Railways, Aviation and Logistics
The future of rail appears to be a bright one. Rising demand for passenger and freight capacity, along with global concerns about climate change, is leading to a global rail renaissance.
Even regions that traditionally had no culture of rail travel, such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, or parts of Asia where there has been historical underinvestment, are now investing in rail with enthusiasm.
There are challenges to overcome, not least in building the required capacity in a timely fashion and at a cost that the market can sustain.
Rail will need to focus on being more competitive and placing less reliance on direct public subsidies. Congestion, operational efficiency and reliability, structural and competition issues, and safety and security are other challenges that will need to be faced.
Advances in technology will have wide-ranging and unknown impacts. But we can reasonably expect some major advances as to how railways operate: more driverless trains, real-time monitoring of rolling stock and infrastructure, improved accuracy
of passenger information, predictive maintenance planning, and most importantly, seamless journeys integrating with other modes of transport.
According to rail experts (Arup, Future of Rail 2050) passenger and freight rail will form the backbone of the transport system of the future, linking major urban hubs and feeding into multi-modal local transport networks. Rail services will be able to cross borders without delays or technical barriers, providing a competitive option to air and road travel.
As the industry moves towards 2050 and beyond, rail will become increasingly dynamic, innovative, sustainable and competitive.
De Berti Jacchia Franchini Forlani has a consolidated experience in assisting railway companies, including rail freight and passenger transportation companies, in all implications of their activity.
The range of services provided include assistance on:
- Procedures for granting, maintaining and amending licenses and certificates to foreign rail freight transportation companies
- Incorporation of railway companies
- Mergers and acquisitions and related merger filings at Italian and EU level
- Ordinary corporate and employment matters
- Implementation of models of management and control pursuant to Legislative Decree no. 231/2001 for railway companies
- Legal opinions on matters related to railway infrastructures in the context of international conventions governing relationships between infrastructure managers
- Due diligence reviews including assessing compliance with Legislative Decree 112/2015 implementing in Italy Directive 2012/34/EU establishing a single European railway area, in particular, with respect to criteria for granting and maintaining of license and safety certificates
- Intercompany agreements regarding lease of rolling stock and railway personnel
- Participation in public tenders for the awarding of local passengers transportation services
- Legal opinions and agreements related to the rail shipment of waste
- Competition self-assessments.
In the air transport segment, technical developments, new business models and efficiency enhancements have helped absorb inflation which, in combination with raising living standards, have enabled more and more people to fly. Growth is expected to continue and aircraft manufacturer Airbus forecasts continued healthy annual traffic growth until 2023 of about 5.2% and annual traffic growth of 4.2% from 2023 to 2033.
The profitability of traffic especially within Europe has come under pressure from increased competition and overcapacity. To improve profitability and compete more successfully with Low Cost Carriers (LCCs), airline companies are streamlining operations in parallel with outsourcing an increasing share of short haul operations to proprietary LCCs.
External production models, proprietary LCCs and the use of staffing agencies are increasingly becoming the established industry standard and are changing forever competitive conditions for European aviation.
Mergers have characterized the industry in recent years, leading to increased concentration. Hard competition led many airline companies to filing for bankruptcy and leave the market place.
Customised seats, robot cleaners and low cost long-haul are on the radar. Biometrics and AI have already revealed their potentialities: a number of carriers have invested in trials of fingerprint and facial recognition technology as well as in the implementation of AI to provide passengers with automated answers to straightforward questions freeing up the human agents to deal with the more complex enquiries.
AI is also used to assist travellers when they are in an unfamiliar environment and don’t speak the local language: technology giants are investing heavily in automated translation technologies, and airports and aircraft could provide ideal environments for these technologies to flourish.
De Berti Jacchia Franchini Forlani has been assisting for many years airlines and their service providers in all phases of their activities in Italy.
The assistance provided includes the following:
- Complex joint venture and commercial agreements between airline catering/onboard services providers and airline companies
- Ordinary corporate and employment matters
- Mergers and acquisitions and all related merger filings at Italian and EU level
- Due diligence reviews including (i) assessing compliance with Legislative Decree 18/1999 implementing in Italy Directive 96/67/EC on access to the ground handling market at Community airports and, in particular, certificate as ground handling operators granted by the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) and (ii) reviewing commercial sub-concessions granted to carry out commercial catering activities inside airports
- Outsourcing and duty free services agreements
- Secondment agreements and related employment matters
- Legal opinions on pre-contentious matters in the context of joint venture agreements involving airline companies
- Competition self-assessments
- Representation of creditors in relationships with insolvent airlines, including with regard to the filing of claims
- Assistance to operators in the tourism and travel industry in dealing with extraordinary administration procedures, including on the entering into/extension of service supply agreements
- Obtainment of ENAC licenses and certificates required to carry out cargo air transportation
- Forensic investigations over aircraft manufacturers
- Insurance litigation on air accidents
- Litigation on aviation matters in the context of bankruptcies proceedings, including (i) repossession actions, (ii) claw-back actions, (iii) claim recovery.