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OST Docket Filings for January 15, 2015

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January 16, 2015 4:43 PM Pacific Time

Applications and Renewals:

None

Answers and Replies:

2014 SCASD - Ex-Parte Letters

EAS at Alliance and Chadron, NE - Proposals of Boutique Air, Gem Air, Great Lakes and ViaAir / DOT Request for Community Comments

EAS at Angoon, Tenakee, Elfin Cove and Pelican, AK - Objection of Juneau Chamber of Commerce

Reciprocity Confirmations - Confirmation of Austrian Civil Aviation Authority

Notices of Action Taken:

None

Notices and Orders:

Practice Regarding Proposed Airline Mergers and Acquisitions - Notice of Explanation

Southwest - Consent Order (Tarmac Delay Violations)

US-Cuba - Notice Advising on Expansion of Opportunities

US-Tokyo (Haneda) - Order on Reconsideration




2014 Small Community Air Service Development Program

OST-2014-0113

Ex-Parte Letters to:

Springfield, Illinois Mayor Michael Houston

Congressman Bill Cassidy (LA-6)
Congressman Bill Flores (TX-17)

By: Anthony Foxx

Index

 

2010 US-Tokyo (Haneda) Combination Services Allocation Proceeding

Order 2015-1-14
OST-2010-0018

Issued and Served January 15, 2015

Order on Reconsideration

The Department has decided to grant Delta’s petition for reconsideration, and on reconsideration, to deny the relief requested. In reaching this result, we are following a longstanding Department precedent. Specifically, in Order 1997-11-35 we instituted the 1997 US-Argentina All-Cargo Frequency Proceeding to consider, among other things, whether we should reallocate frequencies then held by Challenge Air Cargo. Challenge argued that it had “used [its] frequencies within the 90-day dormancy period, which is the only established requirement, and that the Department cannot now impose additional standards to establish whether the frequencies are dormant.” Order 1997-11-35 at 5. The Department rejected Challenge’s position and maintained the proceeding, saying it need not make a determination regarding the dormancy condition because “we are instituting this proceeding under our general powers to review the public interest bases of the current awards.” Challenge petitioned for reconsideration, seeking rescission of the instituting order or modification of the proceeding. On reconsideration, the Department granted Challenge’s petition and denied the requested relief. Order 1997-12-19. We see nothing in Delta’s petition that would cause us to follow a different course here.

As indicated in Order 2014-12-9, the Department has determined that, in light of Delta’s extensive winter-season cutbacks, and the submissions filed on the record in this case, the public interest requires a fresh examination of whether the best use of the Seattle-Haneda opportunity is to allow Delta to retain its underlying authority to operate the slot pair for Seattle-Haneda service, or whether the public interest would be better served by reallocating the slot pair for service from another US city by another US carrier or by Delta. Delta has presented no information that would lead the Department to alter that conclusion.

The Department has instituted this proceeding under its general powers to review the public interest bases of current awards. The Department believes that procedures established in Order 2014-12-9, will provide Delta, as well as any other interested carriers, ample opportunity to argue its position and present any evidence it may wish to present.

By: Susan Kurland

Index




Essential Air Service at Alliance and Chadron, Nebraska

OST-2000-8322


January 14, 2015

Proposal of Boutique Air

Our proposal would be flown in nine-seat, modern, pressurized Pilatus PC12 aircraft. The term is two years.

Alliance:
12 nonstop RT weekly AIA-DEN
Subsidy: $2,359,650

Chadron:
12 nonstop RT weekly CDR-DEN
Subsidy: $2,407,815

By: Shawn Simpson




January 14, 2015

Proposal of Gem Air

In response to Department of Transportation Order 2014-11-10, requesting proposals from carriers interested in providing Essential Air Service at Alliance and/or Chadron, Nebraska, Gem Air, LLC is pleased to present an air service proposal for both communities.

In the following proposal Gem Air offers to provide both communities with 12 non-stop, weekly, round trip flights to Denver International Airport. The total annual subsidy under this offer would be $3,177,640 and the proposal for each community is submitted on an inseparable basis. Gem Air requests a 2 year contract with a service start date of September 14, 2015.

By: David Schroeder, 208-756-7382




January 14, 2015

Proposal of Great Lakes Aviation
Bid Service Points Hub Served Round Trips Equipment Subsidy Requirement
1 Alliance & Chadron Denver 2 9-seat Beech 1900D $2,998,295
2 Alliance & Chadron Denver 2 19-seat Beech 1900D $2,690,607


By: Michael Matthews, 307-432-7000




November 20, 2014

Proposal of ViaAir

Our proposal includes the use of Denver International as the hub.

Option 1 – Two 9 Pax airplanes, each servicing one community with Via Airlines as the contracting carrier and operator. Award of this option can be done under the regular EAS program.

