Report on the ‘Hot topics in aviation 2021’ virtual event

Thursday 13 January 2022

Gerard Melling

M&T Aviation USA Inc, Los Angeles


Report on the joint session of the International Bar Association Aviation Law Committee, the New York City Bar Association Aeronautics Committee, the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association and the New Jersey State Bar Association Aviation Law Committee that took place on Thursday 7 October 2021

Session Chair

Serap Zuvin Cakmak Law, Istanbul


Erin Applebaum Kreindler, New York, New York

Austin Murnane Blue Origin, New York, New York

Laura Pierallini Studio Pierallini, Rome


Maria Manoli McGill University, Montreal

Gerard Melling M&T Aviation USA Inc, Los Angeles, California

Brad Meisel McElroy Deutsch, Morristown, New Jersey

Mikie Sherrill House Committee for Science, Space, and Technology, Washington, DC

Phil Weissman Clyde & Co, New York, New York

This was the third time the International Bar Association (IBA) Aviation Law Committee had partnered with the New York City Bar Association Aeronautics Committee (NYCB) for an event; the NYCB has a diverse group of members, including litigators and pilots, so it is always an interesting and unique experience. The programme can be found here.

After introductions, including by IBA Aviation Law Committee Chair Serap Zuvin, the meeting kicked off – impressively – with United States Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, a member of the House Committee for Science, Space, and Technology, talking in particular about space debris provision, and this was followed by the first panel expanding on that topic with Maria Manoli of the Institute of Air and Space Law of McGill University (Austin Murnane, Blue Origin, was the moderator), noting the origins of a lot of space debris (eg, the Chinese weather satellite deliberately destroyed by a missile, but releasing a massive amount of debris), and that there are no United Nations rules or action and no enforcement.

IBA involvement was in the second panel on the Recovery of the Aviation Industry from Covid-19. It was moderated by the distinguished Laura Pierallini (from Rome, like Zuvin, in a horrible time zone), who talked about the effects of Covid-19 on airlines in Europe, in particular, bankruptcies, current status, measures, passenger rights and the state aid picture. IBA Aviation Law Committee Treasurer Gerard Melling of M&T Aviation USA Inc presented a global view of the effect on lessors and airlines (including input from our Brazilian members Patricia Pupo and Neil Montgomery) and Brad Meisel talked about drones in a fascinating presentation that illustrated new areas of application.

The third panel was on developments in the Boeing 737 MAX litigation. It was fascinating to hear about what had been dug up in the MAX claims, particularly since the initial crashes and immediate aftermath. Lessors and airlines suffered groundings for almost two years, at least, and the story of the accidents and claims shed a sad light on the background.

We hope that the IBA can continue to participate in this event, which always has excellent presentations.