Monthly Archives: April 2014

FINES UPDATE

The following fines have recently been issued by DOT:

JetBlue Airways Corporation. – $25,000

Jet Blue was fined $25,000 for violating 14 C.F.R. Part 254.  An investigation by DOT’s Enforcement Office revealed that in August 2013, JetBlue dispensed boarding passes from its airport kiosks that included a statement that the limit on domestic baggage liability was $2,500, which is outdated information.  The correct limit on domestic baggage liability is $3,400.  DOT found that the outdated baggage liability amount was being printed at 44 different kiosks.

Global Target International Inc., d/b/a GTS Globotours. – $80,000

GTS Globotours, a ticket agent, was fined $80,000 by DOT for violating DOT’s advertising rules.  An investigation by the Department revealed that several Globotours advertisements failed to state the full fare and also noted that advertised prices were subject to post-sale price increases even after final payment.  DOT determined that during 2012 and 2013 Globotours published daily advertisements on its own and other websites promoting packages that did not include the entire price to be paid by the consumer.  The prices advertised also failed to include service and/or booking fees and that numerous restrictions applied.

Charter by the Seat LLC – $30,000

Charter by the Seat was fined $30,000 for failing to properly maintain an escrow account and improperly using charter participant funds, which violated both 14 C.F.R. Part 380 and 49 U.S.C. § 41712.  Charter by the Sea is a public charter company that operates between Florida and the Bahamas.  DOT’s Enforcement Office found in the course of an inspection that the company did not utilize its depository account for passenger funds as is required and did not present its depository bank with a flight-by-flight accounting in order to properly segregate charter participant funds.  The company also failed to submit the required certifications of flight completions to the bank as required by section 380.34 in order to receive payment after the completion of each flight.  Instead, participant funds were deposited directly into an account maintained by Pioneer Air Service, the direct air carrier.  In response to the investigation, Charter by the Sea has designated an employee as the “quality assurance manager” who will be trained and review the handling of all monies related to the public charter operations.

This Eckert Seamans Aviation Blog is intended to keep readers current on matters affecting businesses and is not intended to be legal advice. If you have any questions, please contact Evelyn Sahr ( esahr@eckertseamans.com   202-659-6622) or Drew Derco ( dderco@eckertseamans.com   202-659-6665).

WINTER SCHEDULING DEADLINE APPROACHING

In accordance with the International Air Transport Association’s Worldwide Slot Guidelines, FAA recently announced that the deadline for submitting 2014-2015 winter schedules for Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) is May 8, 2014.  The FAA is particularly concerned about planned passenger and cargo operations during peak hours but carriers may submit plans for the entire day, not just for peak hours.  Each carrier should submit scheduling information that identifies the operating carrier, flight number, scheduled time of arrival or departure, frequency and effective dates.  The winter season for the above-mentioned airports is from October 26, 2014 to March 28, 2015.

This Eckert Seamans Aviation Blog is intended to keep readers current on matters affecting businesses and is not intended to be legal advice. If you have any questions, please contact Evelyn Sahr ( esahr@eckertseamans.com   202-659-6622) or Drew Derco ( dderco@eckertseamans.com   202-659-6665).

UPDATES TO FAMILY ASSISTANCE PLANS

DOT recently fined Asiana Airlines $500,000 for failing to comply with its Family Assistance Plan following the July 2013 crash of Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport.  As Family Assistance Plan compliance is a focus of the Department in 2014, we are writing to provide you with additional information on Family Assistance Plans.

International carriers are required, under the Foreign Air Carrier Family Support Act of 1997, as amended by the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR-21) and the Vision 100-Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act (and 49 U.S.C. 41313), to develop a Family Assistance Plan for dealing with aviation disasters in the U.S. that result in the loss of life.

Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 41313, each carrier’s Family Assistance Plan must include 18 specific assurances, which we have listed below:

  •  Establish and publicize a toll free telephone number in the United States and in the carrier’s home country for the purposes of receiving accident related calls.  Staff phone number with carrier employees or contractors.
  • Compile a preliminary list of passengers based upon the best information available and provide list, upon request, to NTSB.
  • Provide notification to families of the passengers involved in the accident as soon as practicable after the passenger has been identified.
  • Comply with directives of NTSB, medical examiner, coroner or other designated authority to facilitate, recover and identify any fatally injured passengers.
  • Consult with the family of each passenger regarding their wishes as to the disposition of any remains or effects that are in possession or control of the carrier.
  • Provide assistance to family members of any passenger with accommodations, travel and meals in traveling to site of the accident.
  • Return any possessions to family members.
  • Consult the family of each passenger before the construction of any monument to the passengers.
  • Work with the Red Cross to ensure that families of passengers receive an appropriate level of services and assistance following an accident.
  • Commit sufficient personnel and finances for the execution of the Family Assistance Plan.
  • Provide adequate training to employees and agents to meet the needs of survivors and family members following an accident.
  • Consult the NTSB and the U.S. Department of State if carrier volunteers assistance to United States citizens within the United States for an aircraft accident outside of the United States.
  • Promptly provide notice, in writing, directly to the owner of any property that is significantly damaged.
  • Ensure all NTSB public hearings are made available for viewing.

It is especially important to ensure that each carrier has a working 800 number that can be initiated immediately following an incident and also that the contact information the carrier has on file with DOT and NTSB is up to date.  Should you have any questions or would like assistance with filing an updated plan with DOT and NTSB please let us know.

This Eckert Seamans Aviation Blog is intended to keep readers current on matters affecting businesses and is not intended to be legal advice. If you have any questions, please contact Evelyn Sahr ( esahr@eckertseamans.com   202-659-6622) or Drew Derco ( dderco@eckertseamans.com    202-659-6665).