Agency Information Collection; Activity Under OMB Review; Report of Traffic and Capacity Statistics--The T-100 System

Agency Information Collection; Activity Under OMB Review; Report of Traffic and Capacity Statistics--The T-100 System

Federal Register Notice
April 18, 1997
Volume 62, Number 75

AGENCY: Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), DOT.

ACTION: Notice.

SUMMARY: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) invites the general public, industry and other Federal Agencies to comment on the continuing need and usefulness of collecting market and segment traffic statistics from U.S. and foreign air carriers.

DATES: Written comments should be submitted by June 17, 1997.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be directed to: Office of Airline Information, K-25, Room 4125, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

COMMENTS: Comments should identify the OMB #2138-0040 and submit a duplicate copy to the address listed above. Commenters wishing the Department to acknowledge receipt of their comments must submit with those comments a self-addressed stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: Comments on OMB #2138-0040. The postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bernie Stankus, Office of Airline Information, K-25, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001, (202) 366-4387.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

OMB Approval No. 2138-0040

Title: Report of Traffic and Capacity Statistics--The T-100 System.

Form No.: Schedule T-100 and Schedule T-100(f).

Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Respondents: U.S. certificated and foreign air carriers.

Number of Respondents: 90 U.S. certificated air carriers 176 foreign air carriers.

Number of Responses: 3192.

Estimated Time Per Response: 10 hours per U.S. air carrier 1.5 hours per foreign air carrier.

Total Annual Burden: 14,000 hours.

Needs and Uses: Air services between the United States and most foreign countries are governed by bilateral aviation agreements. Evaluations of existing bilateral agreements and proposed changes to such agreements are based on a determination of the traffic and revenues between the United States and foreign countries for scheduled passenger and cargo flights as well as charter services. In order to determine conditions of reciprocity and the overall balance of trade, DOT conducts similar analyses for countries with which the United States does not have bilateral aviation agreements. Information used in these analyses includes traffic volume by countries and by city-pairs for passenger and cargo services and the corresponding traffic yields. Data such as passenger and cargo load factors, aircraft seating configurations, cargo capacities, and aircraft unit costs are also used.

Air Carrier Safety

The Department is responsible for monitoring the safety levels and continuing fitness of individual air carrier operators. These programs conduct risk analysis and evaluations based on air carrier traffic and capacity statistics. For instance, if a carrier is rapidly expanding its operations, traffic data may indicate whether its expansion is exceeding its capacity for growth. Further, Departmental decisions as to frequency of and intensity of in- depth inspections are affected by such activity indicators.

International Routes

In air carrier selection cases for limited entry international routes, the competing air carriers are required to include an operating plan. To analyze a proposed operating plan, the Department uses current and historical traffic and capacity data of the applicant and other air carriers serving the relevant markets to determine the reliability of the applicant's financial and traffic forecasts and to evaluate the applicant's competing fare and service proposals.

In a route case where an air carrier proposes ``primary service'' and ``behind gateway'' service, timely and consistent data are essential for the Department to respond to the procedural deadlines mandated by the Airline Deregulation Act in route application proceedings, such as the 150 days given to the Administrative Law Judge to receive evidence, conduct a hearing, and issue a Recommended Decision.

International/Alaska Mail Rates

The Department is responsible for establishing international and intra-Alaska mail rates. Separate international mail rates are set based on scheduled operations in four geographic areas: Transborder, Latin America, the Atlantic and the Pacific. The rate structure is updated biannually to reflect changes in unit costs in each ratemaking entity. In the rate-making process, the investment base and area cost calculations use traffic and capacity data, such as enplaned tons and available ton-miles, to develop the required unit cost data, as well as to evaluate the reasonableness of carrier cost allocations between entities.

International Fares and Rates

The Department is charged with establishing regulatory benchmarks (zones of reasonableness) for its review of international fares and rates for passenger and cargo traffic, respectively. The benchmark for passenger fares is the Standard Foreign Fare Level (SFFL) and the benchmark for cargo rates is the Standard Foreign Rate Level (SFRL). Both establish levels below which proposed fares or rates normally will not be suspended. These standards rely upon cost and capacity data by entity (i.e., Latin America, Pacific and Atlantic), and require that such data be uniform among the various air carrier submissions.

Review of IATA Agreements

The Department reviews all of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) agreements on fares, rates and rules governing international air transportation to ensure that such agreements meet the public interest criteria set forth in the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, as amended (FAAct). Current and historical summary traffic and capacity data, such as revenue ton-miles and available ton-miles, by type of aircraft, type of service, and length of haul are needed in these analyses: (1) To develop the volume elements that are required for making various passenger/cargo cost allocations, (2) to evaluate fluctuations in volume of scheduled and charter services, (3) to assess the competitive impact of different operations such as charter versus scheduled, (4) to calculate load factors by aircraft type, and (5) to monitor traffic in specific markets.

Foreign Air Carriers Applications

Foreign air carriers are required to submit to the Department applications for operating authority to the United States. In reviewing foreign air carrier applications, the Department must find that the requested authority is encompassed in a bilateral aviation agreement or other intergovernmental understanding, or, in the absence of such an agreement or an understanding, that granting the application is consistent with the public interest. In these latter cases, T-100 data are used in assessing the level of benefits that carriers of the applicant's homeland presently are receiving from their United States operations. In addition, those benefits, coupled with the value of the authority requested by the applicant carrier, are compared to the benefits accruing to U.S. carriers from their operations in the applicant's homeland. This assessment is critical in making the necessary public interest determination.

