[Federal Register: September 23, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 184)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 51430-51432]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr23se99-8]                         

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 91

 
Noise Transition Regulations; Approach of Final Compliance Date

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of approach of final compliance date.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This document serves as a reminder to operators of all jet 
airplanes over 75,000 pounds of the limits on these airplanes after the 
final compliance date, December 31, 1999. This document is intended to 
assist operators of these airplanes in planning their actions toward 
complete compliance with the upcoming prohibition on operations of 
Stage 2

[[Page 51431]]

airplanes in the contiguous United States.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas Connor, Manager, Noise 
Division, AEE-100, Office of Environment and Energy, FAA, 800 
Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone 202-267-8933, 
fax 202-267-5594.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    In the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990, 49 U.S.C. 47501 et 
seq. (ANCA), Congress prohibited the operation of Stage 2 aircraft over 
75,000 pounds in the contiguous United States after December 31, 1999. 
The law also required the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to 
establish by regulation a schedule of phased compliance that would 
eliminate Stage 2 operations by the final compliance date.
    Those regulations were promulgated in 1991, and codified at 14 CFR 
Secs. 91.851-91.877. In general, the regulations require each operator 
of Stage 2 airplanes to progressively reduce the number of Stage 2 
airplanes it operates by 25% by the end of 1994, 1996, and 1998. In the 
alternative, operators may choose to operate a fleet of airplanes that 
is increasingly Stage 3--55% after 1994, 65% after 1996, and 75% after 
1998. In either case, except as provided in the law, no Stage 2 
airplanes may operate in the contiguous United States after December 
31, 1999.

Waivers From Final Compliance

    Congress provided the authority to grant limited waivers from the 
final compliance date in ANCA. The waiver provision, codified at 49 
U.S.C. 47528(b) and 14 CFR Sec. 91.873, is limited in both scope and 
application. Only U.S. air carriers (part 121 operators) were eligible 
to apply for the waiver, and applications had to have been filed by 
January 1, 1999. The FAA received 10 applications for waivers, and 
decisions on those applications are pending.

Effect of Final Compliance Date on Agency Actions

    When the FAA promulgated the regulations, it warned all affected 
operators that they should plan for full compliance by the end of 1999 
(56 FR 48839, Sept. 25, 1991). However, the FAA has received several 
inquiries regarding operations of Stage 2 airplanes after December 31, 
1999, indicating that some operators are uncertain about what Stage 2 
operations might be allowed after the final compliance date.
    After December 31, 1999, by action of law, the FAA will no longer 
have the authority to allow certain operations of large airplanes that 
have come to be viewed as routine. For example, SFAR 64, Special Flight 
Authorizations for Noise Restricted Aircraft, will expire on December 
31, 1999. That regulation allows operators of Stage 1 and Stage 2 
airplanes to request special flight authorizations to move noise-
related airplanes in and out of the United States under the 
circumstances listed in the regulation. After December 31, 1999, such 
operations will not be allowed. This is not a matter of FAA discretion 
or policy--the statue that prohibits Stage 2 operation in the 
contiguous United States after that date removes the FAA's authority to 
allow such airplane movement, except as may be authorized under the 
statutory waiver described above.

Operating Limitations After December 31, 1999

    Therefore, after December 31, 1999, no person may operate a Stage 1 
or Stage 2 airplane over 75,000 pounds to, from, or within the 
contiguous United States for any purpose, unless that person is a part 
121 operator that has a valid waiver obtained from the FAA under 
Sec. 91.873. Operation of a Stage 1 or Stage 2 airplane for any of the 
following purposes is prohibited: obtaining noise modifications, 
maintenance, scrapping, repositioning, exportation, sale, lease, or 
storage. This prohibition applies to any Stage 1 or Stage 2 airplane 
over 75,000 pounds in the contiguous United States, including airplanes 
normally operated by a U.S. air carrier outside the contiguous United 
States that are occasionally brought into the contiguous United States 
for maintenance. An airplane scheduled to be modified after December 
31, 1999, should be located at the modification facility on or before 
that date. After December 31, 1999, the FAA will have no authority to 
allow operation of Stage 1 or Stage 2 airplanes for any purpose.
    Operation of any Stage 1 or Stage 2 airplane after December 31, 
1999, except as granted pursuant to the statutory waiver, will be 
subject to the penalties prescribed by law (49 U.S.C. 47531). The FAA 
has determined compliance with the noise transition regulations by 
counting the Stage 2 and Stage 3 airplanes appearing on an operator's 
operations specifications (or their equivalent). Accordingly, the FAA 
recommends that operators make arrangements to remove all Stage 2 
airplanes from their operations specifications (or restrict their 
operation as to areas outside the contiguous United States) on or 
before December 31, 1999, to prevent any confusion.
    The provision of the nonaddition rule that allows special flight 
authorizations to be granted to otherwise restricted airplanes for the 
purpose of hushkitting, codified at 49 U.S.C. 47529(b) and 
Sec. 91.857(b), will no longer be effective after December 31, 1999. 
The FAA has determined that, as a matter of law, the provisions of the 
statutory nonaddition rule, which is limited in scope to imported 
airplanes, does not overcome the general statutory prohibition on Stage 
2 airplane operations. Similarly, the FAA's regulation allowing Stage 2 
airplanes into the contiguous United States for maintenance purposes, 
Sec. 91.857(a), is also subject to the statutory prohibition after 
December 31, 1999. Essentially, Secs. 91.855 and 91.857 can no longer 
be used after December 31, 1999. Operators should plan their airplane 
movements accordingly to prevent airplanes from being ``stuck'' in the 
United States after midnight December 31, 1999, since the FAA will have 
no authority to allow any further operation, and any operation will be 
considered a violation of ANCA.
    In addition, the FAA specifically warns operators of airplanes over 
75,000 pounds operated under an experiemental airworthiness certificate 
(or any other type of airworthiness certificate) that their operations 
are also prohibited after December 31, 1999. The FAA gave notice in 
1991 and 1995 that all operators of jet airplanes over 75,000 pounds, 
regardless of airworthiness certificate type, were subject to the law 
and the implementing regulations. Until recently, however, operators of 
airplanes used for research and development purposes mistakenly 
presumed that their airplanes were not covered by ANCA or the 
regulations, or that the FAA would exempt them. The FAA has no 
authority to exempt operators of these airplanes, regardless of their 
operating purpose.
    In short, any Stage 1 or Stage 2 airplane in the contiguous United 
States after December 31, 1999, may not be operated for any purpose. 
Operators of these airplanes are warned to plan accordingly.
    The FAA restates that these circumstances are not within the 
agency's discretion, but come about by the action of law. This is not a 
request for comment on a proposed rule. The FAA has no authority to 
consider exceptions of any kind from these circumstances, and any 
requests for permission to operate, other than under the statutory 
waiver authority, will be returned to the petitioner without action.
    The FAA has requested that ANCA be amended to extend the agency's

[[Page 51432]]

authority to allow limited operation of Stage 2 airplanes under certain 
circumstances. If such authority is granted, the agency will publish 
document in the Federal Register detailing the scope of that authority 
and the means by which it will be implemented. Operators are cautioned 
not to rely on this possible change of authority when planning their 
year-end operations.

    Issued in Washington, DC on September 17, 1999.
Paul R. Dykeman,
Deputy Director of Environment and Energy.
[FR Doc. 99-24798 Filed 9-22-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-M