Reports, Forms and Recordkeeping Requirements; Activity Under OMB Review; Report of Financial and Reporting Statistics for Small Aircraft Operators

Reports, Forms and Recordkeeping Requirements; Activity Under OMB Review; Report of Financial and Reporting Statistics for Small Aircraft Operators

Federal Register Notice
May 17, 2002
Volume 67, Number 96

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

ACTION: Notice.

SUMMARY: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) , this notice announces that the Information Collection Request (ICR) abstracted below has been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for extension of currently approved collections. The ICR describes the nature of the information collection and its expected burden. The Federal Register Notice with a 60-day comment period soliciting comments on the following collection of information was published on January 16, 2002 (67 FR 2281).

DATES: Written comments should be submitted by June 17, 2002.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bernie Stankus, Office of Airline Information, K-14, Room 4125, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001, Telephone Number (202) 366-4387, Fax Number (202) 366-3383 or e-mail bernard.stankus@bts.gov.

Comments: Comments are invited on whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Department, including whether the information will have practical utility; the accuracy of the Department's estimate of burden of the proposed information collections; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information on respondents, in including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 725 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503, Attention: BTS Desk Officer.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS)

Title: Report of Financial and Operating Statistics for Small Aircraft Operators.

Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved collection.

OMB Control Number: 2138-0009.

Forms: BTS Form 298-C.

Affected Public: Small certificated and commuter air carriers.

Number of Respondents: 94.

Estimated Time per Response: 9 hours per quarter for a commuter air carrier, 16 hours per quarter for a small certificated air carrier.

Total Annual Burden: 4,728 hours.

Needs and Uses: Program uses for Form 298-C data are as follows:

Mail Rates

The Department of Transportation sets and updates the Intra-Alaska Bush mail rates based on carrier aircraft operating expense, traffic, and operational data. Form 298-C cost data, especially fuel costs, terminal expenses, and line haul expenses are used in arriving at rate levels. DOT revises the established rates based on the percentage of unit cost changes in the carriers' operations. These updating procedures have resulted in the carriers receiving rates of compensation that more closely parallel their costs of providing mail service and contribute to the carriers' economic well-being.

Essential Air Service

DOT often has to select a carrier to provide a community's essential air service. The selection criteria include historic presence in the community, reliability of service, financial stability and cost structure of the air carrier.

Carrier Fitness

Fitness determinations are made for both new entrants and established U.S. domestic carriers proposing a substantial change in operations. A portion of these applications consists of an operating plan for the first year (14 CFR part 204) and an associated projection of revenues and expenses. The carrier's operating costs, included in these projections, are compared against the cost data in Form 298-C for a carrier or carriers with the same aircraft type and similar operating characteristics. Such a review validates the reasonableness of the carrier's operating plan.

The quarterly financial submissions by commuter and small certificated air carriers are used in determining each carrier's continuing fitness to operate. Section 41738 of Title 49 of the United States Code requires DOT to find all commuter and small certificated air carriers fit, willing, and able to conduct passenger service as a prerequisite to providing such service to an eligible essential air service point. In making a fitness determination, DOT reviews three areas of a carrier's operation: (1) The qualifications of its management team, (2) its disposition to comply with laws and regulations, and (3) its financial posture. DOT must determine whether or not a carrier has sufficient financial resources to conduct its operations without imposing undue risk on the traveling public. Moreover, once a carrier begins conducting flight operations, DOT is required to monitor its continuing fitness.

Senior DOT officials must be kept fully informed and advised of all current and developing economic issues affecting the airline industry. In preparing financial condition reports or status reports on a particular airline, financial and traffic data are analyzed. Briefing papers prepared for senior DOT officials may use the same information.

Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act

DOT is using financial data reported by small certificated and commuter air carriers to establish benchmarks to assess the reasonableness of air carrier claims under the Stabilization Act.

Bernard Stankus,
Acting Assistant Director, Airline Information, Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

[FR Doc. 02-12374 Filed 5-16-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-FE-P