Aerovias Interamer. De Panama v. Board of County Com'rs

CourtUnited States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
Citation197 F. Supp. 230
Docket Number9820-M.,Civ. No. 8990-M
PartiesAEROVIAS INTERAMERICANAS DE PANAMA, S.A.; Aerolineas Peruanas, S.A.; Compania Cubana De Aviacion, S.A.; Compania Ecuatoriana De Aviacion, S.A.; Empresa Guatemalteca De Aviacion; Empresa De Transportes Aerovias Brasil, S.A.; Expreso Aereo Inter-Americano, S.A.; Guest Aerovias Mexico, S.A.; Lineas Aereas De Nicaragua, S.A.; Lloyd Aereo Colombiano; Rutas Aereas Nacionales, S.A.; and Transportes Aereos Nacionales, S.A., Plaintiffs, v. BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, Acting as Dade County Port Authority, Defendant. CUBA AEROPOSTAL, S.A., Plaintiff, v. BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, Acting as Dade County Port Authority, Defendant.
Decision Date20 September 1961

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Philip Schleit, Washington, D. C., J. Leo McShane, Miami, Fla., for plaintiffs.

Thomas G. Spicer, Paul G. Hyman, Miami, Fla., for defendants.

LIEB, District Judge.

This case involves two consolidated suits by various foreign airline companies, as plaintiffs, against the defendant, as operator of the Miami International Airport, in which the plaintiffs seek to enjoin the defendant from enforcing its presently prevailing rate schedule imposed upon the plaintiffs, claiming that the rate schedule violates the applicable provisions of the Chicago Convention (61 Stat. 1180) as well as the applicable provisions of certain Bilateral Air Transport Service Agreements (hereinafter referred to as Service Agreements).

The plaintiffs, now twelve in number, are all foreign airline corporations domiciled in various Latin American countries.

Plaintiff Aerovias Interamericanas De Panama, S.A. (hereinafter referred to as APA), is a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Republic of Panama.

Plaintiff Aerolineas Peruanas, S.A. (hereinafter referred to as APSA), is a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Republic of Peru.

Plaintiff Compania Cubana De Aviacion, S.A. (hereinafter referred to as Cubana), plaintiff Cuba Aeropostal, S.A. (hereinafter referred to as Cuba Aeropostal), and plaintiff Expreso Aereo Inter-Americano, S.A. (hereinafter referred to as Expreso), are corporations duly organized and existing under the laws of the Republic of Cuba.

Plaintiff Compania Ecuatoriana De Aviacion, S.A. (hereinafter referred to as CEA), is a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Republic of Ecuador.

Plaintiff Empresa Guatemalteca De Aviacion, S.A. (hereinafter referred to as Aviateca), is a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Republic of Guatemala.

Plaintiff Empresa De Transportes Aerovias Brasil, S.A. (hereinafter referred to as REAL), is a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Republic of Brazil.

Plaintiff Guest Aerovias Mexico, S.A. (hereinafter referred to as Guest), is a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Republic of Mexico.

Plaintiff Lloyd Aereo Colombiano (hereinafter referred to as Lloyd), is a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Republic of Colombia.

Plaintiff Rutas Aereas Nacionales, S.A. (hereinafter referred to as RANSA), is a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Republic of Venezuela.

Plaintiff Transportes Aereos Nacionales, S.A. (hereinafter referred to as TAN), is a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Republic of Honduras.

All plaintiffs are engaged in rendering international air services, and all plaintiffs except APSA have been operating between their countries of domicile and the United States for many years prior to the institution of this action, using the Miami International Airport, pursuant to their Foreign Air-Carrier Permits issued by the Civil Aeronautic Board of the United States (hereinafter referred to as C.A.B.). APSA obtained its permit from said agency to fly its aircraft into the United States shortly before the institution of this action and commenced its international air service operation on September 15, 1960, between Lima, Peru, and Miami, Florida, utilizing the facilities of the Miami International Airport since that date.

Defendant, the Board of County Commissioners of Dade County, Florida, acting as Dade County Port Authority (hereinafter referred to as Port Authority), is a political subdivision of the State of Florida created by Chapter 22963, Laws of Florida 1945, as amended by Chapter 24296, Laws of Florida 1947, and as further amended. The defendant is, and for many years has been, the owner and operator of certain real property and the improvements and facilities built thereon, located in Dade County, Florida, and known as the Miami International Airport.

History of the Airport

The Miami International Airport is presently the second largest airport in the United States in terms of international traffic, and it ranks sixth in terms of domestic passenger traffic. Due to its location, it affords the shortest connection for domestic airline service to international airline service, serving Latin America, of all the airports located in the southeast United States. Likewise, it affords the best connection in the southeast United States for both rail and air connections of cargo transportation in both domestic-international and international-domestic movements. The defendant operates said airport in its proprietary capacity, and collects charges from all airlines—foreign or domestic— using the airport. Defendant operates said airport under its own budget, meeting its operational expenses from its own revenues, and the general tax revenue of the State of Florida is not used for such purposes. Port Authorities created under similar laws are considered business corporations rather than governmental agencies. Broward County Port Authority v. Arundel Corp., 5 Cir., 206 F.2d 220, 223.

