FAAC Status Updates
In December of 2010, the FAAC completed several months of deliberation and issued 23 consensus recommendations on the future of U.S. aviation. The recommendations focused on safety, the environment, competition, finance and labor relations. Many of the FAAC’s recommendations in these areas explored new and innovative strategies for the industry. Other recommendations sought to highlight and to provide support and encouragement for on-going initiatives that the FAAC members believed to be of particular importance to the future health and sustainability of the industry. What follows is a report on the progress of on-going implementation efforts to address these recommendations. These summaries will be updated periodically.
- FAAC Recommendation 1
- FAAC Recommendation 2
- FAAC Recommendation 3
- FAAC Recommendation 4
- FAAC Recommendation 5
- FAAC Recommendation 6
- FAAC Recommendation 7
- FAAC Recommendation 8
- FAAC Recommendation 9
- FAAC Recommendation 10
- FAAC Recommendation 11
- FAAC Recommendation 12
- FAAC Recommendation 13
- FAAC Recommendation 14
- FAAC Recommendation 15
- FAAC Recommendation 16
- FAAC Recommendation 17
- FAAC Recommendation 18
- FAAC Recommendation 19
- FAAC Recommendation 20
- FAAC Recommendation 21
- FAAC Recommendation 22
- FAAC Recommendation 23
Sustainable Alternative Aviation Fuels
The Advisory Committee sought strong national leadership to promote and showcase U.S. aviation as a first user of sustainable alternative fuels. Sustainable alternative aviation fuels provide a tremendous opportunity for reductions in carbon emissions and other emissions associated with air quality, and can further U.S. energy security, create green jobs, and foster economic stability for aviation against fuel price volatility. The U.S. commercial aviation industry strongly supports alternative jet fuels and has partnered with the FAA and other Government agencies to develop such fuels.
Government and industry efforts have made notable progress in recent months via the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) and through other avenues. On July 1, 2011, standard-setting organization ASTM International approved a bio-derived sustainable alternative jet fuel known as Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids, or HEFA, for commercial use at a 50 percent blend level. It is a “drop-in” jet fuel that can be used without changes to aircraft systems or fueling infrastructure.
An Alternative Aviation Fuels Showcase was held at the Paris Airshow in June. Two transatlantic biofueled aircraft flights were conducted to the airshow. Commercial use of alternative fuels in the U.S. received a boost with the announcement by seven Air Transport Association member airlines of the signing of Letters of Intent to Negotiate Purchase of waste derived jet fuel from Solena Fuels, LLC in California.
On August 16, 2011, President Obama announced that the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Navy will invest up to $510 million over the next three years, in partnership with the private sector, to produce advanced drop-in aviation and marine biofuels for military and commercial transportation.
The FAA’s Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) technology program is pursuing additional research, development, and testing of alternative fuels and sustainability analyses.
ASTM International is beginning the evaluation process of additional “drop-in” jet fuels from renewable sources such as sugars and cellulose.
Aviation bio jet fuel production projects have been submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for funding consideration in association with the Farm to Fly initiative. Funding decisions are expected in September.
Date of Update: September 22, 2011
R&D Tax Credits, Government Research to Accelerate Aircraft Technologies
The Advisory Committee recommended the permanent extension of industry research and development tax credits to help accelerate aircraft technology research and development. The Advisory Committee recommended robust support for the FAA’s Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) technology program and close coordination with NASA aeronautical research programs to develop new aircraft technologies.
With respect to each, the Committee emphasized that aviation-related research and development investments are vital for a high technology economy. Historically, most of the reductions in the environmental impact of aviation have been due to improvements in technologies on the aircraft. Significant improvement opportunities are still ahead. Leveraging industry’s research and development investment was considered by the Advisory Committee to have the greatest capacity to maximize benefits in the shortest time frame.
At the time of the Advisory Committee’s recommendation, the U.S. Research and Development Tax Credit—in place since 1981—had expired. The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, enacted in December 2010, extended tax credits through 2011. The President’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget would make tax credits permanent and increase the Research and Development Alternative Simplified Credit (ASC) from 14 percent to 17 percent. A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, with bi-partisan co-sponsors, is similar to the President’s budget.
