Skip to Content

Notice

Policy Regarding Airport Rates and Charges

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Enhanced Content

Relevant information about this document from Regulations.gov provides additional context. This information is not part of the official Federal Register document.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration.

ACTION:

Notice; publication of entire policy statement as amended.

SUMMARY:

This action publishes the entire Department of Transportation (“Department”), Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”), “Policy Regarding Airport Rates and Charges” (“Policy”) to reflect all deletions from and amendments to the policy to date. The Policy was originally published in the Federal Register on June 21, 1996 (“1996 Rates and Charges Policy”). In response to a subsequent petition for review, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a decision in 1997 that vacated the challenged provisions of the 1996 Rates and Charges Policy and the Secretary's supporting discussion in the preamble. In 2008, the Department and FAA adopted three amendments to the Policy, to allow operators of congested airports to use landing fees to provide incentives to air carriers to use the airport at less congested times or to use alternate airports to meet regional air service needs. The Federal Register notice publishing those amendments set out the amendments, but did not publish an entire version of the policy as amended. As a convenience for the public and for regulated entities, this notice publishes the entire Policy Regarding Airport Rates and Charges currently in effect in a single document. The FAA is not adopting or proposing any new amendments to the Policy in this notice.

DATES:

This Policy statement reflects the most recent amendments to the Policy Regarding Airport Rates and Charges, which took effect on July 14, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

To read background documents or comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time or to Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Randall S. Fiertz, Director, Office of Airport Compliance and Management Analysis, ACO-1, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591, telephone (202) 267-3085; facsimile (202) 267-5769; email Randall.Fiertz@faa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Availability of Documents

You can get an electronic copy of this notice and all other documents in this docket using the Internet by:

(1) Searching the Federal eRulemaking portal (http://www.regulations.gov/​search);

(2) Visiting the FAA's Regulations and Policies Web page at http://www.faa.gov/​regulations_​policies;​ or

(3) Accessing the Government Printing Office's Web page at http://www.access.gpo.gov/​su_​docs/​aces/​aces140.html.

Authority for This Proceeding

This notice is published under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part B, Chapter 471, § 47129 of Title 49 United States Code. Under subsection (b) of § 47129, the Secretary of Transportation is required to publish policy statements establishing standards or guidelines the Secretary will use in determining the reasonableness of airport fees charged to airlines under § 47129.

Background

The Department of Transportation (Department) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published a Policy Regarding Airport Rates and Charges in the Federal Register on June 21, 1996 (61 FR 31994). (“1996 Rates and Charges Policy”). The statement of policy was required by § 113 of the FAA Authorization Act of 1994, Public Law 103-305 (August 23, 1994), now codified at 49 U.S.C., 47129, Specific sections of the 1996 Rates and Charges Policy (namely, paragraphs 2.4, 2.4.1, 2.4.1(a), 2.5.1, 2.5.1(a)-(e), 2.5.3(a), 2.6 and other portions of the Policy necessarily implicated by the Court's holding) were subsequently vacated by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Air Transport Ass'n of America v. DOT, 119 F.3d 38, amended by 129 F.3d 625 (D.C. Cir. 1997). In July 2008, following notice and opportunity for public comment, the Department and FAA adopted three Start Printed Page 55331amendments to the Policy (73 FR 40430, July 14, 2008). The amendments are intended to provide greater flexibility to operators of congested airports to use landing fees to provide incentives to air carriers to use the airport at less congested times or to use alternate airports to meet regional air service needs. The amendments to the Policy were affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Air Transport Ass'n v. DOT, 613 F.3d 206 (D.C. Cir. 2010). In 2012, Congress included foreign air carriers (in addition to air carriers) under § 47129. See, § 148 of the FAA Authorization Act of 2012, Public Law 112-95, 126 Stat. 11 (Feb. 14, 2012)

The FAA has received requests for a complete official version of the Policy, as amended since 1996, and FAA understands the convenience of a complete statement of the policy for anyone needing to refer to the contents of this Policy. Accordingly, by this notice, FAA is publishing an official version of the entire Policy Regarding Airport Rates and Charges that reflects all of the changes to the language of the Policy since 1996, and is republished solely for the convenience of stating a complete version of the Policy in a single document.