The original airport, a fraction of its present size, was owned by Pan American World Airways, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as Pan Am). In the latter part of 1945, the County of Dade issued certain revenue bonds in the total amount of $2,500,000, which bonds were sold shortly thereafter to Pan Am. Utilizing the proceeds of said sale, Dade County purchased the then existing airport from Pan Am for $2,500,000. In effect no money changed hands—Pan Am transferred title to the County in exchange for the bonds.

The airport so transferred consisted of 223 acres. Through diverse gifts from the United States Government, and through some additional purchases of large tracts made with funds provided by the United States Government, the original size increased considerably through the years.

The County, acting as Dade County Port Authority, took over the operation of the airport on January 1, 1946. Shortly prior to said date, on December 11, 1945, the defendant entered into a lease agreement for a term of 20 years commencing on January 1, 1946, and ending on December 31, 1965, with Pan Am for the rental of certain facilities of the airport. Effective the same date, defendant executed three other lease agreements, identical in form with the Pan Am lease, with the following airlines: Eastern Airlines, Inc., National Airlines, Inc. and Delta Airlines, Inc. These lines, together with Pan Am, will be referred to hereafter as the Big Four. At the time of the execution of these leases, Pan Am was the only United States airline, among the lessees just named, which then rendered international air services. National, the other member of the Big Four now flying internationally, did not do so until 1947.

On February 27, 1946, a fifth lease agreement, substantially identical in form with the Big Four leases, was entered into between the defendant and Taca Airways Agency, Inc., a service company for Taca, S.A., a foreign aircarrier, domiciled in the Republic of El Salvador. Taca used the airport in its international operation until about February, 1948, when it ceased permanently to operate its aircraft to Miami. Its lease was shortly thereafter terminated by mutual agreement of the parties.

It was not until 1955 that the third United States airline, Braniff International Airways, began scheduled international air services out of Miami.

On May 1, 1955, Pan Am and the defendant executed amendments to the original lease agreement of 1945, extending the term of said lease for thirty years from the date of completion of the new passenger terminal building, which date turned out to be 1959. Said amendments also included rental of space in the new terminal building and other real property, but continued the same basic schedule of fees and charges for the use of the airport facilities as they were determined by the original lease. These amendments, however, provided a revision of the landing charges for the period from January 1, 1965, through December 31, 1973, and a further revision for the period from January 1, 1974, through December 31, 1980, and again from January 1, 1981, until the end of the term of the lease. At the same time identical amendments were executed to all the leases between the defendant and the other members of the Big Four.

On October 1, 1946, defendant promulgated a resolution (hereinafter referred to as Resolution 56) setting the rates and charges applicable to all airlines except the Big Four for the use of the airport and its facilities. Resolution 56, as originally adopted, remained in full force and effect until it was amended on February 16, 1960, but said amendment did not affect the rates and charges as they were set in 1946, and these are currently paid by each of the plaintiffs, pursuant to the provisions of Resolution 56.

On or about July 21, 1955, the present plaintiffs Expreso, Aeropostal, RANSA and TAN, and four other small foreign airlines, not parties to this action, filed their complaints with the C.A.B. requesting the...

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9 cases
  • City and County of San Francisco v. Western Air Lines, Inc.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • May 28, 1962
    ...1813, 2208, 2279; 1955 U.S. Code Congressional & Administrative News, p. 2599).11 In Aerovias Interamer. De Panama v. Board of County Com'rs (D.C.Fla.1961) 197 F.Supp. 230, 14 foreign and 4 domestic airlines brought an action for injunctive relief and recovery of overcharges against the sam......
  • Earl v. Boeing Co.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Texas
    • January 27, 2021
    ...Inc. , No. 89-0768, 1990 WL 236080, at *3 (D.D.C. Dec. 21, 1990) (Article 13); Aerovias Interamericanas De Pan., S.A. v. Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs of Dade Cnty., Fla. , 197 F. Supp. 230, 248 (S.D. Fla. 1961) (Article 15), rev'd sub nom. on other grounds Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs of Dade Cnty., Fla. v......
  • Earl v. Boeing Co.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Texas
    • January 27, 2021
    ...236080, at *3 (D.D.C. Dec. 21, 1990) (Article 13); Aerovias Interamericanas De Pan., S.A. v. Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs of Dade Cnty., Fla., 197 F. Supp. 230, 248 (S.D. Fla. 1961) (Article 15), rev'd sub nom. on other grounds Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs of Dade Cnty., Fla. v. Aerolineas Peruanasa, S.A.,......
  • Air Transport Ass'n v. City of Los Angeles
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Central District of California
    • February 15, 1994
    ...contention that the Bilateral Agreements are self-executing. The strongest of these cases is Aerovias Interamericanas De Panama, S.A. v. Board of County Comm'rs, 197 F.Supp. 230 (S.D.Fla.1961), rev'd on other grounds, 307 F.2d 802 (5th Cir.1962). In Aerovias, the court found that Article 15......
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1 books & journal articles
  • 28 USC s. 1782 IN AID OF FOREIGN ARBITRATION: "A TRIBUNAL BY ANY OTHER NAME".
    • United States
    • St. Thomas Law Review Vol. 34 No. 1, September 2021
    • September 22, 2021
    ...Mixed Arbitral Tribunal). (64) See generally Aerovias Interamericanas De Panama, S.A. v. Bd. Of County Com'rs of Dade County, Fla., 197 F. Supp. 230 (S.D. Fla. 1961), rev'd, 307 F.2d 802 (5th Cir. 1962) (referencing "arbitral tribunal" throughout the analysis and (65) See generally Aboitiz ......

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