The CLEEN program is a cost-sharing initiative between FAA and industry to mature promising technologies and alternative fuels to reduce aircraft environmental impacts and energy use. The program has ambitious goals to achieve a quieter, cleaner fleet that operates more efficiently with less energy and sustainable fuels. A series of projects have been funded under the CLEEN program to mature various technologies to reduce fuel burn, emissions, and noise. Looking ahead, the CLEEN program has been identified by the Department of Transportation as an FAA reauthorization priority and an important component of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).
Congressional action in support of the President’s budget or to enact a similar legislative proposal is needed.
CLEEN projects that are currently funded will be matured to specified technology readiness levels. Technology Readiness Level, or TRL, is a system that indicates the maturity level of technology development on a scale of 1 to 9. At TRL 9, the system is fully operational and in service. In general, new technologies are introduced in commercial products within five years from a TRL 6 or 7 demonstration.
Date of Update: September 22, 2011
Accelerate NextGen Equipage; Ground taxi delay management; Energy efficiency and emissions reduction
NextGen holds the promise of increased efficiency and capacity, enhanced safety, and improved environmental performance in the National Airspace System. To accelerate the achievement of these benefits, a targeted investment will be required to equip a significant portion of the more than 200,000 aircraft in the U.S. fleet to take advantage of NextGen improvements.
Individual retrofit costs vary by aircraft type. Total hardware and installation costs for the necessary NextGen cockpit upgrades required for mid-term operations have been estimated to be in the $6-7 billion range.
In response to this FAAC recommendation, the FAA has tasked the NextGen Advisory Committee, a senior aviation community advisory group, to explore various funding possibilities to promote NextGen equipage. The Committee’s findings will identify potential user business case gaps (the difference between the cost to equip and the value of the associated benefits) that could be closed through operational and/or financial incentives. This effort is expected to become a basis for industry consensus.
In May 2011, the NAC approved a set of initial findings that provide a rationale for equipage incentives. The findings also identify user groups, operational capabilities and geographic locations that best make the case for NextGen equipage. Additionally, a bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 658) calling for the development of a plan to expedite equipage through public/ private partnerships. Among financial mechanisms that could be used to fund equipage, subject to Congressional approval, is the President’s request in the FY-12 budget to establish a National Infrastructure Bank that will provide grants, loans and a blend of both.
An FAA pilot program at two airports – Memphis and Orlando – directly addresses the recommendation as well. The Surface Decision Support System is installed at each site to serve as the prototype to mature new air traffic management concepts related to surface operations. Memphis International Airport provides an environment to evaluate hub airport operations with two dominate flight operators, FedEx Express and Delta Airlines. Orlando International Airport provides an environment to evaluate non-hub operations in which weather events routinely create departure queues.
FAA has completed the field evaluation report for Collaborative Departure Queue Management FY10 field activities at Memphis and Orlando. Collaborative Departure Queue Management reduces long lines at the end of a runway when an airport’s demand exceeds the available capacity. By maintaining a ‘virtual queue’ during periods of high demand, the CDQM concept provides environmental and fuel burn benefits while preserving flight operator flexibility. FedEx Express and Delta Airlines ramp towers and FAA air traffic controllers participated in the FY10 field evaluations of the CDQM concept in Memphis. During the evaluation, the flight operators and FAA ATC shared flight status information to improve surface demand predictability. Prototype commercial surface traffic management displays for the ramp towers were developed by Metron Aviation and Sensis to exchange data between the airlines and the FAA prototype and to improve the airlines’ ability to manage surface operations.
The FAA also installed prototype surface displays in Jacksonville and Miami ARTCCs, completed plan for evaluating benefits of surface displays in TRACONs and ARTCCs in Memphis and Orlando, and completed planning sessions with ATC in Memphis for FY11 field evaluations.