Rates and Charges Policy

The FAA is publishing the full text of the current Policy Regarding Airport Rates and Charges, which has been in effect since the most recent amendment of the policy on July 14, 2008, as follows:

Policy Regarding Airport Rates and Charges

Introduction

It is the fundamental position of the Department that the issue of rates and charges is best addressed at the local level by agreement between users and airports. The Department is adopting this Policy Statement on the standards applicable to airport fees imposed for aeronautical use of the airport to provide guidance to airport proprietors and aeronautical users, to encourage direct negotiation between these parties, to minimize the need for direct Federal intervention to resolve differences over airport fees and to establish the standards which the Department will apply in addressing airport fee disputes under 49 U.S.C., 47129 and in addressing questions of airport proprietors' compliance with Federal requirements governing airport fees.

Applicability of the Policy

A. Scope of Policy

Under the terms of grant agreements administered by FAA for airport improvement, all aeronautical users are entitled to airport access on fair and reasonable terms without unjust discrimination. Therefore, the Department considers that the principles and guidance set forth in this policy statement apply to all aeronautical uses of the airport. The Department recognizes, however, that airport proprietors may use different mechanisms and methodologies to establish fees for different facilities, e.g., for the airfield and terminal area, and for different aeronautical users, e.g., air carriers and fixed-base operators. Various elements of the policy reflect these differences. In addition, the Department will take these differences into account if we are called upon to resolve a dispute over aeronautical fees or otherwise consider whether an airport sponsor is in compliance with its obligation to provide access on fair and reasonable terms without unjust discrimination.

B. Aeronautical Use and Users

The Department considers the aeronautical use of an airport to be any activity that involves, makes possible, is required for the safety of, or is otherwise directly related to, the operation of aircraft. Aeronautical use includes services provided by air carriers related directly and substantially to the movement of passengers, baggage, mail and cargo on the airport. Persons, whether individuals or businesses, engaged in aeronautical uses involving the operation of aircraft, or providing flight support directly related to the operation of aircraft, are considered to be aeronautical users.

Conversely, the Department considers that the operation by U.S. or foreign air carriers of facilities such as a reservations center, headquarters office, or flight kitchen on an airport does not constitute an aeronautical use subject to the principles and guidance contained in this policy statement with respect to reasonableness and unjust discrimination. Such facilities need not be located on an airport. A carrier's decision to locate such facilities is based on the negotiation of a lease or sale of property. Accordingly, the Department relies on the normal forces of competition for nonaeronautical commercial or industrial property to assure that fees for such property are not excessive.

C. Applicability of § 113 of the FAA Authorization Act of 1994

Section 113 of the Federal Aviation Authorization Act of 1994 (“Authorization Act”), 49 U.S.C. 47129, directs the Secretary of Transportation to issue a determination on the reasonableness of certain fees imposed on air carriers and foreign air carriers in response to carrier complaints or a request for determination by an airport proprietor. Section 47129 further directs the Secretary to publish final regulations, policy statements, or guidelines establishing procedures for deciding cases under § 47129 and the standards to be used by the Secretary in determining whether a fee is reasonable. Section 47129 also provides for the issuance of credits or refunds in the event that the Secretary determines a fee is unreasonable after a complaint is filed. Section 47129(e) excludes from the applicability of § 47129 a fee imposed pursuant to a written agreement with air carriers or foreign air carriers, a fee imposed pursuant to a financing agreement or covenant entered into before the date of enactment of the statute (August 23, 1994), and an existing fee not in dispute on August 23, 1994. Section 47129(f) further provides that § 47129 shall not adversely affect the rights of any party under an existing airport agreement with an air carrier or foreign air carrier or the ability of an airport to meet its obligations under a financing agreement or covenant that is in effect on August 23, 1994.

The Department does not interpret § 47129 to repeal or narrow the scope of the basic requirement that fees imposed on all aeronautical users be reasonable and not unjustly discriminatory or to narrow the obligation on the Secretary to receive satisfactory assurances that, inter alia, airport sponsors will provide access on reasonable terms before approving Airport Improvement Program (“AIP”) grants. Moreover, the Department does not interpret Sections 47129(e) and (f) to preclude the Department from adopting policy guidance to carry out the Department's statutory obligation to assure that aeronautical fees are being imposed at AIP-funded airports in a manner that is consistent with the obligation to provide airport access on reasonable terms.