Option 2 – 30 Pax airplane servicing both communities with ViaAir as the contracting and the Indirect Air Carrier operating under DOT Regulation 14 CFR 380 together with its subsidiary Via Airlines as the Direct Air Carrier offering service on 30 Pax EMB-120. Award of this option needs to be under the AEAS.

By: Irit Vizer




January 15, 2015

DOT Request for Community Comments

In anticipation of the current contract’s expiration on May 31, 2015, the Department issued Order 2014-11-10 soliciting proposals from carriers to provide EAS at Alliance and/or Chadron, NE, for a new contract period beginning June 1, 2015. In response to that Order, we received proposals from four carriers:

Great Lakes (the incumbent)
ViaAir
Gem Air
Boutique Air

Please carefully review the proposals and submit any comments you may have as soon as possible, but no later than February 18, 2015.

By: AJ Muldoon, 202-366-1058

http://www.destinationalliance.com/ - Alliance Municipal Airport
http://www.chadron-nebraska.com/transportation/municipal-airport.html - Chadron Municipal Airport

Index





Essential Air Service at Angoon and Tenakee and Elfin Cove and Pelican, Alaska

OST-2006-25542 - Angoon and Tenakee
OST-2002-11586 - Elfin Cove and Pelican

December 12, 2014

Objection of Juneau Chamber of Commerce

This letter is to express the Juneau Chamber of Commerce's objection to the portion of your Order 2014-9-13 dated September 22, 2014, which indicates the Department may be considering termination of subsidized essential air service from Tenakee Springs, Angoon, Elfin Cove and Pelican
to Juneau, Alaska.

Juneau has been an air service hub to communities in Northern Southeast Alaska for eighty years. Not only does in making such a substitution of Sitka for Juneau does USDoT disregard their own regulations, it disrupts 80 years of an established service pattern and it would also set a significant adverse precedent that could drastically impact service to rural Alaskan communities.

As noted by Don Pegues, Mayor of the City of Tenakee Springs "All of Tenakee's economic and social ties are with Juneau, not with Sitka." For many of these communities air service is a basic necessity and to make a substitution for a smaller place with less frequency would be socially and economically devastating to many of Southeast Alaska's communities.

By: Lance Stevens

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elfin_Cove_Seaplane_Base - Elfin Cove Seaplane Base
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelican_Seaplane_Base - Pelican Seaplane Base

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenakee_Seaplane_Base - Tenakee Seaplane Base
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angoon_Seaplane_Base - Angoon Seaplane Base

Index




Practice Regarding Proposed Airline Mergers and Acquisitions

Issued January 9, 2015 | On File at Federal Register January 15, 2015

Notice of Explanation

This Notice describes the US Department of Transportation’s practice and authorities with regard to airline mergers and acquisitions, including those that involve a transfer of slots. The Notice is not proposing any changes, new procedures, or new approaches.

With respect to slot transactions, this Notice relates to the DOT’s practice for reviewing slot transactions that result from proposed airline mergers or acquisitions. It does not apply to DOT’s review of standalone slot transactions. For more information regarding DOT’s authority and proposed procedures for reviewing standalone slot transactions at the New York City area airports, please see the notice of proposed rulemaking titled, Slot Management and Transparency for LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, and Newark Liberty International Airport, RIN 2120-AJ89, available in the docket for the rulemaking at www.regulations.gov.

By: Kathryn Thomson

FAA-2014-1073 - Slot Management and Transparency for LGA, JFK and EWR

Index




Reciprocity Confirmations

OST-2006-24269

January 13, 2015

Confirmation of Austrian Civil Aviation Authority

With reference to the intentions of Tyrolean Jet Services in continuing non-scheduted (charter) Air Services to/from the United States based on frfth, sixth or seventh freedom traffic rights and referring to the designation of the said airline the Austrian Civil Aviation Authority and according to the provisions of the bilateral Air Services Agreement (Air Services Agreement between the Austrian Federal Government and the Government of the United States of America, done at Vienna on 16th of March 1989, as amended), the Austrian Civil Aviation Authority hereby confirms that similar requests submitted by the US carriers will be treated on the basis of reciprocity

By: Silvia Gehrer

OST-2005-21805 - Tyrolean Jet Service - Foreign Air Carrier Permit - Austria-US Charter Passenger

http://www.bmvit.gv.at/bmvit/en/verkehr/aviation/

Index




Southwest Airlines Co.

