Saturday, November 29, 2014

Bill C-3 Proposes To Have Feds Undertake Regular Assessments Of Aviation war Risk Market

Bill C-3 Proposes To Have Feds Undertake Regular Assessments Of Aviation war Risk Market

A bill currently before a Senate committee would, if passed into law, allow the Canadian government to provide war risk liability coverage to Airlines and other Aviation firms, on short notice, if such coverage is not available through the commercial market, a government Official recently suggested.

If passed into law with no amendments, Bill C-3 would also allow Canada's Transport Minister to undertake regular assessments of the Aviation war risk insurance markets and decide if an indemnity is necessary, said Dave Dawson, Transport Canada's director of Airports and Air navigation services policy.

Dawson made his remarks in Ottawa Tuesday before the Senate's Standing Committee on Transport and Communications, which is studying Bill C-3, the Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies Act.

The Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications is holding hearings on Bill C-3, the Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies Act.

The House of Commons passed Bill C-3 last September. If the Senate passes it with no changes, Bill C-3 would make changes to the Aeronautics Act, the Canada Marine Act, the Marine Liability Act and the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.

In the marine market, Bill C-3 proposes to require ship owners to carry compulsory insurance and to establish strict liability, for shipowners, if hazardous or noxious substances are spilled.

Bill C-3 would also create a new law, called the Aviation Industry Indemnity Act.

The federal government currently provides some coverage for war risk to the Aviation industry, Dawson explained Nov. 25, during a committee hearing, in reply to a question from Manitoba Conservative Senator Don Plett.

"Now we have a program in place whereby the industry has to buy some insurance of its own for both general insurance and for war risk," said Dawson. The government then, if there is an incident, would top off or add money to the pot to cover the costs of the incident.

Dawson noted that Aviation firms are required by regulation, commercial contracts and for fiduciary reasons to have coverage for both war risks and general risks.

"General risk markets are not affected and do not need to be addressed by this bill, he said noting the commercial insurance market sometimes cover war risk.

One example of war risk was the September 11, 2001 attacks in Washington and New York City, Dawson suggested.

After those attacks, insurance providers invoked short term cancellation clauses for war risk coverage, leaving the Air industry in a predicament, Dawson noted. The absence of a workable legislative framework necessitated the government's use of the royal prerogative to provide the coverage the Aviation industry required.

Terrorist incidents such as the Sept. 11 attacks are unforeseeable and can be quite large, Dawson said. Because the Air insurance industry has, for a long time, been unwilling to bear that risk and those costs, the government has been stepping in to help.

Since then, Dawson added, "the insurance industry has rebounded and the government has been providing a program whereby we force the Airlines to go out and get some insurance and if something happens we will cover."

In its current form, Bill C-3 includes, as Aviation industry participants: Air carriers; NAV Canada (Canada's Air traffic control service); contractors providing Air navigation products and services; Airport owners and operators. It also applies to suppliers who "directly support the operation of Aircraft from an Airport," such as: freight forwarders; Airport security organizations; contractors who maintain and clean Aircraft; and contractors who load and unload passengers, baggage and cargo.

Bill C-3 proposes to let the government indemnify such firms against their loss or damage, or liability for loss or damage, that is caused by an "event," which is defined as either "an act of unlawful interference with an Aircraft, Airport or Air navigation facility, including an act of terrorism" or "an act or omission in the course of armed conflict, war, invasion, hostilities, civil war, revolution, rebellion, insurrection, an application of martial law, a usurpation or attempted usurpation of power, a civil commotion or a riot."

One example of where this could apply is if an Airplane on the ground moving away from a gate.

"If a bomb was detonated and that plane was near another plane, the other plane becomes a third party," Dawson said.

Bill C-3, Dawson added, "would allow the government to provide Aviation war risk liability coverage in a dependable and transparent manner.”

It also proposes to allow for “the tailoring of such assistance to the specific needs of individual industry participants and to rapidly adjust to changes in circumstances," said Dawson.

When asked for an example, Dawson said the government might want to provide transport for citizens out of Libya.

"That probably would occur on fAirly short notice, for the government to rent a plane that's a commercial plane, that commercial plane's insurance would not be valid," Dawson told the Senate committee. "The government would need to be able to say, 'I cover you. Go ahead and do what I asked you to do, please.' That's the sort of short notice that we were anticipating with this."

Bill C-3 also allows the federal government to tailor coverage to meet the individual needs of Aviation industry participants, Dawson suggested to the committee.

"This flexibility ensures that coverage remains available to Canada's Aviation industry when and if it is necessary,” he said. “If we found that today, for instance, the insurance industry is quite strong, the insurance companies are willing to offer the amounts that are required and anticipated, it's a question of why would the government offer a program to cover when the industry already has sufficient insurance."

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NSA Chief Warns China Could Launch Cyber Attack Against US Power, Water, Aviation Systems

NSA Chief Warns China Could Launch Cyber Attack Against US Power, Water, Aviation Systems

Adm. Michael Rogers, the head of the NSA and the top U.S. cyber security Official, warned Thursday that China and other unnamed countries could mount cyberattacks against the U.S. that could shut down key infrastructure systems.Getty Images
China and other foreign entities have the capacity to shut down computer systems that control key U.S. infrastructure, including power and water systems, the NSA chief said Thursday.

