IBA Aviation Law Committee: Meet and Greet

Monday 6 September 2021

Ajay Kumar

RNC Legal, India


With a view to facilitate discussions and increase networking, the International Bar Association (IBA) Aviation Law Committee (ALC) organised its first virtual Meet and Greet event on Thursday 29 July 2021 via Zoom under the dynamic leadership of Ms Serap Zuvin, the Chair of ALC. The event was well attended with participation from a large number of lawyers from the aviation industry.

The session commenced with an interesting and informative presentation on the world’s largest flying machine, the innovative Airlander 10 by Mr Nick Allman, Chief Operating Officer of Hybrid Air Vehicles, a company that is highly motivated to develop hybrid aircraft through a culmination of advanced lighter air technology and efficiency. Designed primarily as an airship for military surveillance, with the capability to provide data and information with in-built censors, it is now projected for mass production for civil application. A combination of buoyant lift, that is inert helium, aerodynamic lift and vectored thrust not only makes the vehicle eye-catching, but also provides for a larger payload capacity and flight endurance. What makes the Airlander unique as an airship is the ability to land and take off on any surface, which includes land and waterborne operations without the need for paved runways. With its retractable landing skids, the vehicle can land on unbelievable surfaces such as ice and snow! The Airlander 10 offers a mini cruise liner experience with its large cabin size accommodating up to 100 passengers, with aisle seats for each passenger and a personal dining and lounge area with an ultra-low noise, low vibration and low turbulence in-flight experience. Since the aviation industry is a significant contributor of global carbon emissions, this innovative airship is committed to zero carbon emissions with usage of less fuels and currently delivers up to 75 per cent fewer CO2 emissions than a conventional airplane. It also aims at 90 per cent CO2 reduction in 2025 with hybrid-electric configuration and cell powered electric engines. From a legal perspective, the Airlander 10 complies with International Civil Aviation Organization standards, policies and rules. Overall, a culmination of low emissions mobility, a powerful technology and experiential travel make the Airlander 10 an unparalleled air vehicle, a vehicle that changes perspectives on what is possible in aviation!

This attention-grabbing presentation also invited some curious questions from the audience for the speaker. These included: how does the Airlander 10 contribute to reach the objectives proposed by the European Commission Mobility Strategy? What are Airlander’s operational limits in terms of altitude and wind speed? Interestingly, the Airlander 10 operates below 10,000 feet in passenger mode and is capable of going over 20,000 feet. It is faster than any other proposed technology and uses sustainable aviation fuels in order to contribute towards achieving a safe, accessible and affordable transport system.

Following the remarkable presentation, it was time for the Meet and Greet session which was well moderated by the immediate past chair of the ALC, Mr Alan Reitzfeld. The session commenced with introduction of ALC officers, the Chair, Ms Serap Zuvin, Membership Officer, Ms Anna Masutti, Vice-Chair, Ms Brenda Nichols, Secretary, Ms Linda G Lee, Treasurer, Mr Gerard Melling, Publications Officer, Ms Jeanette L Pinard, Website Officer, Mr Ben Graham-Evans, Conference Quality Officer, Mr Ajay Kumar and Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Mr Neil Montgomery. The floor was then open for discussion with the participants and members as to how the ALC could improve and what could be done to reach out to the larger community of aviation lawyers. For those interested in writing and publishing articles with IBA, the publication process was also explained to the members and participants.

Lastly, ALC officers discussed the benefits of their involvement with the IBA as members and as officers of ALC, which included a global platform to present oneself and increased networking, especially given the current pandemic restrictions. In addition to these, the IBA is a great opportunity for personality development as it provides you with the chance to harness your skills and boost your confidence as a lawyer.

Overall, the first Meet and Greet event of the IBA ALC was indeed a learning, fun-filled and interactive experience. Stay tuned for our upcoming events including joint sessions with the IBA Mediation and the Maritime Committee, and a webinar on ‘Hot Topics in Aviation’, in collaboration with the Lawyers-Pilots Bar Association, the New Jersey State Bar Association Aviation Law Committee and the New York City Bar Association Aeronautics Committee.