Therefore, the Department will apply the policy guidance in all cases in which we are called upon to determine if an airport sponsor is carrying out its obligation to make the airport available on reasonable terms. However, a dispute that is not subject to processing under the expedited procedures mandated by Start Printed Page 55332§ 47129, including a dispute over matters described by § 47129 (e) and (f), will be processed by FAA under procedures applicable to airport compliance matters in general. In considering such a dispute, FAA's role is to determine whether the airport proprietor is in compliance with its grant obligations and statutory obligations relating to airport fees. The FAA proceeding is not intended to provide a mechanism for adjudicating the respective rights of the parties to a fee dispute.

In addition, the Department will not entertain a complaint about the reasonableness of a fee set by agreement filed by a party to the agreement setting the disputed fee. In the case of a complaint about the reasonableness of a fee set by agreement filed by an aeronautical user who is not a party to the agreement, the Department may take into account the existence of an agreement between air carriers or foreign air carriers, and the airport proprietor, in making a determination on the complaint.

Further, FAA will not ordinarily investigate the reasonableness of a general aviation airport's fees absent evidence of a progressive accumulation of surplus aeronautical revenues.

D. Components of Airfield

The Department considers the airfield assets to consist of ramps or aprons not subject to preferential or exclusive lease or use agreements, runways, taxiways, and land associated with these facilities. The Department also considers the airfield to include land acquired for the purpose of assuring land-use compatibility with the airfield, if the land is included in the rate base associated with the airfield under the provisions of this policy.

Principles Applicable to Airport Rates and Charges

1. In general, the Department relies upon airport proprietors, aeronautical users, and the market and institutional arrangements within which they operate, to ensure compliance with applicable legal requirements. Direct Federal intervention will be available, however, where needed.

2. Rates, fees, rentals, landing fees, and other service charges (“fees”) imposed on aeronautical users for aeronautical use of airport facilities (“aeronautical fees”) must be fair and reasonable.

3. Aeronautical fees may not unjustly discriminate against aeronautical users or user groups.

4. Airport proprietors must maintain a fee and rental structure that in the circumstances of the airport makes the airport as financially self-sustaining as possible.

5. In accordance with relevant Federal statutory provisions governing the use of airport revenue, airport proprietors may expend revenue generated by the airport only for statutorily allowable purposes.

6. Fees imposed on international operations must also comply with the international obligations of the United States, which include the requirements that the fees be just, reasonable, not unjustly discriminatory, equitably apportioned among categories of users, no less favorable to foreign airlines than to U.S. airlines, and not in excess of the full cost to the competent charging authorities of providing the facilities and services efficiently and economically at the airport or within the airport system.

Local Negotiation and Resolution

1. In general, the Department relies upon airport proprietors, aeronautical users, and the market and institutional arrangements within which they operate, to ensure compliance with applicable legal requirements. Direct Federal intervention will be available, however, where needed.

1.1 The Department encourages direct resolution of differences at the local level between aeronautical users and the airport proprietor. Such resolution is best achieved through adequate and timely consultation between the airport proprietor and the aeronautical users about airport fees.

1.1.1 Airport proprietors should consult with aeronautical users well in advance, if practical, of introducing significant changes in charging systems and procedures or in the level of charges. The proprietor should provide adequate information to permit aeronautical users to evaluate the airport proprietor's justification for the change and to assess the reasonableness of the proposal. For consultations to be effective, airport proprietors should give due regard to the views of aeronautical users and to the effect upon them of changes in fees. Likewise, aeronautical users should give due regard to the views of the airport proprietor and the financial needs of the airport.

1.1.2 To further the goal of effective consultation, Appendix 1 of this policy statement contains a description of information that the Department considers would be useful to the U.S. and foreign air carriers and other aeronautical users to permit meaningful consultation and evaluation of a proposal to modify fees.

1.1.3 Airport proprietors should consider the public interest in establishing airport fees, and aeronautical users should consider the public interest in consulting with airports on setting such fees.

1.1.4 Airport proprietors and aeronautical users should consult and make a good-faith effort to reach agreement. Absent agreement, airport proprietors are free to act in accordance with their proposals, subject to review by the Secretary or the Administrator on complaint by the user or, in the case of fees subject to 49 U.S.C. 47129, upon request by the airport operator, or, in unusual circumstances, on the Department's initiative.

