Welcome to WALA 2012!
WALA will have its V annual Conference in 2012, which brings together, every year, 200 delegates of more than 25 countries of all over the world. After successful previous conferences (two in Ciudad Real, Lisbon, Dallas), this time it will take place in Amsterdam with the support of the SCHIPHOL Group, on April 25th - 27th at its Airport Convention Center, located within the airport facilities and at a short distance of arrival and departure Terminals, and from the Sheraton Amsterdam Airport Hotel.
WHY AN AIRPORT LAW?
In the world of the civil aviation industry a group of different participants interact around the same issue: the flight. Further than said convoking issue, each sector of that industry has its own and individual interests and it is interrelated to another sector regarding common interests though, concerning as well opposed ones.
Whatever the class of interest concerned would be, we understand that there is a scope of knowledge that cannot be ignored at the time of analyzing the problems, challenges and debates that the civil aviation industry raises: we are referring to the juridical rules.
In fact, we cannot help realising that the law constitutes a source of consultation and a necessary and indispensable work tool within the frame of such complex framework of relations and interests.
As a matter of fact, the whole civil aviation industry is based on rules of law (rules and principles). The lack of a worldwide juridical organization that enables the realisation of airport service inconveniences, the advising and provision of adequate solutions to the juridical problems arising from rules which are imposed upon the interests of the airports operators, led to the creation and making up WALA project.
We should only focus on the statement of some of those aspects to understand the importance of the law and the provision of eventual legal inconveniences towards the airports operators: civil liability, criminal liability, property & management, quality of service, passengers, meters & greeters rights, airports charges, non-aeronautical revenue, environment, airports’ costs, airports tax impact, economic & political integration/regionalization (European Union, Mercosur, etc),-open sky policies, technology, security, safety, insurances, design and infrastructure, telecommunications, alliances and shared codes impact, slot.
The traditional aeronautical law has based its substantive development upon the fact of the flight, the safety of the aircraft and mainly on the needs, responsibilities, interests, rights and obligations related to the activity of the airlines or aircraft operators.
The same has not occurred with the airports.
The airports, as long as it was not regarded with the same intensity as a business unit, was juridically put aside and limited by the influence of the development of the air commercial business of the airlines. As proof of that, it is just enough to observe the international regulation through Conventions and Treats and the national/regional one as well.
We cannot ignore either the complexity that the impact of different branches of the law has on the activity of the airport operator, branches we use to solve problems and face the different conflicts which take place at the airports.
Among them, we detect besides the aeronautical law (public and private, local and international), the constitutional law, the administrative law, the international law, the environmental law, etc.
However, profiting from this opportunity we state that there exists an "airport law". Said airport law is not part of any juridical branch. It should have its own principles and hermeneutics, based on the development of airport activity which turns it a special discipline. It is fed by those branches of the law but it does not necessarily coincide and, in fact, many times it opposes.
It is time we reaffirmed each time with more emphasis, the juridical rules and principles which contribute to the development of a safer and more reliable flight and each time of better quality for the users.
But we are as well determined that it is time we adequate and reposed many principles and rules- local and international- which factual budgets that gave origin to them were dephased with the running of the time, therefore said rules now do not respond to the new reality of the airport infrastructure as factor of development not only of the air commercial activity but also off the national and regional economies which they serve.
The juridical set of law must accompany the new physical, economical and financial realities of the aeronautical industry. Within them, the commercial explotation of the airports is fundamental and cannot be set aside.
Said is another motive more than important to create and develop the Worldwide Airport Lawyers Association and, as from this, to create forums, commissions, work groups, etc. which would serve as a bridge to make airports point of view become true as well in the juridical world and to promote the study in depth of this theme of the law, which has principle, needs, difficulties, projections and, of course, own rules.
Come to Amsterdam. Come to WALA !!