that happen in Europe before by security people before you even get to the check-in counter. And if you look up at the balcony walkway at FCO, you always see lots of police with assault weapons in addition to the ones roaming the terminals.

[Edited 2013-03-15 19:56:05]

[Edited 2013-03-15 19:58:39]

User currently offlineWesternDC6B From United States of America, joined Mar 2013, 134 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 16042 times:
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Greetings, A-Netters. This is my first post. I have been through FCO several times. I have not flown AZ; my flights have been on Delta, so I am not sure about the "pens" comments. The only issue I ever had was with the lack of available departure lounge seating. Aside from that, the process is generally smooth. The security people and the Delta people are always courteous.

With my looking like a cross between a retired Viking and a grizzly-bear, one would think I'd be pulled aside for further checks for being "Different" Hoiwever, it has not happened. I daresay the security at FCO is 10 times more pleasant and professional than the TSA in the transit corridor at ATL.



Be kind to animals - Take a grizzly to lunch today.
User currently offlinehawaiian717 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3195 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 15086 times:

At VCE in 2007, there was a special security area for the DL and US flights. But when I flew AA from LHR in 2009 and DL from BRU last year, there was no separate security line for US-bound flights.

User currently offlineSurfandSnow From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 2888 posts, RR: 31
Reply 16, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 14688 times:

I'm sure this is just one of many games that U.S. carriers have to play when it comes to serving foreign markets. If anything, I imagine dealing with the Italians must be a walk in the park compared to, say, the Chinese, Nigerians, or Venezuelans. At least the Italians are subject to extensive E.U. oversight, whereby issues at the local or national level can be reported to supranational authorities who can then sort things out well outside the jurisdiction of the notorious Italian state judicial and political systems. Then again, anytime the vague issue of sovereignty infringement comes up, the E.U. becomes powerless. Even if the E.U. sides with the U.S. here, could they actually get the Italians to cooperate?

Now, in my own experience, saying that Italian airport security is lax would possibly give the impression that there is any effective security at all. Back in 2008, my mom and I departed FCO's main international Terminal C (now known as Terminal 3). I accidentally left a full bottle of water in my carry-on, and was told this was "not allowed". At any U.S. TSA checkpoint, the bottle would be immediately confiscated and the entire bag/bin it was in re-screened. But this was Italy, where the security girl told me this, then returned to her seat and let me continue on with the water. I felt a little guilty, but then I saw an Italian lady waltz through the metal detector while wearing all kinds of jewelry, and carrying on a full-fledged cell phone conversation. The detector went off, a few staff leapt up as if to tell her this was "not allowed", but she grabbed her bag and walked away without any hesitation or recourse from the security staff. At any U.S. TSA checkpoint, this would be grounds for shutting down the entire secure area and re-screening everyone and everything. But this was Italy, where American-style security standards are a concept as foreign to Italians as fast food or SUVs  .

As such, I am not surprised to see that U.S. (and Israeli) carriers depart from a terminal and gates completely isolated and segregated from the standard FCO international fare. The costs of constructing this facility, maintaining and operating all of the required screening equipment, and paying heavily armed security staff is probably, oh I don't know, up to 58% higher than that used by airlines from other countries. If the U.S. airlines have issue with Italians passing on these extra costs to the tenants that require them, they should probably be asking the U.S. government to reduce or eliminate the costly security measures at foreign airports, not asking the E.U. to penalize Italy for a situation that is well beyond its own control.



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User currently offlinePolot From United States of America, joined Jul 2011, 2275 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 11894 times:

Quoting SurfandSnow (Reply 16):
As such, I am not surprised to see that U.S. (and Israeli) carriers depart from a terminal and gates completely isolated and segregated from the standard FCO international fare. The costs of constructing this facility, maintaining and operating all of the required screening equipment, and paying heavily armed security staff is probably, oh I don't know, up to 58% higher than that used by airlines from other countries. If the U.S. airlines have issue with Italians passing on these extra costs to the tenants that require them, they should probably be asking the U.S. government to reduce or eliminate the costly security measures at foreign airports, not asking the E.U. to penalize Italy for a situation that is well beyond its own control.

If the costs are too high than perhaps Italy should be negotiating with the EU/US about article 12 of the open skies agreement then, after all they agreed to it. Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and so on seem to have no problems following it. In the meantime if they choose to disregard it, for whatever reason, the US is well within their rights to retaliate as they see fit.