1.1.5 To facilitate local resolution and reduce the need for direct Federal intervention to resolve differences over aeronautical fees, the Department encourages airport proprietors and aeronautical users to include alternative dispute resolution procedures in their lease and use agreements.

1.1.6 Any newly established fee or fee increase that is the subject of a complaint under 49 U.S.C. 47129 that is not dismissed by the Secretary must be paid to the airport proprietor under protest by the complainant. Unless the airport proprietor and complainant agree otherwise, the airport proprietor will obtain a letter of credit, or surety bond, or other suitable credit instrument in accordance with the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 47129(d). Pending issuance of a final order determining reasonableness, an airport proprietor may not deny a complainant currently providing air service at the airport reasonable access to airport facilities or services, or otherwise interfere with that complainant's prices, routes, or services, as a means of enforcing the fee, if the complainant has complied with the requirements for payment under protest.

1.2 Where airport proprietors and aeronautical users have been unable, despite all reasonable efforts, to resolve disputes between them, the Department will act to resolve the issues raised in the dispute.

1.2.1 In the case of a fee imposed on one or more U.S. air carriers or foreign air carriers, the Department will issue a determination on the reasonableness of the fee upon the filing of a written request for a determination by the airport proprietor or, if the Department determines that a significant dispute exists, upon the filing of a complaint by one or more U.S. air carriers or foreign air carriers, in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 47129 and implementing regulations. Pursuant to the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 47129, the Department may only determine whether a fee is Start Printed Page 55333reasonable or unreasonable, and may not set the level of the fee.

1.2.2 The Department will first offer its good offices to help parties reach a mutually satisfactory outcome in a timely manner. Prompt resolution of these disputes is always desirable since extensive delay can lead to uncertainty for the public and a hardening of the parties' positions. U.S. air carriers and foreign air carriers may request the assistance of the Department in advance of or in lieu of the formal complaint procedure described in 1.2.1; however, the 60-day period for filing a complaint under § 47129 shall not be extended or tolled by such a request.

1.2.3 In the case of fees imposed on other aeronautical users, where negotiations between the parties are unsuccessful and a complaint is filed alleging that airport fees violate an airport proprietor's Federal grant obligations, the Department will, where warranted, exercise the agency's broad statutory authority to review the legality of those fees and to issue such determinations and take such actions as are appropriate based on that review. Other aeronautical users may also request the assistance of the Department in advance of, or in lieu of, the filing of a formal complaint with FAA.

1.3 Airport proprietors must retain the ability to respond to local conditions with flexibility and innovation. An airport proprietor is encouraged to achieve consensus and agreement with its aeronautical users before implementing a practice that would represent a major departure from this guidance. However, the requirements of any law, including the requirements for the use of airport revenue, may not be waived, even by agreement with the aeronautical users.

Fair and Reasonable Fees

2. Rates, fees, rentals, landing fees, and other service charges (“fees”) imposed on aeronautical users for the aeronautical use of the airport (“aeronautical fees”) must be fair and reasonable.

2.1 Federal law does not require a single approach to airport rate-setting. Fees may be set according to a “residual” or “compensatory” rate-setting methodology, or any combination of the two, or according to another rate-setting methodology, as long as the methodology used is applied consistently to similarly situated aeronautical users and conforms with the requirements of this policy. Airport proprietors may set fees for aeronautical use of airport facilities by ordinance, statute or resolution, regulation, or agreement.

2.1.1 Aeronautical users may receive a cross-credit of nonaeronautical revenues only if the airport proprietor agrees. Agreements providing for such cross-crediting are commonly referred to as “residual agreements” and generally provide a sharing of nonaeronautical revenues with aeronautical users. The aeronautical users may in turn agree to assume part or all of the liability for nonaeronautical costs. An airport proprietor may cross-credit nonaeronautical revenues to aeronautical users even in the absence of such an agreement, but an airport proprietor may not require aeronautical users to cover losses generated by nonaeronautical facilities except by agreement.

2.1.2 In other situations, an airport proprietor assumes all liability for airport costs and retains all airport revenues for its own use in accordance with Federal requirements. This approach to airport rate-setting is generally referred to as the compensatory approach.