Order 2015-1-10
OST-2015-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 USC §§ 42301 and 41712

Issued and Served January 15, 2015

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Southwest Airlines Co. of 14 CFR Part 259, the Department’s tarmac delay rule; 49 USC § 42301, which requires adherence to a carrier’s emergency contingency plan; and 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. Specifically, the carrier violated the Department’s tarmac delay rule by failing to adhere to the assurances in its contingency plan for lengthy tarmac delays that the carrier (1) would not allow an aircraft to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours for domestic flights before providing passengers an opportunity to deplane, and (2) would have sufficient resources to implement its plan. This order directs Southwest to cease and desist from future similar violations of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 USC §§ 42301 and 41712 and assesses the carrier $1,600,000 in civil penalties.

Southwest operates scheduled service at Chicago Midway International Airport, a large hub airport, and has adopted a contingency plan for lengthy tarmac delays covering its scheduled passenger operations at MDW. As the largest airline operating at MDW, Southwest leases twenty-nine of the forty-three gates at MDW and represents 92% of the traffic at MDW. Southwest has adopted a contingency plan for lengthy tarmac delays covering its scheduled operations at Chicago-MDW. This plan stipulates that in the event of a 120 minute taxi-in delay, the carrier should make every attempt to deplane customers and the carrier should consider the following: towing flights away from gates that have not started the boarding process, reducing inbound flight traffic, designating one gate to be used to deplane flights if there are several flights approaching the 180 minute mark, and/or deplaning passengers at an alternative site.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed that on January 2, 2014, into January 3, 2014, sixteen Southwest flights experienced lengthy tarmac delays at MDW in excess of three hours. Southwest was responsive throughout the Department’s investigations and promptly provided the Department with requested information. With the exception of its failure to adhere to assurances that it would not allow passengers to remain on the tarmac for more than 3 hours and that it would have sufficient resources available to carry out its Tarmac Delay Contingency Plan, Southwest fulfilled all of the other assurances outlined in its Tarmac Delay Contingency Plan.

The Enforcement Office has learned that a contributing factor to the tarmac delays was a severe winter weather event at MDW that began on December 31, 2013, and lasted until January 2, 2014. Although approximately 12.3 inches of snow accumulated during the multi-day snow event, the two main runways used for air carrier operations at MDW remained open and operational. During the snow event, the three general aviation operation runways at MDW were closed for landing, but were available as taxi routes and for aircraft parking.

In addition to severe weather on January 2nd, Southwest experienced a malfunctioning of its crew scheduling system and an unexpected shortage of staff, particularly the carrier’s ramp-crew. Southwest’s ramp crew is responsible for baggage handling, de-icing, snow removal, and marshaling aircraft to and from the gates. The absence of some of Southwest’s ramp crew inhibited the carrier’s ability to clear aircraft from Southwest’s gates in a timely manner to accommodate arriving flights. At the time the sixteen flights at issue arrived at MDW, between 10:15 p.m. and 11:01 p.m., an employee shift change had taken place and the small ramp crew that remained made it impossible for Southwest to clear and prepare gates for the arriving flights in a timely manner. The Enforcement Office is not disputing, nor is this order based upon, Southwest’s assertion that it could not safely deplane passengers at that time.

Based on the information obtained during its investigation, the Enforcement Office has concluded that Southwest violated the Department’s tarmac delay rule and this matter warrants enforcement action.

By: Blane Workie

http://www.southwest.com/

Index




US-Cuba

Served January 15, 2015

Notice Advising on Expansion of Opportunities

By this Notice, the Department advises on how it intends to implement the expanded opportunities for flights between the United States and Cuba, as announced by the President on December 17, 2014.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control within the Department of the Treasury is publishing revised Cuban Assets Control Regulations, effective January 16, 2015, which, among other things, provide for expanded opportunities for authorized travel between the United States and Cuba. Under the revised regulations, travelers who meet the requirements of one of the new or expanded general licenses set forth in the 12 authorized categories of travel2 will not require specific case-by-case OFAC approval to engage in travel-related transactions involving Cuba. Furthermore, while U.S. flights to Cuba have been limited to charter operations, the revised regulations will no longer preclude scheduled operations. The Department anticipates that a number of US air carriers will be interested in taking advantage of these new opportunities.

In this regard, and consistent with the revised regulations, the US Government will engage with the Government of Cuba to assess our aviation relations and establish a bilateral basis for further expansion of air services. With regard to US carrier authority to serve Cuba, the Department has previously stated that, at such time as scheduled services could again be undertaken in the US-Cuba market, we would take a fresh look at the market. The Department has also stated that, in reviewing the market in light of the changed circumstances, including the updated bilateral relations with Cuba, any carrier holding long-dormant US-Cuba authority would enjoy no advantage.

Against this background, we are deferring the activation of any existing unused scheduled authority to serve Cuba, as well as any new applications to serve Cuba, until further order of the Department.

Nothing in this Notice is intended to interfere with U.S.-Cuba charter services, either as previously authorized or as may now be possible under the revised OFAC regulations.

By: Susan Kurland

Index


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