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Notice

Notice of Request for Extension of a Previously Approved Collection

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Office of the Secretary.

ACTION:

Notice and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13, 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 September 9, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit a comment (identified by DOT Docket Numbers Start Printed Page 40009OST-95-179 and OST-95-623) by any of the following methods:

  • Web site: http://regulations.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, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-001.
  • Hand Delivery: Room W12-140 on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Wednesday and Federal Holidays.

Instructions: All comments must include the agency name and Docket Numbers OST-95-179 and OST-95-623. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://regulations.gov, including and personal information provided. You should know that anyone is able to search the electronic from of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.).

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, go to http://regulations.gov at any time or to Room W12-140 on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 a.m., Monday through Friday, except Wednesday and federal holidays.

If you wish to receive confirmation of receipt of your written comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped postcard with the following statement: “Comments on Docket OST-95-179 and OST-95-623”. The Docket Clerk will date stamp the postcard prior to returning it to you via the U.S. mail. Please note that due to delays in the delivery of U.S. mail to Federal offices in Washington, DC, we recommend that persons consider an alternative method (Internet, fax, or professional delivery service) to submit comments to the docket and ensure their timely receipt at U.S. DOT.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Aleta Best, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, 20590, (202) 493-0797.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Disclosure of Codesharing.

OMB Control Number: 2105-0537.

Expiration Date: November 30, 2008.

Type of Request: Extension of a previously approved collection.

Abstract: Codesharing 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 codesharing arrangement may hold out, market, and sell the flight as its own in published schedules. Codesharing also refers to other arrangements, such as when 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 codesharing 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 with 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). Codesharing arrangements are, in part, a marketing response to this demand for on-line service. Often, codesharing 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.

Codesharing 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 codesharing, as well as long-term wet leases, can offer significant economic benefits.

Although codesharing 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, schedule, or itinerary and unless they know the identity of the airline on which they will be flying. The growth in the use of codesharing, 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 and led the Department to adopt specific regulations requiring the disclosure of code-sharing arrangements and long-term wet leases on March 15, 1999. (14 CFR part 257)

These regulations required U.S. airlines, foreign airlines and travel agents doing business in the United States, to notify passengers of the existence of code-sharing or long-term wet lease arrangements. It also required U.S. airlines, foreign airlines and travel agents to tell prospective consumers, in all oral communications before booking transportation, that the transporting airline is not the airline whose designator code will appear on travel documents and identify the transporting airline by its corporate name and any other name under which that service is held out to the public.

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

Estimated Total Annual Burden: Annual reporting burden for this data collection is estimated at 653,183 hours for all travel agents and airline ticket agents and 653,183 hours for air travelers, based on 15 seconds per phone call and an average of 1.5 phone calls per trip, for the approximately 33% of codeshare itineraries that involve personal contact. Most of this data collection (third party notification) is accomplished through highly automated computerized systems.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 16,000, excluding travelers.

Estimated Time per Response: At 15 seconds per call and an average of 1.5 calls per trip, a total of 22.5 seconds per respondent or traveler, for the approximately 33% of codeshare itineraries that involve personal contact.

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether this collection of information (third party notification) is necessary for the proper performance 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 Start Printed Page 40010collection 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.

Start Signature

Issued in Washington, DC.

Todd M. Homan,

Director, Office of Aviation Analysis.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E8-15783 Filed 7-10-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-9X-P