The recommendation sought to support the FAA’s efforts to reduce emissions and increase energy efficiency, such as its Sustainable Master Plan Pilot Program. A sustainable master plan assesses energy usage, emissions, vehicle fleet activity and community involvement activities. The FAA has partnered with 10 public-use airports and has provided funding for them to develop comprehensive sustainability plans. This baseline information will be used to help airports improved environmental performance
To date, all airports have begun their plans. They have begun coordinating with local stakeholders and developed environmental policy statements that underscore their commitment to sustainability. In the coming months, draft plans will be prepared that document each airport’s sustainability objectives.
These airports are participating in the Sustainable Master Plan Pilot Program: Denver International Airport; Fresno Yosemite International Airport; Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; Nashville International Airport; Newark Liberty International Airport ; Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, Virginia; Newton City-County Airport, Kansas; Outagamie County Regional Airport, Wisconsin; Renton Municipal Airport, Washington; and Teterboro Airport, New Jersey.
By September 2011, the NAC is expected to recommend the most effective operational and financial incentive mechanisms and identify reasonable conditions that would justify the investment of taxpayer funds on equipage incentives. By December 2011, the FAA will complete a plan that considers the NAC recommendations and fully supports the legislative process and proposals for incentives.
With respect to the ground delay program, field evaluations in Orlando will focus on collaborative departure scheduling. This capability monitors departure demand and capacity for metering categories, either based on runway assignment or on a departure fix. Any flight that is metered will be given a target movement entry time by controllers. This departure scheduling technique aims to create a virtual departure queue rather than a long physical queue at the end of a runway. Collaborative departure scheduling operations will primarily be weather driven in Orlando. Field evaluation in Memphis will begin as well. The field evaluations in Memphis involve FedEx Express and Delta Airlines.
Date of Update: September 22, 2011
Harmonized Sectoral Approach for Aviation Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reductions
This Advisory Committee recommendation focused attention on a national issue that is of international consequence. Aviation potentially faces multiple, overlapping provisions and proposals for taxes, charges, emissions trading, and other measures that are intended to constrain greenhouse gas emissions, but which threaten to siphon from the industry the funds needed for investments in effective emissions reductions.
A rationalized, harmonized approach is needed to promote and support significant emissions reductions to achieve carbon neutral growth in the 2020 timeframe and more ambitious reductions longer term.
The U.S. Government is working to resolve the serious policy and legal concerns as well as the practical adverse consequences of the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), consistent with ICAO principles. Requiring U.S. operators to meet regional goals and targets of the EU ETS could lead to a less than optimal allocation of schedules and aircraft compared to that which might be achieved through allocations based on U.S. system-wide (domestic and international) approach. The emissions of U.S. operators, flying domestically and internationally, are more appropriately and effectively addressed by the U.S. government and industry, consistent with the global principles to address aviation carbon dioxide emissions adopted by ICAO.
The U.S. aviation sector has a strong record of fuel efficiency improvements, which reduce emissions, and continues to work with government to advance technological, operational, infrastructure and alternative fuel opportunities for further improvements. The U.S. government is undertaking a set of initiatives under NextGen and working at ICAO to develop a U.S. Climate Action Plan and an aircraft CO2 emissions standard. We plan to provide annual updates of U.S. operator performance on greenhouse gas emissions.
In July of 2012, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published a comprehensive policy statement that outlines strategies and approaches necessary to meet the environmental and energy challenges that confront the U.S. civil aviation system. The policy statement is available here.
Date of Update: August 1, 2012
Extend the alternative minimum tax exemption
The extension of the AMT exemption for airport private activity bonds has not, thus far, been included in the House or Senate reauthorization bills.
This recommendation requires legislation.
Date of Update: January 26, 2012
Funding Accelerated Equipage of Aircraft
The FAAC recommended that the Federal Government undertake a significant financial investment to achieve extensive public benefits through the accelerated NextGen equipage of commercial and general aviation aircraft. This public-private partnership should focus on equipping aircraft and training staff to use the key NextGen technology and operational capabilities, including Performance based Navigation and ADS–B.
A menu of financial options—grants, loans, leases, and loan guarantees—should be designed in consultation with industry, and this financing could be managed through an infrastructure bank or other financing vehicle.
