ACI-NA Files Comments Regarding DOT Proposed New Airport Obligations for Service Animal Relief Areas

ACI-NA Files Comments Regarding DOT Proposed New Airport Obligations for Service Animal Relief Areas

 

On November 28th, ACI-NA filed comments with DOT regarding the Department’s proposed rule imposing new obligations on airport operators to establish relief areas for service animals that accompany passengers with disabilities departing, connecting, or arriving at U.S. airports.  DOT proposes to amend 49 CFR part 27 by requiring airport operators to work with air carriers to establish these relief areas and even indicated an independent responsibility for airport operators to establish these areas.  Tentatively, DOT has proposed a minimum of one service animal relief area for each airport terminal and sought comment on whether these areas should be located inside or outside the sterile area of an airport.  DOT also sought comment on whether airports should show on airport Web sites, maps, and diagrams the location of the relief areas and whether airports should provide signage to assist in locating the relief areas.  In its comments, ACI-NA emphasized that, because each airport is unique, DOT should leave to each airport operator the decision regarding the location and distribution of, and manner in which to provide, these relief areas for service animals.  While airport operators already have established such relief areas on their own initiative, ACI-NA insisted that any regulatory responsibility for the relief areas should remain with the airlines, as currently required in 14 CFR Part 382.  ACI-NA also expressed concern with the short 120 day timeframe proposed by DOT for compliance with any final rule.  Such a short timeframe provides insufficient time for airport operators to comply with the statutory and regulatory procurement and finding requirements for public entities.

Link to DOT NPRM:   (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-09-29/pdf/2011-24849.pdf). 

Link to ACI-NA Comment:  /sites/default/files/files/Service Animal Relief Areas--Nov2011(1).pdf