Friday, April 24, 2003

WRITER/CONTACT: Gabriel Wilner, 706/542-5238, wilner@uga.edu Charles Hunnicutt, 202/736-2680, cahunnicutt@rkmc.com


ATHENS, Ga. - In April, the University of Georgia Dean Rusk Center - - International, Comparative and Graduate Legal Studies was the setting for a two-day conference at a critical point for the aviation industry and North American/European relations. Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Transportation Charles Hunnicutt said the high-powered group, which included leading industry, government and academic experts in aviation law and policy from both sides of the Atlantic, assembled to discuss some of the most controversial issues regarding the opening up of the aviation marketplace. "The conference identified those areas where continuing research is needed and where more intensive dialogue can lead to timely movement in policy for the improvement of the aviation system," Hunnicutt said.

The conference, Clearing the Way to a More Open Market, provided a forum for speakers and participants to tackle issues of immediate concern in the liberalization of the trans-Atlantic aviation arena. The current state of the aviation industry and means for addressing structural problems that hinder its operations was the initial subject of the meeting. A conference panel then examined ways to support the development of aviation safety and security in international services. Industry leaders broke out in lively discussion regarding regulations that limit ownership and control of airlines to nationals of the airline's home country. The conference concluded with the experts examining ways to accommodate the effects of different national labor laws and their impact on international air transport operations. Potential methods for coordinating the application of differing anti-trust laws were also discussed.

Executive Director of the Dean Rusk Center Gabriel Wilner said the conference was organized as an important part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the center. "It was appropriate to dedicate the conference to the Trans-Atlantic relationship as the late Secretary of State Dean Rusk, in whose name the center was founded, was one of its strongest supporters. I believe the high level of discussion of complex and challenging issues in this area of the trans-Atlantic relationship did justice to the aims of the center and conference organizers," Wilner said.

The proceedings will shortly appear in audio and print on the center's Web site, http://www.uga.edu/ruskcenter. For a more details on the topics of the conference, speakers and panelists, please visit the conference's Web site at http://www.uga.edu/ruskcenter/aviation.html.