In support of a recent Administration infrastructure initiative, the DOT is exploring financial mechanisms that could be used to incentivize infrastructure and public service projects. Examples of financial mechanisms include: infrastructure bank, loan programs, tax incentives, grants and public-private partnerships. The focus is being placed on equipping aircraft to deliver operational capability in the areas of Performance Based Navigation, Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast and Data Communications.
Steps to address this recommendation are well under way. On February 3, 2011, Secretary LaHood announced FAA would pay $4.2 million to equip 35 JetBlue A-320s with ADS-B. In addition, President Obama’s American Jobs Act recognizes the need to accommodate equipage financing under the purview of a National Infrastructure Bank. DOT is working with Congress to ensure FAA Reauthorization contains language to advance NextGen.
To consult industry, the FAA tasked the NextGen Advisory Committee (NAC), a senior aviation community advisory group, to explore various funding possibilities to promote NextGen equipage. The Committee’s findings will identify potential user business case gaps (the difference between the cost to equip and the value of the associated benefits) that could be closed through operational and/or financial incentives. This effort is expected to be completed by September of 2011.
In May 2011, the NAC approved a set of initial findings that provide a rationale for equipage incentives. The findings also identify user groups, operational capabilities and geographic locations that best make the case for NextGen equipage. Additionally, a bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 658) calling for the development of a plan to expedite equipage through public/private partnerships.
- Infrastructure bank
- Performance Based Navigation
- Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast
- NextGen Advisory Committee (NAC)
- H.R. 658
By September 2011, the NAC is expected to identify reasonable conditions that would justify the investment of taxpayer funds on equipage incentives. By December 2011, the FAA will complete a plan that considers the NAC recommendations and fully supports the legislative process and proposals for incentives.
Date of Update: January 26, 2012
Delivering the benefits of NextGen
The FAAC wanted to support the FAA’s progress with NextGen and encourage these efforts to continue. NextGen is a comprehensive overhaul of America’s National Airspace System to make air travel more convenient and dependable, while ensuring flights are as safe, secure and hassle-free as possible. Recognizing how imperative NextGen is for the continued health of U.S. aviation, the FAAC encouraged the Secretary to support the FAA in delivering the operational capabilities, procedures, and approvals necessary for operators and the public to benefit from NextGen as quickly as possible. The FAAC highlighted three areas in particular: Improving the environmental review process; developing a best equipped, best served program; and leveraging the operations of the early adopters of Performance Based Navigation (PBN) or Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B).
The FAA initiated a series of reviews to identify opportunities for improving the environmental review process. Immediate improvements have been made, including the issuance of guidance memos on categorical exclusions for certain procedural actions, and preparing concise, focused environmental assessments. Other improvements are in progress, such as a re-engineered environmental review process for new flight procedures.
The FAA is developing the NextGen NEPA Plan, a systematic plan for more effective and efficient compliance with NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act. NEPA requires all agencies of the Federal Government to ensure that accurate and high quality environmental information is available to public officials and citizens before Federal decisions are made or actions taken that may affect the environment. The FAA has established a NEPA web site to make environmental review policy and guidance more accessible to stakeholders.
With respect to developing a “Best Equipped, Best Served Program,” the FAA, in support of a recent Administration infrastructure initiative and in response to this FAAC recommendation, is exploring financial and operational mechanisms that could be used to incentivize private-sector investment in NextGen-related aircraft avionics.
The FAA also has begun a major initiative to increase the efficiency of 21 key metroplexes by 2016 using performance-based navigation. Each metroplex contains busy airports in close proximity, often with smaller general aviation and military airports in the vicinity. Over the next five years, the FAA will optimize metroplex airspace and introduce procedures that will reduce route conflicts between airports, add routes, eliminate altitude restrictions and reduce restrictions due to special use airspace. The improvements will benefit operators who have already equipped for PBN and will encourage others to do so.
Each individual metroplex project is scheduled for completion in approximately three years. The FAA has staggered the start dates for each project in order to incorporate “lessons learned” from the early projects into the later projects. By the end of this fiscal year the FAA will initiate study teams for Atlanta; Houston; Charlotte, N.C.; Northern California, and Southern California, and will begin the detailed design for the Washington D.C. and North Texas metroplexes.