User currently offlinejcwr56 From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 531 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 11672 times:

Quoting Polot (Reply 17):
In the meantime if they choose to disregard it, for whatever reason, the US is well within their rights to retaliate as they see fit.

Just don't forget, the Italians could easily ban U.S carriers as punishment for the U.S. ban on AZ. A show order along this line is not something you just throw out there, and for the DOT to issue this, State had to give their support due to political implications.

So it will be interesting to see what happens.


User currently offlinePolot From United States of America, joined Jul 2011, 2275 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 11577 times:

Quoting jcwr56 (Reply 18):

Just don't forget, the Italians could easily ban U.S carriers as punishment for the U.S. ban on AZ. A show order along this line is not something you just throw out there, and for the DOT to issue this, State had to give their support due to political implications.

I'm not sure how much legal standing Italy would have on banning the US carriers, as it is not like the US would be randomly doing it- the US would be banning AZ because Italy is breaking their bilateral agreement. Anyways a ban on the AZ will have a much larger effect than a ban on the US carriers in Italy. For American carriers Italy is just a small spoke, the US is a major market for AZ . Also with this ban AZ would also be unable to participate in the Skyteam JV, so while American carriers will just be missing out on revenue from Italy, AZ will be losing all revenue they get from the JV.


User currently offlinertfm From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 431 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 10996 times:

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 12):
LHR UA flights arrive at the farthest away gates possible in the non-schengzen area and depart there to, away from all concessions.

Whatever the reason are for UA's gate locations at LHR, it's got nothing to do with a 'non-Schengen' area - the UK isn't part of the Schengen agreement.


User currently offlinewindowflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 80 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 10276 times:

Quoting SurfandSnow (Reply 16):
I imagine dealing with the Italians must be a walk in the park compared to, say, the Chinese, Nigerians, or Venezuelans.

Can't speak for the Nigerians or Venezuelans but my experiences in China have all been very good, both entering and leaving. In fact, I was so late for my last flight out of Beijing that a security agent I spoke to sent me to the diplomat line.
Still had to run like hell but I caught my flight just moments before the gate closed.

PS - Upon seeing my condition the friendly flight attendant who approached me with a hot towel asked if I would prefer a cold one instead. (Shame) The cold towel was heaven though.



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User currently offlinelightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 13302 posts, RR: 100
Reply 22, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 10022 times:
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Quoting jcwr56 (Reply 18):
Just don't forget, the Italians could easily ban U.S carriers as punishment for the U.S. ban on AZ.

They could. That would rather hurt the Italian economy. Its time for them to get out of the public and behind closed doors to a sensible compromise.

Lightsaber



Societies that achieve a critical mass of ideas achieve self sustaining growth; others stagnate.
User currently offlinecjg225 From United States of America, joined Feb 2013, 869 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 9880 times:

Quoting SurfandSnow (Reply 16):
Now, in my own experience, saying that Italian airport security is lax would possibly give the impression that there is any effective security at all. Back in 2008, my mom and I departed FCO's main international Terminal C (now known as Terminal 3). I accidentally left a full bottle of water in my carry-on, and was told this was "not allowed". At any U.S. TSA checkpoint, the bottle would be immediately confiscated and the entire bag/bin it was in re-screened. But this was Italy, where the security girl told me this, then returned to her seat and let me continue on with the water. I felt a little guilty, but then I saw an Italian lady waltz through the metal detector while wearing all kinds of jewelry, and carrying on a full-fledged cell phone conversation. The detector went off, a few staff leapt up as if to tell her this was "not allowed", but she grabbed her bag and walked away without any hesitation or recourse from the security staff. At any U.S. TSA checkpoint, this would be grounds for shutting down the entire secure area and re-screening everyone and everything. But this was Italy, where American-style security standards are a concept as foreign to Italians as fast food or SUVs .

I concur. I was in Italy in 2009 and flew through MXP. The security was kinda humoursly-lax. I struck up a conversation with the security guy at the metal detector when I went through like I was going through a TSA-controlled check-point in the USA. The guy kinda laughed at me and said we weren't in America. I'd taken my shoes off and all that stuff. He told me I didn't have to do half the stuff I'd done.



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User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25846 posts, RR: 50
Reply 24, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 9737 times:

I'm not sure why you guys are going off topic about security.