2.1.3 Airports frequently adopt rate-setting systems that employ elements of both approaches.

2.1.4 An airport proprietor may impose a two-part landing fee consisting of a combination of a per-operation charge and a weight-based charge provided that (1) the two-part fee reasonably allocates costs to users on a rational and economically justified basis; and (2) the total revenues from the two-part landing fee do not exceed the allowable costs of the airfield.

(a) The proportionately higher costs per passenger for aircraft with fewer seats that will result from the per-operation component of a two-part fee may be justified by the effect of the fee on congestion and operating delays and the total number of passengers accommodated during congested hours.

(b) An airport proprietor may exempt flights subsidized under the Essential Air Service Program from the general application of a 2-part landing fee, and instead charge those flights a landing fee that would have been charged if a conventional weight-based fee was in effect. To the extent an exemption reduces total airfield fees recovered, the difference may not be recovered by increasing charges to other operators currently operating at the airport.

2.2 Revenues from fees imposed for use of the airfield (“airfield revenues”) may not exceed the costs to the airport proprietor of providing airfield services and airfield assets currently in aeronautical use unless:

(a) Otherwise agreed to by the affected aeronautical users; or

(b) The fee includes charges in accordance with paragraph 2.5.3 or paragraph 2.5.4(a), and there is a corresponding reduction in fees for users that would otherwise have paid those charges.

2.3 The “rate base” is the total of all costs of providing airfield facilities and services to aeronautical users (which may include a share of public-use roadway costs allocated to the airfield in accordance with this policy) that may be recovered from aeronautical users through fees charged for providing airfield aeronautical services and facilities (“airfield fees”). Airport proprietors must employ a reasonable, consistent, and “transparent” (i.e., clear and fully justified) method of establishing the rate base and adjusting the rate base on a timely and predictable schedule.

2.4 [Reserved]

2.4.1 [Reserved]

2.4.2 Airport proprietors may include reasonable environmental costs in the rate base to the extent that the airport proprietor incurs a corresponding actual expense. All revenues received based on the inclusion of these costs in the rate base are subject to Federal requirements on the use of airport revenue. Reasonable environmental costs include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

(a) The costs of investigating and remediating environmental contamination caused by airfield operations at the airport at least to the extent that such investigation or remediation is required by or consistent with local, state or Federal environmental law, and to the extent such requirements are applied to other similarly situated enterprises.

(b) the cost of mitigating the environmental impact of an airport development project (if the development project is one for which costs may be included in the rate base), at least to the extent that these costs are incurred in order to secure necessary approvals for such projects, including but not limited to approvals under the National Environmental Policy Act and similar state statutes;

(c) the costs of aircraft noise abatement and mitigation measures, both on and off the airport, including but not limited to land acquisition and acoustical insulation expenses, to the extent that such measures are undertaken as part of a comprehensive and publicly-disclosed airport noise compatibility program; and

(d) the costs of insuring against future liability for environmental contamination caused by current airfield activities. Under this provision, Start Printed Page 55334the costs of self-insurance may be included in the rate base only to the extent that they are incurred pursuant to a self-insurance program that conforms to applicable standards for self-insurance practices.

2.4.3 Airport proprietors are encouraged to establish fees with due regard for economy and efficiency.

2.4.4 The airport proprietor may include in the rate base amounts needed to fund debt service and other reserves and to meet cash flow requirements as specified in financing agreements or covenants (for facilities in use or in accordance with paragraph 2.5.3), including, but not limited to, reasonable amounts to meet debt-service coverage requirements; to fund cash reserves to protect against the risks of cash-flow fluctuations associated with normal airfield operations; and to fund reasonable cash reserves to protect against other contingencies.

2.4.5 Unless otherwise agreed by aeronautical users, the airport proprietor must allocate capital and operating costs among cost centers in accordance with the following guidance, which is based on the principle of cost causation:

(a) Costs of airfield facilities and services directly used by the aeronautical users may be fully included in the rate base, in a manner consistent with this policy. For example, the capital cost of a runway may be included in the rate base used to establish landing fees.