The FAA is working with industry to spur early adoption of ADS-B. In the Gulf of Mexico, the FAA is working with Helicopter Association International and rotorcraft operators to leverage ADS-B infrastructure that provides unprecedented levels of surveillance services through the region. FAA and JetBlue Airways recently entered into an agreement by which the government is paying to equip 35 JetBlue Airbus A320s with DO-260-compliant ADS-B systems in order to evaluate the operational performance of this technology on revenue flights. ADS-B will provide precise GPS-derived surveillance throughout the NAS, with much improved surveillance in areas where today’s radar has limited or no capability. Working closely with the carrier, the FAA has identified three geographic areas where there is currently limited or no radar coverage that would greatly benefit from ADS-B surveillance capability: offshore routes between the northeast and Florida, above the Gulf of Mexico, and routes between the southeast and the Caribbean.
In early 2013, JetBlue will begin flying the northeast offshore and Gulf routes (the latter dedicated to ADS-B aircraft), reducing delays and saving fuel during severe weather events, times of heavy congestion, or when radar service is interrupted. JetBlue will provide data to the FAA on the performance and operational benefits of ADS-B for affected aircraft.
The FAA also is working to enhance NextGen planning, which was highlighted by the FAAC. NextGen cannot be realized by government’s actions alone; many operational improvements are dependent on complementary planning and investment by the users of the NAS. To aid in this joint planning, the FAA has worked to enhance its NextGen planning documentation. In March 2011, the agency published its annual update to the NextGen Implementation Plan, which details the mid-term operational vision, the status of current implementation progress and results, and an overview of the NextGen work plan through the mid-term. The Plan and other supporting information are available at www.faa.gov/nextgen.
The FAA continues to update its NextGen Segment Implementation Plan (NSIP), the detailed internal document that captures the complete work plan for implementing NextGen operational improvements. The Agency intends to revise its plans for Segment Alpha (improvements scheduled for introduction from 2013 to 2015) by the end of the fiscal year. It will complete the first version of Segment Bravo (improvements scheduled for introduction from 2016 to 2018) by the end of the calendar year. This work plan, which is intended for internal agency use, is summarized publicly in the NextGen Implementation Plan. Successful planning as represented by the detailed NSIP document is highly dependent on known, stable funding.
- Comprehensive overhaul
- Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast
- NextGen NEPA PLAN
- National Environmental Policy Act
- 21 key metroplexes
- Performance Based Navigation
- Next Gen Advisory committee
The FAA will brief the NextGen Advisory Committee, an industry advisory group, on NextGen environmental review requirements and the development of the NextGen NEPA Plan in the summer and early fall of 2011. The agency will complete the NextGen NEPA Plan and make it available publicly in the fall of 2011. The FAA will enhance Air Traffic environmental screening tools for PBN procedure development to facilitate early and efficient identification of environmental impacts, with a prototype available in September 2011 and a final version in March 2012.
By the end of this fiscal year, the FAA will complete its studies of airspace and procedures in the Houston, Atlanta and Southern California metroplexes. Also, by the end of 2012 the agency will determine the redesign for the Washington D.C. and North Texas metroplexes, and implement those changes beginning in 2013. Finally, the FAA will update the NSIP in September 2011 and will publish the next version of the NextGen Implementation Plan in March 2012.
Date of Update: January 26, 2012
Expand criteria for airport AIP and PFC programs related to NextGen
This recommendation intensified FAA efforts to find alternative methods to pay for NextGen-related programs. After this recommendation was issued, the FAA established a working group across its lines of business to review current AIP and PFC eligibility criteria for NextGen-related systems. Since both AIP and PFC fund airport development projects, the working group reviewed which NextGen systems would be beneficial to airports.
The group’s review resulted in two recommendations for expanded eligibility that are in direct response to the FAAC initiative. The group found that several items eligible under AIP and PFC serve could be used to assist NextGen systems. For example, obstruction clearing to enable lower approach minimums for WAAS/LPV (Wide Area Augmentation System/Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance) approaches, and GIS (geographic information systems) surveys under the AIP pilot program in support of new WAAS/LPV procedures are eligible. Further, airfield improvements beneficial to NextGen like installation of lighting, marking, signs, weather-observation systems for airports to operate in lower approach minimums are also eligible.
