•  FAA Dismisses Part 16 Complaint against the City of Cincinnati
    On September 12, 2014, the FAA issued a Director’s Determination dismissing a Part 16 complaint filed by a user of the now-closed Blue Ash Airport against Firm client the City of Cincinnati.  The Complaint alleged the City had illegally diverted proceeds from the sale of the Blue Ash Airport.  The City demonstrated that it had not spent any of the proceeds from the sale until after a prior sales agreement had been rescinded and the Blue Ash Airport closed.  Based on that showing, the FAA found that there had been no revenue diversion and dismissed the Complaint.  The FAA also reiterated that airport sponsors are not required to keep airport revenues in segregated, interest bearing accounts, although airport sponsors should be prepared to account for all airport revenues to demonstrate that airport revenues are spent for permitted airport purposes.  For a copy of the Director’s Determination, please click on the link below.
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  •  FAA Solicits Comments for Net Noise Reduction Method
    On August 19, 2014, FAA published a Notice and Request for Public Comment regarding Section 213(c)(2) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which directs FAA to file a Categorical Exclusion (CATEX) for any Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedure that would result in measurable reductions in fuel consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, and noise on a per flight basis.  FAA is now proposing the New Noise Reduction Method for determining whether a proposed PBN reduces noise.  Specifically, where the number of people who experience a noise reduction exceeds the number of people experiencing a noise increase, the proposed PBN reduces noise, and the application of the CATEX is reasonable.  FAA is now asking for public comment regarding the Net Noise Reduction Method and several suggested variations that also incorporate consideration of the magnitude of the noise level change.  See 79 Fed. Reg. 49, 141 (Aug. 19, 2014).
  •  New FAA Procedures for Enforcement Orders
    On August 12, 2014, the FAA announced an amendment to the procedures for issuing enforcement orders under 14 C.F.R. Part 13, including cease and desist orders, to provide an opportunity for an informal conference with an FAA attorney that may resolve, or narrow, the issues under investigation.  The amendment will go into effect on October 14, 2014, and the FAA has requested comments by September 11, 2014.  Specifically, the FAA proposes to amend 14 C.F.R. 13.20, which authorizes the FAA to issue orders of compliance and cease and desist orders for violations of a number of statutes, including the FAA Act, the Airport and Airway Development Act of 1970, and the Airport and Airway Improvement Act of 1982.  Section 13.20 does not apply to alleged violations of grant assurances, which are addressed in 14 C.F.R. Part 16, or to orders regarding certificate action or civil penalties, which are covered in other sections of Part 13.  A copy of the Federal Register notice announcing the new rule is available here.
  •  FAA Proposes to Clarify Policy on Aviation Fuel Taxes
    On November 21, 2013, FAA published notice of its intent to amend the Policy and Procedures Concerning the Use of Airport Revenue with regard to local taxes on aviation fuels.  By statute, local taxes on aviation fuels in effect after January 1988 are to be used only for airport purposes and state aviation programs.  The proposed changes would provide that the statutory limits (1) apply to both state and local aviation fuel taxes; (2) apply to any tax on aviation fuel, even if included in a broader tax on other products; (3) apply to taxes on aviation fuel dispensed at the airport, regardless of where the taxes are collected; and (4) apply to a new assessment or imposition of an aviation fuel tax, even if the tax could have been imposed before Dec. 30, 1987.  For a copy of the Federal Register notice, click here.
  •  DOT Publishes Final Rule Regarding Access to Air Travel For Disabled Passengers
    On November 12, 2013, the Department of Transportation issued a Final Rule regarding access to automated airport kiosks and air carrier websites for passengers with disabilities.  Certain restrictions now apply to airport operators that jointly own, lease, or control automated kiosks with U.S. and foreign air carriers.  Specifically, airport operators must now work with air carriers to ensure that all new automated kiosks installed after December 12, 2016 meet detailed design requirements.  This mandate applies until at least 25% of automated kiosks in each airport location meet those standards.  Additional provisions of the Final Rule apply to: (1) websites operated by both foreign and domestic air carriers; and (2) disclosure of information by travel agents.  For a copy of the Final Rule, click here.
  •  FAA Publishes Policy for On-Airport Solar Installations

    On October 23, 2013, FAA published its Interim Policy, FAA Review of Solar Energy System Projects on Federally Obligated Airports (the “Interim Policy”).  The Interim Policy clarifies and adds standards for the measurement of both “glint” and “glare” as presented in FAA’s Technical Guidance for Evaluating Selected Solar Technologies on Airports (the “Technical Guidance”), originally published in 2010.  Specifically, the Interim Policy clarifies an airport sponsor’s obligation to file FAA Form 7460-1 for all proposed on-airport solar installations, provides standards for ocular impact of solar installations, and identifies a computer-based tool for assessing ocular impact.  FAA intends to finalize the Interim Policy and include the standards for ocular impact in an update to the Technical Guidance that will be published later this year.  For a complete copy of the Interim Policy, please click here.

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  •  FAA Dismisses Complaint Against Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority

    On October 4, 2013, the FAA Director of the Office of Airport Compliance and Management Analysis dismissed a complaint filed under FAR Part 16 by an FBO against the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority.  The Complainant alleged multiple violations of the Grant Assurances as a result of Respondent’s decision to develop a sponsor-owned, privately managed FBO at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.  The Director found that Respondent has not violated any of the Grant Assurances in connection with its development of the FBO facility, selection of an FBO to manage and operate the facility, and amendment of the Airport Minimum Standards.  For a copy of the Director’s Determination, click here.

  •  FAA Updates FAR Part 16

    On September 12, 2013, FAA published amendments to 14 CFR Part 16, Rules of Practice for Federally-Assisted Airport Enforcement Proceedings. FAR Part 16 contains the procedures for filing and adjudicating complaints against airport sponsors for violations of the Grant Assurances and other federal obligations. This is the first amendment to Part 16 since its adoption in 1996. For a copy of the Federal Register notice, click
    here. For a copy of Kaplan Kirsch’s publication summarizing the changes and providing a complete copy of the amended rule, click here.

  •  Court Upholds Long Island Helicopter Route

    On July 12, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a petition by Helicopter Association International challenging the FAA’s decision to impose mandatory helicopter routes along the north shore of Long Island, New York.  FAA issued a final rule in 2012 requiring helicopter pilots to use a route one mile off the northern shore of Long Island.  Use of the route was recommended, but voluntary, prior to the final rule.  HAI principally challenged the FAA’s authority to impose a mandatory route in response to noise complaints from local residents.  The court determined that the FAA was authorized to impose routes in the interest of protecting homeowners from excessive noise and that the complaints and other noise data were sufficient evidence of a noise problem.  For a copy of the court’s opinion, click here.
  •  TRB Releases Report on Building Support for Airport Projects

    On July 11, 2013, the Transportation Research Board released ACRP Report 85:  Developing and Maintaining Support for Your Airport Capacity Project.  The report describes the lessons learned from previous airport capacity projects and translates that experience into specific recommendations for building a team and process to undertake capacity projects and for communicating effectively with stakeholders.  The report was prepared by a team of airport professionals, including the firm’s Peter Kirsch.  To download or order the report from the TRB website, click here.

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