(b) Costs of airport facilities and services used for both aeronautical and nonaeronautical uses (shared costs) may be included in the rate base if the facility or service in question supports the airfield activity reflected in that rate base. The portion of shared costs allocated to aeronautical users and among aeronautical uses should not exceed an amount that reflects the respective aeronautical purposes and proportionate aeronautical uses of the facility in relation to each other and in relation to the nonaeronautical use of the facility, and must be allocated by a reasonable, “transparent” and not unjustly discriminatory methodology. Aeronautical users may not be allocated all costs of facilities or services that are used by both aeronautical and nonaeronautical users unless they agree to that allocation. Likewise, the airfield may not be allocated all of the aeronautical share of commonly-used facilities or services, unless the airfield is the only aeronautical use the facility or service supports.

2.5 Airport proprietors must comply with the following practices in establishing the rate base, provided, however, that one or more aeronautical users may agree to a rate base that deviates from these practices in the establishment of those users' fees.

2.5.1 [Reserved]

2.5.2 When assets in the rate-base have different costs, the airport proprietor may combine the costs of comparable assets to develop a single cost basis for those assets.

2.5.3 The proprietor of a congested airport may include in the rate-base used to determine airfield charges during congested hours a portion of the costs of an airfield project under construction so long as (1) all planning and environmental approvals have been obtained for the project; (2) the proprietor has obtained financing for the project; (3) construction has commenced on the project; and (4) the added costs for current operators would have the effect of reducing or preventing congestion and operating delays at that airport.

(a) The airport proprietor must deduct from the total costs of the projects any principal and interest collected during the period of construction in determining the amount of project costs to be capitalized and amortized once the project is commissioned and put in service.

(b) The amount of project costs included in current charges may not exceed an amount corresponding to costs actually incurred during the construction period, calculated in accordance with a commercially reasonable amortization period based on the expected term for the permanent financing of the project.

2.5.4 The rate base of an airport may include costs associated with another airport currently in use only if: (1) The proprietor of the first airport is also the proprietor of the other airport; (2) the other airport is currently in use; and (3) the costs of the other airport to be included in the first airport's rate base are reasonably related to the aviation benefits that the other airport provides or is expected to provide to the aeronautical users of the first airport.

(a) Element no. 3 above will be presumed to be satisfied if:

(1) The other airport is designated as a reliever airport for the first airport in the FAA's National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (“NPIAS”); or

(2) The first airport is a congested airport; the other airport has been designated by FAA as a secondary airport serving the community, metropolitan area or region served by the first airport; and adding airfield costs of the second airport to the rate base of the first airport during congested hours would have the effect of reducing or preventing congestion and operating delays at that airport in those hours.

(b) In the case of a methodology of charging for a system of airports that is in place on the effective date of this policy, the Department will consider an airport proprietor's claim that the methodology is reasonable, even if all three elements are not satisfied.

(c) If an airport proprietor closes an operating airport as part of an approved plan for the construction and opening of a new airport, reasonable costs of disposition of the closed airport facility may be included in the rate base of the new airport, to the extent that such costs exceed the proceeds from the disposition. The Department would not ordinarily consider redevelopment costs to be a reasonable cost of disposition.

(d) Pending reasonable disposition of the closed airport, the airport proprietor may charge airfield users at the new airport for reasonable maintenance costs of the old airport, provided that those costs are refunded or credited-back to those users upon the receipt of the proceeds from a whole or partial disposition.

(e) Costs of the second airport that may be included in the rate base of the first airport are limited to customary airfield cost center charges. The total airfield revenue recovered from the users of both airports cannot exceed the total allowable costs of the two airports combined.

2.6 [Reserved]

2.6.1  Reasonable methodologies may include, but are not limited to, historic cost valuation, direct negotiation with aeronautical users, or objective determinations of fair market value.

2.6.2 If an airport proprietor determines fees for such other facilities on the basis of HCA costs, the airport proprietor must follow the guidance set forth in paragraph 2.4.5 for the allocation of shared costs.

2.7 At all times, airport proprietors must comply with the following practices:

2.7.1 Indirect costs may not be included in the fees charged for aeronautical use of the airport unless they are based on a reasonable, “transparent” cost allocation formula calculated consistently for other units or cost centers within the control of the airport sponsor.

2.7.2 The costs of airport development or planning projects paid for with Federal Government grants and contributions or passenger facility charges (PFCs) may not be included in the fees charged for aeronautical use of the airport.Start Printed Page 55335

(a) In the case of a PFC-funded project for terminal development, for gates and related areas, or for a facility that is occupied by one or more carriers on an exclusive or preferential use basis, the fees paid to use those facilities shall be no less than the fees charged for similar facilities that were not financed with PFC revenue.

