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Feb 15 -- The DOT Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) invites the general public, industry and other governmental parties to comment on the continuing need for and usefulness of DOT requiring U.S. and foreign air carriers to file traffic and capacity data pursuant to 14 CFR 241.19 and Part 217, respectively. These reports are used to measure air transportation activity to, from, and within the United States. Written comments should be submitted by April 17, 2023.

Needs and uses are as follows:
Airport Improvement -- The Federal Aviation Administration uses enplanement data for U.S. airports to distribute the annual Airport Improvement Program (AIP) entitlement funds to eligible primary airports, i.e., airports which account for more than 0.01 percent of the total passengers enplaned at U.S. airports. Enplanement data contained in Schedule T-100/T-100(f) are the sole data base used by the FAA in determining airport funding. U.S. airports receiving significant service from foreign air carriers operating small aircraft could be receiving less than their fair share of AIP entitlement funds. Collecting Schedule T-100(f) data for small aircraft operations will enable the FAA to distribute these funds more fairly.

Air  Carrier Safety -- The FAA uses traffic, operational and capacity data as important safety indicators and 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. The FAA monitors changes in the number of air carrier operations as a way to allocate 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.

Acquisitions and Mergers -- While the Justice Department has the primary responsibility over air carrier acquisitions and mergers, the Department reviews the transfer of international routes involved to determine if they would substantially reduce competition, or determine if the transaction 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 uses T-100 data in carrying out its responsibilities relating to airline competition and consolidation.

Traffic Forecasting -- The FAA uses traffic, operational and capacity data as important safety indicators and to prepare the air carrier traffic and operation forecasts. These forecasts are used by the FAA, airport managers, the airlines and others in the air travel industry as planning and budgeting tools.

Airport Capacity Analysis -- The mix of aircraft types are used in determining the practical annual capacity (PANCAP) at airports as prescribed in the FAA Advisory Circular Airport Capacity Criteria Used in Preparing the National Airport Plan. The PANCAP is a safety-related measure of the annual airport capacity or level of operations. It is a predictive measure which indicates potential capacity problems, delays, and possible airport expansions 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, the FAA develops ways of increasing airport capacity at congested airports.

Airline Industry Status Evaluations -- The Department apprizes 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 and inclusive 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.

Mail Rates -- The Department is responsible for establishing international and intra-Alaska mail rates. International mail rates are set based on scheduled operations in four geographic areas: Trans-border, Latin America, operations over the Atlantic Ocean and operations over the Pacific Ocean. Separate rates are set for mainline and bush Alaskan operations. The rates are updated every six months to reflect changes in unit costs in each rate-making entity. Traffic and capacity data are used in conjunction with cost data to develop the required unit cost data.

Essential Air Service -- The Department reassesses service levels at small domestic communities to assure that capacity levels are adequate to accommodate current demand.

System Planning at Airports -- 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.

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

Foreign Air Carriers Applications -- Foreign air carriers are required to submit applications for authority to operate to the United States. In reviewing these applications, the Department must find that the requested authority is encompassed in a bilateral agreement, other intergovernmental understanding, or that granting the application is in the public interest. In the 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 U.S. operations. These benefits are compared and balanced against the benefits U.S. carriers receive from their operations to the applicant's homeland.

Air Carrier Fitness -- The Department determines whether U.S. air carriers are and continue to be fit, willing and able to conduct air service operations without undue risk to passengers and shippers. The Department monitors a carrier's load factor, operational, and enplanement data to compare with other carriers with similar operating characteristics. Carriers that expand operations at a high rate are monitored more closely for safety reasons.

International Civil Aviation Organization -- Pursuant to an international agreement, the United States is obligated to report certain air carrier data to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The traffic data supplied to ICAO are extracted from the U.S. air carriers' Schedule T-100 submissions.

T-100 Domestic Market and Segment Data: https://geodata.bts.gov/datasets/usdot::t-100-domestic-market-and-segment-data/about
Draft data collection instruments and technical documentation requested of BTS by AEAStat.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-03224

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