The FAA is considering a pilot program to permit states to fund installation of ADS-B ground stations to provide airborne surveillance coverage and improve airport throughput.This is aimed at supplementing incomplete radar coverage, generally in the mountainous sections of the United States where radars do not track aircraft. Aircraft must be separated by procedural rather than radar separation rules, which can significantly constrain capacity. With ADS-B, the tracking signals of the aircraft are not lost, allowing accurate positioning of the aircraft.
The agency also is considering a second recommendation for expanded eligibility. It is a pilot program for surface surveillance systems to improve airport situational awareness and safety including in non-movement areas that are outside tower control.
Both programs require Congressional approval.
Date of Update: January 26, 2012
Promote Global Competitiveness
Recovery and long-term growth of the U.S. economy will require the continued promotion of U.S. aviation industry products and services to the 95 percent of the world’s population that lives outside the United States. When conditions that foster global competitiveness are promoted, the entire U.S. aviation community can better work towards an economically healthy and globally competitive industry and prosperous workforce. Thus, the Committee recommended that the Department take several steps to help ensure the competitiveness and viability of the U.S. air carrier industry
Accordingly, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs has established an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders to facilitate the exchange of information on any impediments to the implementation of alliances around the world. The dialogue also continues the Department’s advocacy with foreign partners. In addition, the Department has reviewed the process it uses to conduct its public interest analysis of alliance applications. This will ensure that its procedures incorporate and give substantial weight to all of the existing statutory criteria.
In response to the FAAC recommendation that we build and expand the Open-Skies initiative, the Department has put in place an ongoing U.S. industry outreach initiative to ensure that we have the most current information about industry priorities. We continue to identify potential new Open Skies partners and work to facilitate implementation of rights with all U.S. aviation partners. In addition, the Department has initiated a High Level Dialogue with the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China to promote development of the U.S.-China air transport relationship. Our efforts in aviation that increase U.S. aviation exports, including negotiations to liberalize access to foreign markets that benefit the U.S. travel and tourism sector and U.S. passenger and air cargo carriers, have been recognized in the 2011 National Export Strategy report. DOT efforts to improve the nation’s infrastructure and facilitate U.S. exporters’ access to airports are also highlighted in that report.
The Department will continue to apply the statutory criteria identified by the FAAC in reviewing current and future cases involving requests for antitrust immunity. Additionally, the Department is continuing, under this outreach initiative, to meet with U.S. industry stakeholders and to work with international partners on competition and alliance issues.
The information that we receive from industry stakeholders will inform the Department’s negotiating priorities as we continue to pursue liberalization with, among others, China, Vietnam, and Japan (Haneda issues) and to address doing business issues on an ongoing basis. We will build on our regulatory cooperative efforts with the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China.
Departmental efforts to increase aviation exports are continuing under the President’s National Export Initiative.
Date of Update: September 22, 2011
Aviation Tax Burden
- The FAAC observed that taxes on the U.S. aviation industry have the unintended consequence of making travel and shipping less affordable. In turn, these taxes also may inhibit airlines from making needed investments.
- Consequently, the FAAC recommended commissioning an independent study evaluating the Federal aviation tax burden on passengers, airlines and general aviation. After the study is complete, the FAAC recommended the Secretary review the results and that DOT pursue appropriate legislative and regulatory actions consistent with the findings of the study.
The Department is exploring potential options to conduct the study.
Date of Update: September 22, 2011
Disclosure of ancillary fees code-share operations, Airline Contracts of Carriage and air travel statistics
Ancillary fees: The Department issued a final rule on April 25, 2011 (RIN 2105-AD72, 76 FR 23110) requiring that U.S. and foreign air carriers to promptly and prominently disclose any increase to their baggage fees and any change to baggage allowance on the carriers’ homepages. The Final rule also requires each U.S. and foreign carrier to have a central webpage on its website, linked to the homepage, which lists all ancillary fees. These portions of the rule became effective on August 23, 2011.
