AVIATION (AIRPORTS) / Federal Aviation Administration “updates, simplifies, and streamlines rules of practice and procedure for filing and adjudicating complaints against federally-assisted airports”.

“Rules of Practice for Federally-Assisted Airport Enforcement Proceedings (Retrospective Regulatory Review)” 

September 12, 2013. Final Rule.

“It improves efficiency by enabling parties to file submissions with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) electronically, and by incorporating modern business practices into how the FAA handles complaints. This amendment is necessary to reflect changes in applicable laws and regulations, and to apply lessons learned since the existing rules were implemented in 1996.”

“The FAA, sponsors, aeronautical users, and other stakeholders have 17 years of experience with Part 16 as implemented in 1996. [1] In general, Part 16 has been a useful process for resolving complaints regarding sponsor compliance. The FAA does not intend to change the basic features of the process. Rather, the FAA has identified updates to Part 16 that could improve the process and reduce time required to address certain cases, based on agency and stakeholder lessons learned.

“The FAA has determined that the agency, sponsors, aeronautical users, and other stakeholders in Part 16 proceedings will benefit from adding the following to the rule:

  • Procedures for concluding the investigation by “summary judgment” or dismissal without an answer by the sponsor.
  • Termination of complainant standing in certain cases where the FAA finds the sponsor in noncompliance on all issues raised in the complaint.
  • Optional electronic filing procedures.
  • Procedures for filing complaints under Title 49 CFR part 23, Participation of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) in Airport Concessions, and 49 CFR part 26, Participation by DBEs in Department of Transportation (DOT) Financial Assistance Programs.

“In addition, the FAA has determined it will be helpful to clarify existing language in Part 16 that addresses [2] —

  • Intervention and other participation.
  • The process for ordering corrective action for noncompliant sponsors.
  • Processes involving the Director, including procedures for seeking rehearing of Director’s Determinations upon a showing of good cause.
  • Standard of Proof and Burden of Proof requirements.
  • Standards for raising new issues on appeal to the Associate Administrator.
  • Consent Orders.
  • Requests for testimony of agency employees.
  • Processes involving the Associate Administrator, including procedures for seeking rehearing of Final Agency Decisions upon a showing of good cause.
  • Transfer of responsibility for decision-making for civil rights cases.
  • Availability of judicial review.
  • Extension of the time period for filing pleadings by mail.

“Finally, the FAA is making minor updates to terminology and organization within Part 16 as part of its revision. These changes streamline the rule and reflect current practices.”