Monthly Archives: January 2014

President Signs Small Airplane Revitalization Act

The President signed into law the Small Airplane Revitalization Act. The law aims to cut certification costs for aircraft under 12,500 pounds by updating Part 23 regulations relating to aircraft components and technology. The law adopted many of the recommendations of the joint industry-government Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) which was charged with revising the certification requirements. The FAA has until the end of 2015 to implement the ARC recommendations.

Comments to DOT’s Proposed Rule on Consumer Information Regarding On-Demand Taxi Operations

Those in the air charter community have issued comments in response to the DOT’s NPRM on Consumer Information Regarding On-Demand Taxi Operations.  A summary of some of the comments follows:

·     A registry program should be available which would serve as a vehicle through which customers and the rest of the private air industry could vet potential air charter brokers. Information in the registry should include: information on the air charter broker, class of aircraft that is entitled to a broker, level of liability insurance, whether it acts as an indirect air carrier, agent for the customer or agent for the direct air carrier, and accident history.

·     The rule should clarify what constitutes a broker versus an agent since an agent would fall outside the scope of the rule. When acting as an agent for a charterer, an actual charter customer (not the broker-agent) should be required to sign agreements for carriage with the direct air carrier.

·     Indirect air carriers involved in air medical transport services should not be exempt from the rule. They should be required to disclose the air medical transport services medical/hospital affiliation as well as the aircraft operator.

·     The rule would unduly burden air taxis and commuter carriers and are unnecessary since charterers are sophisticated entities that are capable of protecting their own interests and do not need consumer protections.

·     Air charter brokers operating under a GSA Schedule contract should not have to obtain a certificate of authority since no member of the public can purchase a ticket under a GSA contract flight.

OSHA Training Requirement Goes Into Effect

Per our August newsletter, as of December 1, 2013, flight departments must ensure that employees are trained on OSHA’s revised Hazard Communication Standard. The revised rule implements a new labeling system for hazardous chemicals and requires employers to train employees on the new system. Specifically, employees must understand  the following information on labels: product identifier, signal word, pictogram, hazard statement, and precautionary statement. Employees must also know how to use the information on safety data sheets. In addition, employers must present this information to employees in an understandable format, whether or not they speak English or are literate.

IRS Increases Federal Excise Taxes for 2014

The IRS made inflation adjustments to federal excise taxes (FET) on commercial and private air transportation services effective January 1, 2014. Most non-commercial operators pay FET on fuel used to operate the aircraft, whereas commercial operators collect FET from customers based on the amount paid for the service. Please note that operators should consult IRS rules to determine what constitutes a commercial flight as the IRS and FAA have differing interpretations.

 

2013

2014

Percentage Tax

7.5%

7.5%

Domestic Segment Fee

$ 3.90

$ 4.00

International Arrival/Departure Fee

$17.20

$17.50

Hawaii/Alaska Flight           

$ 8.60

$ 8.70

TSA Repair Station Rule Published

The Transportation Security Administration’s long awaited “TSA repair station rule” was published in the Federal Register on Monday, January 13, 2014. Congress, via the Vision 100-Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act, required the TSA to promulgate regulations that would improve the security of domestic and foreign aircraft repair stations by 2004. Nearly a decade later, the required regulations have been published, thus ending a five-year ban on the certification of new foreign repair stations.

 The regulations codify the scope of TSA’s existing inspection authority and require repair stations certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration under 14 CFR part 145 to allow TSA and Department of Homeland Security officials to enter, conduct inspections, and view and copy records as needed to carry out TSA’s security-related statutory and regulatory responsibilities. The regulations also do the following: (1) require repair stations to comply with security directives when issued by TSA; (2) implement a limited number of security measures for certain repair stations; (3) establish procedures for TSA to notify repair stations of any deficiencies with their security measures and to determine whether a particular repair station presents an immediate risk to security; and (4) include procedures for a repair station to seek review of a determination by TSA that the station has not adequately addressed security deficiencies or that the repair station poses an immediate risk to security.

 The rule’s full gambit of strict security measures will only apply to “high risk” repair stations located on or adjacent to an airport, and foreign repair stations will have to complete a four-question audit that will help TSA determine whether security measures are required. Some of the security measures for “high risk” repair stations include designating points of contact who are available 24/7 and providing for acceptable means of securing aircraft such as blocking its path or locking it in a hanger.

 The full rule is available at the following link:

 http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-01-13/pdf/2014-00415.pdf