Prohibition on Unjust Discrimination

3. Aeronautical fees may not unjustly discriminate against aeronautical users or user groups.

3.1 The airport proprietor must apply a consistent methodology in establishing fees for comparable aeronautical users of the airport. When the airport proprietor uses a cost-based methodology, aeronautical fees imposed on any aeronautical user or group of aeronautical users may not exceed the costs allocated to that user or user group under a cost allocation methodology adopted by the airport proprietor that is consistent with this guidance, unless aeronautical users otherwise agree.

3.1.1 The prohibition on unjust discrimination does not prevent an airport proprietor from making reasonable distinctions among aeronautical users (such as signatory and nonsignatory carriers) and assessing higher fees on certain categories of aeronautical users based on those distinctions (such as higher fees for nonsignatory carriers, as compared to signatory carriers).

3.2 A properly structured peak pricing system that allocates limited resources using price during periods of congestion will not be considered to be unjustly discriminatory. An airport proprietor may, consistent with the policies expressed in this policy statement, establish fees that enhance the efficient utilization of the airport.

3.3 Relevant provisions of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) and many bilateral aviation agreements specify, inter alia, that charges imposed on foreign airlines must not be unjustly discriminatory, must not be higher than those imposed on domestic airlines engaged in similar international air services and must be equitably apportioned among categories of users. Charges to foreign air carriers for aeronautical use that are inconsistent with these principles will be considered unjustly discriminatory or unfair and unreasonable.

3.4 Allowable costs—costs properly included in the rate base—must be allocated to aeronautical users by a transparent, reasonable, and not unjustly discriminatory rate-setting methodology. The methodology must be applied consistently and cost differences must be determined quantitatively, when practical.

3.4.1 Common costs (costs not directly attributable to a specific user group or cost center) must be allocated according to a reasonable, transparent and not unjustly discriminatory cost allocation methodology that is applied consistently, and does not require any aeronautical user or user group to pay costs properly allocable to other users or user groups.

Requirement To Be Financially Self-Sustaining

4. Airport proprietors must maintain a fee and rental structure that in the circumstances of the airport makes the airport as financially self-sustaining as possible.

4.1 If market conditions or demand for air service do not permit the airport to be financially self-sustaining, the airport proprietor should establish long-term goals and targets to make the airport as financially self-sustaining as possible.

4.1.1 Airport proprietors are encouraged, when entering into new or revised agreements or otherwise establishing rates, charges, and fees, to undertake reasonable efforts to make their particular airports as self sustaining as possible in the circumstances existing at such airports.

(a) Absent agreement with aeronautical users, the obligation to make the airport as self-sustaining as possible does not permit the airport proprietor to establish fees for the use of the airfield that exceed the airport proprietor's airfield costs.

(b) For those facilities for which this policy permits the use of fair market value, the Department does not construe the obligation on self-sustainability to compel the use of fair market value to establish fees.

4.1.2 At some airports, market conditions may not permit an airport proprietor to establish fees that are sufficiently high to recover aeronautical costs and sufficiently low to attract and retain commercial aeronautical services. In such circumstances, an airport proprietor's decision to charge rates that are below those needed to achieve self-sustainability in order to assure that services are provided to the public is not inherently inconsistent with the obligation to make the airport as self-sustaining as possible in the circumstances.

4.2 In establishing new fees, and generating revenues from all sources, airport owners and operators should not seek to create revenue surpluses that exceed the amounts to be used for airport system purposes and for other purposes for which airport revenues may be spent under 49 U.S.C. 47107(b)(1), including reasonable reserves and other funds to facilitate financing and to cover contingencies. While fees charged to nonaeronautical users may exceed the costs of service to those users, the surplus funds accumulated from those fees must be used in accordance with § 47107(b).

4.2.1 The Department assumes that the limitation on the use of airport revenue and effective market discipline for aeronautical services and facilities other than the airfield will be effective in holding aeronautical revenues, over time, to the airport proprietor's costs of providing aeronautical services and facilities, including reasonable capital costs. However, the progressive accumulation of substantial amounts of surplus aeronautical revenue may warrant an FAA inquiry into whether aeronautical fees are consistent with the airport proprietor's obligations to make the airport available on fair and reasonable terms.