This has nothing to do with security issues, or the mandated secondary screening of all US bound flights.

This has to do with Italy choosing to impose a separate and higher set of landing and take-off charges effecting US carriers negatively compared to EU peers for example.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
25 hawaiian717 : LAXintl, the security point came up as US-bound flights seem to depart from special areas at Italian airports and/or have separate security lines. Thi
26 UA2162 : You're doing business in Italy. Whether it's warranted or not, such practices should be expected.
27 I39OO : Funnily enough, the only times I've seen people being stopped by BAA security at LHR for having pen knives in their hand bags they weren't inbound fr
28 Lofty : I have to say the majority of security issues I have had at LHR have been ex the USA, Including a snake in hand baggage.
29 Post contains images rtfm : Although a snake is not actually a prohibited article from a security perspective.....
30 greenair727 : Shouldn't security be the same for all carriers to the US, meaning AZ would be subject to the same security requirements of say, DL or UA?
31 jumpjets : I flew from Milan LIN to LHR last September and naturally was in the non-schengen departure area, which had its own security checks and was a very sm
32 Post contains images flyingalex : I wasn't aware LIN had direct flights to the US?
33 factsonly : There are no direct LIN-USA flights (LIN is exclusively for European destinations), so your US bound passengers would have been heading for a non-Sch
34 zeke : What gives you the idea only US carriers pay higher landing fees ? The US has a history of hiding behind international agreements when it wants to, t
35 Polot : Nobody says they are the only ones. But if the agreement they reached with Italy says they can't be charged higher than others flying between Italy a
36 strfyr51 : unknown as of yet Why the Italians charge US carriers more tan anyone else BUT if they do? then just show just Cause AS to WHY and that might put the
37 Polot : Except the EU and US have already done that and Italy has ignored them. Hence the DOT's extreme warning about Alitalia's US operations in an attempt
38 strfyr51 : This is not Good!! I know a LOT of Italians who travel to Rome Every Easter and evey summer Italy might want to re-think this since There are as many
39 FCAFLYBOY : This is actually standard procedure here in the UK for ANY international flight, has been for sometime. US bound flights occasional have extra checks
40 FCAFLYBOY : I disagree. It has everything to do with flight security, is that not part of the argument?
41 LAXintl : Again who says these charges are for security ? Not the Italians. Not the US. What US is complaining about is a different landing fee structure, not
42 ericaasen : The question is, what does DL and AF/KL do if AZ gets banned? Thanks to the joint venture they'll all stand to lose revenue. If the ban is short lived
43 PW100 : If a fee structure is in place that puts higher fees for US bound traffic, either it be on a USA-airline, or AZ, or whatever airline that operates fr
44 LAXintl : The European Commission today provided comment today to the DOT. Basically they state they are very concerned about the matter, and will be launching
45 mercure1 : Lets see what stories the Italians can come up with. Maybe they don't even know why its being done the way it is.
46 lightsaber : roh roh... Now how long was the legal process going? Lightsaber
47 Post contains images LAXintl : Alitalia filed an answer with the DOT. Basically it says Alitalia supports continued US-EU discussions regarding concerns about fair and competitive p
48 HBGDS : The legal standing is straightforward. AZ is a national carrier, both fiduciarily and in terms of its fleet (I-....). So any US carrier registered in
49 flyingalex : Actually, the vast majority of Alitalia's fleet is on the Irish register (EI-xyz). B777: 9/10 (only I-DISU is registered in Italy) A330: 12/12 A321:
50 avek00 : The proposed Order does NOT ban Alitalia from the United States. Alitalia will continue to be able to fly nonstop to and from the USA just as it alwa
51 HBGDS : Thanks for the correction. I guess I'm still living in the 90s.... Cheers!
52 LAXintl : Getting comments from US airlines and trade groups now. AA filed its comments with the DOT. They basically say they have been subject to significantly
53 ikramerica : This is the key argument. Italy claims to be looking into it, but that answer only works for so long before it's a hollow claim that should be dismis
54 Post contains links Azure : An interesting point. The Italian govt does not have a share in AZ, which is a privately owned company. See the list of AZ shareholders here : http:/
55 LAXintl : US Airways has filed comments with the DOT. The carrier supports the DOT findings and its proposed remedies, and encourages the DOT to respond to such
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