Air Carrier Fitness

The Department is required to determine whether or not applicants for certificate authority are fit, willing and able to conduct the proposed level of service, and whether the certificate holders remain fit. The requirement also applies to all established air carriers that propose a substantial change in operations, or whose certificates have been dormant for over one year and want to resume service.

In air carrier fitness determinations, T-100 nonstop segment and on-flight market statistics are reviewed to analyze an air carrier's level of traffic and capacity. Load factors (passenger and cargo) are compared with those of other air carriers with similar operating characteristics, and used to assess trends in the level of operations.

Acquisitions and Mergers

While the Justice Department has primary responsibility over air carrier acquisitions and mergers, the Department reviews the transfer of international routes involved in acquisitions and mergers to determine if they would substantially reduce competition, or if they in some other way would be inconsistent with the public interest. In making these determinations, the proposed transaction's effect on competition in the markets served by the affected air carriers is analyzed. This analysis includes, among other things, a consideration of the volume of traffic and available capacity, the flight segments and origins-destinations involved, and the existence of entry barriers, such as limited airport slots or gate capacity. Also included is a review of the volume of traffic handled by each air carrier at specific airports and in specific markets which would be affected by the proposed acquisition or merger.

The Justice Department also uses T-100 data in carrying out its responsibilities relating to airline competition and consolidation.

Airline Industry Status Evaluations

The Department apprises Congress, the Administration and others of the effect major changes or innovations are having on the air transportation industry. For this purpose, summary traffic and capacity data as well as the detailed segment and market data are essential. These data must be timely to be relevant for analyzing emerging issues and must be based upon uniform and reliable data submissions that are consistent with the Department's regulatory requirements.

Safety Surveillance and Inspection/Operational Safety Analysis

The FAA uses summary traffic and capacity statistics and total airborne hours, broken down by air carrier, as important safety indicators. The FAA uses these data in allocating inspection resources and in making decisions as to increased safety surveillance. Similarly, airport activity statistics are used by the FAA to develop airport profiles and establish priorities for airport inspections.

Safety Forecasting and Regulatory Analysis

The FAA uses summary traffic, capacity and airport activity statistics to prepare the air carrier traffic and operation forecasts that are used in developing its budget and staffing plans, facility and equipment funding levels, and environmental impact and policy studies.

National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems

The FAA is responsible for preparing and updating the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS), a 10-year planning document, that forecasts the developmental needs for maintaining and upgrading the national system of integrated airports. Reported air carrier traffic and capacity data are used to continuously update the NPIAS for system changes such as current air carrier hub transportation practices. In projecting future airport service levels and the impact of seasonal flight schedule adjustments on operations, the aircraft types handled and services available by airport are considered.

System Planning at Airports

Under the Airport and Airways Improvement Act of 1982 (Pub. L. 97- 248), the FAA is charged with administering a series of grants that are designed to accomplish the necessary airport planning for future development and growth. These grants are made to state, metropolitan and regional aviation authorities to fund needed airport systems planning work. Individual airport activity statistics, nonstop market data and service segment data are used to prepare airport activity level forecasts.

Airport Capacity Analysis

Aircraft type operating data (the mix of aircraft at an airport) are used in determining the practical annual capacity (PANCAP) at airports as prescribed in FAA Advisory Circular ``Airport Capacity Criteria Used in Preparing the National Airport Plan.'' The PANCAP is a safety-related benchmark measure of the annual airport capacity or level of operations. It is a predictive measure which indicates potential capacity problems, delays, and possible airport expansion or runway construction needs. If the level of operations at an airport exceeds PANCAP significantly, the frequency and length of delays will increase, with a potential concurrent risk of accidents. Under this program, FAA develops ways of increasing airport capacity at congested airports.

Airport Improvement

The Airport and Airway Improvement Act of 1982 includes a revenue passenger enplanement formula that is used by the FAA to allocate airport improvement program (entitlement) funds to owners of primary airports. A primary airport is one which accounts for more than 0.01 percent of the total passengers enplaned at U.S. airports. The passenger enplanement data, both summary and by airport, contained in T-100, T-100(f) and the supplementary schedules are used in calculating the monies due each primary airport. The T-100 System is the sole data base used by FAA in determining U.S. certificated and foreign air carrier enplanements.

War Air Service Program

The Department is responsible under Executive Order 11490, as amended, for emergency preparedness planning in the event of war or national emergency. To fulfill its mobilization responsibilities for airlift in the event of a national emergency, the Department needs timely traffic and capacity data. Data elements used in assessing total available airlift capacity include for each aircraft operator: the number of aircraft by type, the airframe license number, the payload or capacity (passenger and/or cargo), and whether or not the aircraft is approved for over-water operations. Revenue aircraft miles, revenue aircraft hours (airborne), aircraft fuels issued (gallons), aircraft days assigned to service, and aircraft hours (ramp-to-ramp) are also needed for each reported aircraft type to assess aircraft fleet mobilization characteristics and capabilities.

International Civil Aviation Organization

Under Article 67 of the 1944 Chicago Convention, the United States is obligated to report certain individual U.S. air carrier data to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Much of the traffic data supplied to ICAO are extracted from T-100 and the supplementary schedules.

Timothy E. Carmody,
Director, Office of Airline Information, Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

[FR Doc. 97-10122 Filed 4-17-97; 8:45 am]

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