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Notice

Notice of Request for Extension of a Previously Approved Collection

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AGENCY:

Office of the Secretary.

ACTION:

Notice and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Department of Transportation's (DOT) intention to request extension of a previously approved information collection.

DATES:

Comments on this notice must be received on or before July 11, 2005.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments identified by DOT-DMS Docket Number OST-95-179 and OST-95-623 by any of the following methods.

  • Web site: http://dms.dot.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on the DOT electronic docket site.
  • Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
  • Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL-401, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
  • Hand Delivery: Room PL-401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays.
  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and docket number or Regulatory Identification Number (RIN) for this information collection. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information, see the Public Participation heading of the Supplementary Information section of this document. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://dms.dot.gov including any personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading under Regulatory Notes.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http://dms.dot.gov at any time or to Room PL-401, on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jack Schmidt, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590, (202) 366-5420.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Disclosure of Code-sharing Arrangements and Long-term Wet Leases.

OMB Control Number: 2105-0537.

Expiration Date: September 30, 2005.

Type of Request: Extension of a previously approved collection.

Abstract: Code-sharing is the name given to a common airline industry marketing practice where, by mutual agreement between cooperating carriers, at least one of the airline designator codes used on a flight is different from that of the airline operating the aircraft. In one version, two or more airlines each use their own designator codes on the same aircraft operation. Although only one airline operates the flight, each airline in a code-sharing arrangement may hold out, market and sell the flight as its own in published schedules. Code-sharing also refers to other arrangements where a code on a passenger's ticket is not that of the operator of the flight, but where the operator does not also hold out the service in its own name. Such code-sharing arrangements are common between commuter air carriers and their larger affiliates and the number of arrangements between U.S. air carriers and foreign air carriers has also been increasing. Arrangements falling into this category are similar to leases of aircraft and crew (wet leases).

The Department recognizes the strong preference of air travelers for on-line service (service by a single carrier) on connecting flights over interline service (service by multiple carriers). Code-sharing arrangements are, in part, a marketing response to this demand for on-line service. Often, code-sharing partners offer services similar to those available for on-line connections with the goal of offering “seamless” service (i.e., service where the transfers from flight to flight or airline to airline are facilitated). For example, they may locate gates near each other to make connections more convenient or coordinate baggage handling to give greater assurance that baggage will be properly handled.

Code-sharing arrangements can help airlines operate more efficiently because they can reduce costs by providing a joint service with one aircraft rather than operating separate services with two aircraft. Particularly in thin markets, this efficiency can lead to increased price and service options for consumers or enable the use of equipment sized appropriately for the market. Therefore, the Department recognizes that code-sharing, as well as long-term wet leases, can offer significant economic benefits. Although code-sharing and wet-lease arrangements can offer significant consumer benefits, they can also be misleading unless consumers know that the transportation they are considering for purchase will not be provided by the airline whose designator code is shown on the ticket, a schedule or an itinerary and unless they know the identity of the airline on which they will be flying. The growth in the use of code-sharing, wet-leasing and similar marketing tools, particularly in international air transportation, had given the Department concern about whether the then-current disclosure rules (14 CFR 399.88) protected the public interest adequately.

Respondents: All U.S. air carriers, foreign air carriers, computer reservations systems (CRSs), travel agents doing business in the United States, and the traveling public.

Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: Annual reporting burden for this data collection is estimated at 424,994 hours for all travel agents and airline ticket agents and 424,994 hours for air travelers based on 15 seconds per phone call and an average of 2.1 phone calls per trip. Most of this data collection (third party notification) is accomplished through highly automated computerized systems.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 33,898 excluding travelers.

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether this collection of information (third party notification) is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including through the use of automated techniques or other forms of information technology.

All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

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Start Printed Page 24671

Issued in Washington, DC on May 3, 2005.

Randall D. Bennett,

Director, Office of Aviation Analysis.

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[FR Doc. 05-9266 Filed 5-9-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-62-P