Submittal Instructions for Airport Emergency Contingency Plans Available; DOT Recommends Changes to Plan Template

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued guidance regarding how to submit Airport Emergency Contingency Plans in accordance with provisions of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.  All large, medium, small, and non-hub airports are required to submit these Contingency Plans to the DOT by May 14.  In addition, on April 27, the DOT provided late-breaking comments to ACI-NA and AAAE regarding our Airport Emergency Contingency Plan Template and made limited but consequential changes to the template language. 

This memo discusses (1) the changes DOT recommended to the template for inclusion in your Contingency Plan and (2) the DOT process for submitting the plans electronically. 

ACI-NA will discuss these two topics in a webinar on Monday, May 7, from 3:30-4:30 pm EDT.  If you are interested in participating in the webinar, please click here for your free registration.  We will send registered participants a webinar link and dial-in information at the start of day on May 7.

DOT Emergency Contingency Template Changes

On April 27, DOT staff provided a set of proposed changes to the ACI-NA/AAAE Emergency Contingency Plan Template (see links below).  These proposed changes deal primarily with airports’ plans to share facilities and make gates available in an emergency.  The proposed changes presume that airports can and will play a much stronger role to ensure facilities and gates are shared when airlines experience extended tarmac delays.

For example, within the gate sharing option that deals with exclusive-use facilities, DOT recommends replacing the following sentence:

“We will work with our tenant air carriers to make gates and other facilities available to an air carrier seeking to deplane at these exclusively-leased gates to the extent practicable.”

with:

“We will direct our tenant air carriers to make gates and other facilities available to an air carrier seeking to deplane at these exclusively-leased gates during those time periods the gates are not in use or not scheduled to be in use, to the maximum extent practicable.” (changes shown in bold)

ACI-NA is concerned that the DOT new language will conflict with use-and-lease agreements at some airports (e.g., airports may be unable to “direct” airlines to make facilities available, especially in the case of exclusive use facilities).  Accordingly, we strongly recommend that you review the proposed DOT language with your legal counsel to ensure that the language is appropriate for use at your airport.

If the proposed DOT changes do conflict with use-and-lease agreements at your airport, we recommend contacting DOT directly to discuss contingency plan language that is appropriate for your situation.  Points of contact within the DOT regarding these issues are Livaughn Chapman (Livaughn.Chapman@dot.gov) and Laura Jennings (laura.jennings@dot.gov).  ACI-NA would also be happy to convey your concerns and questions to DOT.

ACI-NA/AAAE Contingency Plan Templates: (DOC format)

·         Click here for a copy of the ORIGINAL ACI-NA/AAAE Contingency Plan Template

·         Click here for a copy of the DOT amended ACI-NA/AAAE Contingency Plan Template (changes shown in red)

Emergency Contingency Plan Submittal Process

Airports can now file their Contingency Plans with the DOT electronically at http://filingtarmacdelayplan.dot.gov.  The filing system “went live” late on May 2.  Full instructions on how to submit plans are available in this DOT Notice, which will be published to the Federal Register in the next couple of days.  The process is summarized below.

·         In order to use the tarmac delay plan filing system, you will need to register on the website.  To register, click on the hyperlink titled “Create Account to Submit Tarmac Delay Contingency Plan” in the blue sign-in box on the home page, select the registration type (i.e., Airline or Airport), select your airport name from the dropdown list, click continue, and then simply fill in and submit the requested information.  The DOT encourages each covered airport to register with the website as soon as possible so that you receive a username and password from DOT in advance of May 14, 2012, the date by which covered U.S. airlines/airports are required to submit their plans.

·         Each airport representative will be assigned a unique username and password after DOT has verified your authenticity, which may take up to three days.  This step is necessary to ensure that only authorized users can submit information.  Once you receive a username and password from DOT, you will be able to access the website, upload your plan and submit it for approval electronically.

·         After logging into the system, clicking on the “Submit New Plan” button will take you to a screen where you can begin the contingency plan submission process.

·         If, after submitting a plan for approval, you need to modify or replace your plan, you can resubmit a replacement plan under the original Submission Title by clicking “Resubmit This Entry” after logging back into the submittal system.

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If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Chris Oswald (coswald@aci-na.org) or Paul Eubanks (peubanks@aci-na.org).