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IHK Award 2022

Award winner Jonas Flock with IHK President Peter Hähner (right) and IHK Managing Director Günter Jertz (left) (Photo: IHK Rheinhessen / Kristina Schäfer)

Outstanding performance by Jonas Flock receives award

Jonas Flock, a graduate of the master's degree program in Business Law – Employment Law and HR Management(LL.M.) of the School of Business at Mainz University of Applied Sciences, has received the Rheinhessen Chamber of Industry and Commerce 2022 Award for his thesis Der Betriebsübergang im Luftverkehrssektor (The Transfer of Operations in the Aviation Sector). The award, which is endowed with a total of 5,000 Euro, honors outstanding academic work that has been produced at a university in the Rhinehessen Chamber of Industry and Commerce region and is expected to be implemented directly or indirectly in business practice. A total of three young academics have been honored with the award. The award ceremony took place on January 19, 2023 at the IHK Rheinhessen in Mainz.

The liberalization of air traffic is leading to more and more acquisitions, restructurings, and insolvencies throughout Europe. As a result, the transfer of operations in the air transport sector is of great importance: According to the legislative authorities, it is supposed to ensure the continuity of employment relationships in the event of a change of ownership. The courts are hearing an increasing number of cases in which employees are appealing their terminations and seeking continued employment. The most well-known of these are the lawsuits in connection with the AirBerlin insolvency.

Despite the relevance of the topic, the unique aspects of the aviation sector in the transfer of operations are rarely discussed in academia. Moreover, since the courts of first instance rarely rule on the transfer of operations in the aviation sector, there is still no prevailing legal standard. The relevant European regulations on airline operations are only dealt with superficially, if at all, although they play a decisive role.

Jonas Flock’s master’s thesis, supervised by Prof. Dr. Katharina Dahm and rated “very good”, contains a depiction of actual flight operations from the point of view of a transfer of operations that has not previously existed in this form. All specific, relevant regulations for air traffic have been extensively researched and taken into account in the thesis. The work presented here helps to systematically understand the unique aspects of a transfer of operations in air traffic.

The chaos at the airports in the summer of 2022 exposed the shortage of personnel in the industry. The continuity of employment relationships through transfers of operations can keep the necessary skilled workers at the companies and slow down the ongoing exodus of personnel from the industry. “Jonas Flock’s excellent master’s thesis can raise the industry’s awareness of the problem of transfers of operations and provide a basis for discussion, such that it can be expected to be (in)directly implemented in the industry's practice,” stated Prof. Dr. Katharina Dahm.