Summary: S.1968 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.1968. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (04/22/1998)

Air Service Restoration Act - Amends Federal transportation law to establish within the Department of Transportation an Office of Aviation Development, which shall be headed by a Director, designated by the Secretary of Transportation. Requires the Director to: (1) function as a facilitator between small communities and air carriers; (2) carry out a specified airline service restoration program; (3) ensure that the Bureau of Transportation Statistics collects data on passenger information to assess the service needs of small communities; (4) coordinate efforts with other Federal, State, and local agencies to increase the viability of service to small communities and the creation of aviation development zones; and (5) recommend policies to the Secretary and the Congress that will ensure that small communities have access to quality, affordable air transportation services. Requires the Director to report annually to the Secretary and the Congress with respect to the availability of quality air transportation services to small communities.

(Sec. 5) Authorizes a small community or a consortia of small communities or a State to develop an assessment of air service requirements and submit it with an air service program proposal to the Office of Aviation Development. Sets forth specified program requirements. Requires the Director to report annually to the Congress on progress in expanding commercial aviation service to smaller communities. Waives for any community approved for service during a specified period the requirement that a State or local government or person submitting a proposal to compensate an air carrier for providing air transportation be willing and able to pay 25 percent of the cost of providing such transportation.

(Sec. 6) Requires the Director to establish an airline service restoration pilot program to assist communities and States with inadequate access to the national transportation system to improve such access, including facilitating better link-ups to such system. Sets forth certain requirements and eligibility criteria with respect to communities participating in the pilot program.

Directs the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in order to facilitate the use of, and improve the safety at, small airports, to establish a pilot program to contract for Level I air traffic control at 20 facilities not eligible for participation in the Federal Contract Tower Program.

(Sec. 7) Authorizes the Secretary to obligate specified amounts of aviation program funds (including success bonuses) in providing enhanced air carrier service to small communities.

(Sec. 8) Authorizes the Secretary, in order to facilitate air service to a small community receiving airline service restoration pilot program assistance, to require, if necessary, an air carrier that serves an essential U.S. airport facility and an air carrier that offers service in an underserved U.S. market to enter into an agreement with a qualifying air carrier that files a request with the Secretary.

(Sec. 9) Amends Federal aviation law policy to require the Secretary, in the course of economic regulation, to consider ensuring that: (1) consumers in all U.S. regions, including those in small communities and rural and remote areas, have access to affordable, regularly scheduled air service; and (2) any slots given to air carriers to provide small community air service are withdrawn if the carrier fails to provide such service.

(Sec. 10) Directs the Secretary to review, and promulgate regulations to address, the marketing practices of air carriers that may inhibit the availability of quality, affordable air transportation services to small and medium-sized communities.