Compliance Countdown: November 2013

 - November 4, 2013, 3:10 AM

Within 6 Months

Nov. 29, 2013:

Enhanced Consumer Protections for Charter Air Transportation

In this notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), the Department of Transportation seeks comment on four new proposals to strengthen the legal protections provided to consumers of charter air transportation. First, this proposal would require air taxis and commuter air carriers that sell charter air transportation but rely on others to perform that air transportation, to make certain consumer disclosures as recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board. This would include the actual air carrier operating the flight, the aircraft to be used and total trip costs (including applicable fees) among other details.

The NPRM also lists several activities that the agency deems to be prohibited as unfair and deceptive practices, including representations leading customers to believe a particular carrier has operational control when that is not the case. The proposal would also create a new class of indirect air carriers to be called “air charter brokers” to provide as principals single-entity charter air transportation of passengers aboard large and small aircraft. In addition, this NPRM would codify the exemption authority granted to indirect air carriers to engage in the sale of air transportation related to air ambulance services. Finally, the NPRM would make clear and codify that certain air services performed under contract with the federal government are in common carriage.

Jan. 14, 2014:

Flight Crewmember Duty and Rest Requirements

This final rule amends the FAA’s existing flight, duty and rest regulations applicable to certificate holders operating under domestic, flag and supplemental operations rules. The new requirements eliminate the current distinctions among domestic, flag and supplemental passenger operations and are based on time of day, whether an individual is acclimated to a new time zone and the likelihood of being able to sleep under different circumstances. This rule places a joint responsibility on the certificate holder and each flight crewmember to report for a flight duty period (FDP) properly rested. For the crewmember to report properly rested, the certificate holder must provide the crewmember with a meaningful rest opportunity that will allow the crewmember to get the proper amount of sleep. Likewise, the crewmember bears the responsibility of actually sleeping. A pilot who reports for duty without being properly rested is prohibited from beginning or continuing an FDP until he or she is properly rested.

Within 12 Months

July 4, 2014:

Taws Equipage for Canadian Aircraft with Six or More Passenger Seats

Transport Canada (TC) announced on July 4, 2012, new regulations that would improve safety for small aircraft that fly into remote wilderness or mountainous areas where the danger of flying into terrain is highest. Under the new regulations, commercial operators will have to install a terrain awareness and warning system (Taws) in turbine-powered airplanes with six or more passenger seats. Operators will have two years from implementation to equip their airplanes with Taws. The regulations comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s standards and bring Canadian regulations close to those of other aviation authorities, including the U.S. and European Union. Canada’s TSB also recommended the wider use of Taws to help pilots assess their proximity to terrain. Operators will have five years to equip with an enhanced altitude accuracy function.

Beyond 12 Months

Jan. 1, 2017:

European Union Tcas Version 7.1 Rule

The FAA has published an Information for Operators regarding an EU mandate that certain operators use the latest version 7.1 of the traffic alert and collision avoidance system (Tcas II) software. Although the International Civil Aviation Organization does not require that version 7.1 software be installed for international flights in new and existing aircraft until Jan. 1, 2014, and Jan. 1, 2017, respectively, the EU mandated that all aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of more than 12,500 pounds or with an authorized capacity to carry 19 passengers have the upgrade installed by March 1 this year. However, aircraft with Tcas II version 7.0 that were certified before March 1 this year have an extended deadline of Dec. 1, 2015, to comply with the mandate. The FAA recommends that operators of aircraft with Tcas II installed and that plan on operating in EU airspace need to ensure that version 7.1 software is installed to comply with the EU implementing rule.