ACI-NA Meets with U.S. DOT Regarding New Statutory Requirements for Airport Emergency Contingency Plan

On February 17, ACI-NA (Chris Oswald and Debby McElroy) and AAAE met with officials from DOT’s Office of the General Counsel (Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings) and Aviation Consumer Protection Division to discuss Section 42301 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (H.R. 658).  Under this provision large, medium, small and non-hub airports are required to submit emergency contingency plans to DOT for review and approval within 90 days of enactment of the bill (i.e., by May 14, 2012).

Below is summary of the most pertinent information from the meeting:

  • Airports should not file plans with DOT until additional guidance is provided;
  • DOT plans to issue a notice next week indicating there will be an electronic submission system for the plans to facilitate review and tracking of the plans for compliance. ACI-NA and AAAE will provide a copy of the notice to members as soon as it is received;
  • The notice will also provide a list of airports required to file plans, based on FAA enplanement data for 2010;
  • DOT will issue a second notice in approximately 45 days with more detailed information on plan submission;
  • Within 60 days of receipt of airport plans, DOT must review and approve the plan or require modifications to meet the statutory obligations. If DOT does not act within 60 days, the plan is deemed approved.
  • Airports will be subject to enforcement penalties up to $27,500 per day for not filing a plan or up to $27,500 per impacted passenger for not complying with their approved plan.   

Given the potential for significant fines, ACI-NA encourages airports are encouraged to provide the minimum information necessary in their plan to demonstrate compliance, even if your contingency plan covers a broader range of topics than required.

ACI-NA and AAAE are developing a plan template that airports can use in developing their emergency contingency plan.  We’ll provide an update regarding this template in a few weeks.