With respect to airline price advertising, the final rule requires that any advertisements by U.S. and foreign air carriers and ticket agents that state a price for air transportation, an air tour or an air tour component must include the full price to be paid by the consumer, including all government-imposed taxes and fees that were previously allowed to be listed separately according to the Departmental enforcement policy. This requirement will become effective on January 24, 2012.
Code share: In August 2010, Congress amended 49 U.S.C. § 41712 to add a subsection (c) that requires U.S. and foreign air carriers and ticket agents to disclose in any oral, written or electronic communications with the public, prior to the ticket purchase, the name of the air carrier providing the air transportation for each flight segment. It also provides that if the ticket offer was provided on a Web site, such information must be disclosed “on the first display of the Web site following a search of a requested itinerary in a format that is easily visible to a viewer.”
In January 2011, the Department’s Aviation Enforcement Office issued a guidance notice advising carriers and tickets agents of the amendment to 41712 and providing a 60-day window for carriers and ticket agents to revise their website advertisement to conform to the new requirement of 41712(c).
Contracts of carriage: The Department issued a final rule on April 25, 2011 (RIN 2105-AD72, 76 FR 23110) requiring that foreign air carriers must publish their contracts of carriage on their websites as is already required of U.S. air carriers. This requirement became effective for foreign air carriers on August 23, 2011.
Travel statistics: The Department has initiated a rulemaking (RIN 2105-AE11) that will propose, among other things, to require that reporting carriers to report their code-share partners’ operating statistics, including on-time performance, mishandled baggage, and oversales.
Ancillary fees: The Department has initiated a new rulemaking (RIN 2105-AE11) that would propose to require, among other things, that ancillary fees be displayed at all points of sale of air transportation. The Department plans to issue this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in 2012.
Code share: The Department has initiated a new rulemaking (RIN 2105-AE11) that would propose to codify the new requirement of 49 U.S.C. § 41712(c). The Department plans to issue this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) in 2012.
Contracts of carriage: The implementation of this recommendation is complete.
Travel statistics: The Department plans to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) in 2012.
Date of Update: September 22, 2011
The Advisory Committee recommended that a task force be established to identify and remove barriers to intermodalism, as well as to document the benefits from an intermodal approach. The Advisory Committee also recommended that the Task Force examine the Essential Air Service program and identify rural multimodal service opportunities for EAS-eligible communities.
Deputy Secretary John Porcari is chairing the intermodal task force, which consists of senior DOT leadership. In addition, DOT has convened a working group from across the modal administrations to identify opportunities for intermodalism and eliminate barriers to it.
The Task Force has worked to identify and coordinate highway, transit, and rail projects near airports. Some members of the task force evaluated the pool of highly rated projects submitted for consideration under the Department’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program and brought the very best airport-related projects to the Secretary’s attention. As a result, the TIGER program is funding important efforts to improve transit connections to the major airports in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Chicago, and Seattle, as well as to airports in Montana and Ohio.
DOT is working with the airports community to identify tangible goals to encourage and increase intermodal options for airports.
The FAAC also triggered a reexamination of EAS for intermodal opportunities. In reviewing examples of existing intermodal services that incorporate air service, the FAAC concluded that the changing competitive structure of the U.S. air carrier industry is likely to transform travel habits of small and rural communities.
During 2011 and 2012, Congress did not enact any provisions to promote intermodal alternatives to EAS. However, the Department has worked to promote air service alternatives for all small communities, including EAS communities, through the Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP). That program provides competitive grants to small communities for a wide range of air service development initiatives. The Department added new language to SCASDP’s 2012 Request for Proposals to clarify that intermodal or regional solutions to air service issues, including some cost-effective bus service and marketing of intermodal surface transportation, are eligible for grants. The Department has actively encouraged communities to submit new and innovative approaches in this area.
The Committee also recommended that legislation establishing an infrastructure bank, or any appropriate infrastructure legislation, give priority consideration to projects that link airports with other forms of transportation, such as rail and transit. For example, transportation providers, including airports, could compete for funding to build the airport-link system. These projects would create transportation hubs that serve multiple cities and should be done in conjunction with appropriate environmental and cost-benefit analyses. The Department is tracking a number of legislative proposals that have been developed by Members of Congress in this area, including H.R. 402, as introduced in the 112th Congress, which identifies projects that would reduce “surface and air traffic congestion” as specifically eligible for assistance.