Adm. Michael Rogers made the comments while testifying before a congressional panel. Rogers said the U.S. had detected malware from China and “probably one or two other countries on systems that have critical importance to the U.S.' ability to provide key services.

It enables you to shut down very segmented, very tailored parts of our infrastructure that forestall the ability to provide that service to us as citizens, Rogers said, according to a report from CNN. 

Rogers also told the committee that U.S. adversaries were performing reconnaissance on American systems regularly, and that it is only a matter of when, not if, we are going to see something dramatic, according to the Associated Press.

Rogers testimony is the first time that the nation's top cyber security official has confirmed the possibility of such serious attacks taking place.

While Rogers did not name any other countries besides China in his testimony, he did not dispute that Russia and Iran had also infiltrated U.S. critical infrastructure to carry out
attacks, according to Bloomberg. 

Experts cited by Fox News said the U.S. is similarly capable of disrupting the systems of foreign countries, and claimed this amounted to a mutual deterrent.

China has been implicated in a large number of hacking attacks against U.S government departments and private companies. Earlier this month, a hacking attack on the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was attributed to China by some lawmakers.

Likewise, a major cyber-security breach earlier this month at the U.S. Postal Service was also suspected to be the work of Chinese hackers. 

In May of this year, the U.S. filed criminal charges against five members of China's People's Liberation Army for alleged hacking offenses.

the FBI warned that hackers backed by China's government were launching cyberattacks against U.S. businesses. China branded the allegations as unfounded.

Rogers testimony comes just days after the USA Freedom Act a bill that would have limited the agency's surveillance powers  was voted down in the U.S. Senate. While the bill would have limited the NSA's surveillance abilities, it also included an extension of the controversial Patriot Act, according to Zdnet. 

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The House T&I Committee Is Back In Action With A Morning Hearing on Next Year’s FAA Reauthorization

The House T&I Committee Is Back In Action With A Morning Hearing on Next Year’s FAA Reauthorization

The full committee hearing kicks off at 10 a.m. and witnesses include leaders of several top Aviation Groups and DOT IG Calvin Scovel. Rep. Rick Larsen, ranking member on the aviation subcommittee,told MT this hearing is just the latest in a series of steps he and aviation chairman Frank Lobiondo have taken to get the bill queued up before next year’s deadline. Because we have time to do it, we should do it. There’s no reason to wait until next year to start new hearings, he said. On the other side of the Capitol, members of the freight stakeholders coalition meet to brief Senate staffers on their reauthorization priorities. The freight panel, which includes rail, port and manufacturing representatives, will be moderated by our own Adam Snider. At lunchtime, former AAAE President Chip Barclay will receive an Aero Club award for his long career in the aviation industry. Barclay retired from AAAE last December after serving as the group’s president for 30 years.  

The Senate Banking Committee meets at 10 a.m. to vote on two administration posts,including the nomination of Therese McMillan to lead the FTA. Also in the morning,the NTSB meets to discuss the agency’s investigation into a handful of Metro-North accidents that have occurred since March 2013 and issue new railroad safety recommendations. Last month the NTSB released reports on each investigation and found a pattern of safety lapses in all five accidents, including the deadly Metro-North derailment in the Bronx last December. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Chuck Schumer and Chris Murphy have criticized the FRA for failing to properly oversee Metro-North and other railroads and have promised to introduce legislation on the issue. Also on Wednesday, the Farm Foundation holds a forum on transportation challenges in the ag industry with representatives from BNSF and the American Trucking Associations present.

The Senate Commerce Committee holds an afternoon hearing on the Takata airbag defect, which has been linked to at least five deaths and has resulted in the recall of about 8 million cars. Sen. Bill Nelson, likely the committee’s next ranking member and an outspoken critic of NHTSA’s handling of the recall, will lead the full committee hearing. The Thursday hearing will be Congress’ first crack at the airbag recall and lawmakers are sure to be tough on NHTSA, which has remained in congressional crosshairs this year over its handling of high profile recalls first with the GM ignition switch defect and most recently Takata.Also on Thursday, Norwegian Air CEO Bjorn Kjos speaks at the International Aviation Club luncheon.Kjos remarks come just a few days before DOT officials are scheduled to meet with the European Commission over NAI’s foreign carrier permit Application.

ONE-MONTH EXTENSION FOR GM VICTIM FUND The General Motors victim compensation fund will now accept injury and death claims related to its faulty Ignition switches through January, fund manager Ken Feinberg announced late Sunday night. The deadline to file claims was originally Dec. 31 but that date had been questioned, particularly by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, once it came to light that the family of at least one of the first victims identified by GM had not been notified of the link to the ignition switch recall until two weeks ago. GM has sent notices to 4.5 million car owners already and will be sending out information to an additional 850,000 newly registered owners this week. The one-month extension was done “out of an abundance of caution,” Feinberg said. GM issued a brief statement saying it agreed with Feinberg’s recommendation to extend the deadline. At least 33 people have died as a result of the faulty ignition switches, according to the New York Times. 

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