Requirements Governing Revenue Application and Use

5. In accordance with relevant Federal statutory provisions governing the use of airport revenue, airport proprietors may expend revenue generated by the airport only for statutorily allowable purposes.

5.1 Additional information on the statutorily allowed uses of airport revenue is contained in separate guidance published by FAA pursuant to § 112 of the FAA Authorization Act of 1994, which is codified at 49 U.S.C. 47107(l).

5.2 The progressive accumulation of substantial amounts of airport revenues may warrant an FAA inquiry into the airport proprietor's application of revenues to the local airport system.

Congested Airports

6. Congested Airports

(a) The Department considers a currently congested airport to be—

(1) An airport at which the number of operating delays is one per cent or more of the total operating delays at the 55 airports with the highest number of operating delays; or

(2) An airport identified as congested by FAA listed in table 1 of FAA's Airport Capacity Benchmark Report 2004, or the most recent version of the Airport Capacity Benchmark Report.

(b) The Department considers an airport to be a future congested airport if an airport is forecasted to meet a defined threshold level of congestion reported in the Future Airport Capacity Start Printed Page 55336Task 2 study entitled Capacity Needs in the National Airspace System 2007-2025: An analysis of Airports and Metropolitan Area Demand and Operational Capacity in the Future (FACT 2 Report), or any update to that report that FAA may publish from time-to-time.

(c) A congested hour is an hour during which demand exceeds average runway capacity resulting in volume-related delays, or is anticipated to do so.

6.1 Because charges provided in paragraphs 2.1.4, 2.5.3 and 2.5.4 to address congestion can result in higher fees for some or all operators, it is especially important for airport operators proposing such charges to provide carriers in advance the information listed in Appendix 1, with special emphasis on data, analysis and forecasts used to justify the charges.

6.2 The proprietor of a future congested airport may adopt measures to address congestion in accordance with paragraphs 2.1.4, 2.5.3 and 2.5.4 of this policy, if the measures will not take effect or have any effect on airfield charges until a time when the airport meets the definition of a congested airport in paragraph 6(a) or is anticipated to do so. This kind of measure would typically identify the specific condition, e.g., operating delays that regularly exceed a certain level at the airport that would trigger the implementation of the special charges to address congestion.

6.3 An airport proprietor may exempt flights subsidized under the Essential Air Service Program from charges imposed under paragraphs 2.5.3 and 2.5.4 of this policy.

Start Signature

Issued in Washington, DC, on August 23, 2013.

Susan L. Kurland,

Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs.

Christa Fornarotto,

Associate Administrator for Airports, Federal Aviation Administration,

End Signature

Appendix 1—Information for Aeronautical User Charges Consultations

The Department of Transportation ordinarily expects the following information to be available to aeronautical users in connection with consultations over changes in airport rates and charges:

1. Historic Financial Information covering two fiscal years prior to the current year including, at minimum, a profit and loss statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement for the airport implementing the charges, and any financial reports prepared by the airport proprietor to satisfy the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 47107(a)(19) and 47107(k).

2. Justification. Economic, financial and/or legal justification for changes in the charging methodology or in the level of aeronautical rates and charges at the airport. Airports should provide information on the aeronautical costs they are including in the rate base.

3. Traffic Information. Annual numbers of terminal passengers and aircraft movements for each of the two preceding years.

4. Planning and Forecasting Information.

(a) To the extent applicable to current or proposed fees, the long-term airport strategy setting out long-term financial and traffic forecasts, major capital projects and capital expenditure, and particular areas requiring strategic action. This material should include any material provided for public or government reviews of major airport developments, including analyses of demand and capacity and expenditure estimates.

(b) Accurate, complete information specific to the airport for the current and the forecast year, including the current and proposed budgets, forecasts of airport charges revenue, the projected number of landings and passengers, expected operating and capital expenditures, debt service payments, contributions to restricted funds, or other required accounts or reserves.

(c) To the extent the airport uses a residual or hybrid charging methodology, a description of key factors expected to affect commercial or other nonaeronautical revenues and operating costs in the current and following years.

End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2013-21905 Filed 9-9-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P