Date of Update: August 9, 2012
Essential Air Service Reform
In offering its recommendations, the Committee acknowledged that reform of EAS must come through congressional revision of the eligibility criteria.
The FAAC recommended that the Secretary limit communities within the contiguous 48 states that are eligible for air service subsidies to those communities receiving subsidies as of a date specific in 2010. In addition, the FAAC recommended updating EAS eligibility to recognize that some communities may be more effectively serviced by other modes of transportation.
The Administration’s 2012 budget proposed to limit eligibility for subsidy to those communities within the contiguous 48 states that were receiving subsidized EAS service on October 1, 2011. To generate additional program savings, the budget also proposed to waive the requirement that basic EAS include service with at least 15-seat or larger aircraft.
During 2011 and 2012, several changes to the EAS eligibility requirements were enacted. In August 2011, Congress passed the Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2011, Public Law 112-27. Included within the Act was a provision limiting EAS eligibility to communities that had an average subsidy per passenger of less than $1,000.
Thereafter, in February 2012, Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Public Law 112-95. Following on the FAAC recommendation and the budget proposal, that statute limits EAS eligibility to communities that received subsidized service between September 30, 2010 and September 30, 2011, or during that period received a 90-day notice of intent to terminate EAS and the Secretary held in the carrier to continue providing the service. It also limits EAS subsidy to communities that generate more than 10 enplanements per day during the most recent fiscal year beginning after September 30, 2012. The 10-enplanement provision does not apply to communities that are more than 175 driving miles from the nearest large or medium hub airport, and neither that nor the $1,000 maximum subsidy provision apply to communities in Alaska or Hawaii. The Secretary may waive this 10 enplanement criterion if the reason the community averages fewer than 10 enplanements is due to “a temporary decline in enplanements.”
In addition, for FY 2012, Congress removed the 15-seat requirement. See Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, P.L. 112-55, November 18, 2011.
Date of Update: August 9, 2012
Jet Fuel Price Volatility
The FAAC noted that jet fuel price and supply volatility can result not only from oil price fluctuations, but also from disruptions in the downstream production and distribution of aviation fuels. A number of major metropolitan areas and major airports have limited and aging infrastructures for the distribution of jet fuel. In addition to oil price volatility, these weak links in the distribution network create additional threats to the economic health of the commercial air carrier and general aviation (GA) industries. These concerns led to its further recommendation calling for a study of the downstream infrastructure for storage of such fuels.
Following up on the first recommendation, the Department forwarded formal comments to the CFTC’s rulemaking docket on March 28, 2011, concerning proposed position limits on derivative investments. Along the lines recommended by the Advisory Committee, DOT emphasized its concerns over the disproportionate impacts that volatile prices and inordinate price increases for petroleum-based fuels had on the transportation industry. DOT provided data showing that from 2003 a pattern of atypical price volatility and increases emerged, with volatility levels nearly doubling. Accordingly, DOT urged the CFTC to take appropriate remedial action against excessive movements in the price of petroleum-based fuels.
On November 18, 2011, the CFTC published a final rule in the Federal Register. The rule established speculative position limits for 28 physical contracts and commodity swaps, including oil futures. Position limit formulas were established on an interim basis and are subject to adjustment. Also, bona fide hedging is included among the exemptions from position limits.
The Department will continue to monitor developments on the matter and will take additional steps as necessary.
Aviation Fuel Pipeline Safety
DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration prepared a report on the safety and operational reliability of aviation fuel pipelines serving airports. The report was requested by the Future of Aviation Advisory Committee, specifically recommendation 14.
According to the report, PHMSA has a high degree of confidence in the safety and integrity of the nation’s hazardous material liquid pipeline infrastructure, including airport jet fuel supply lines. Pipelines remain the safest way to move energy supplies to market. The regulatory programs on which PHMSA based its findings include: comprehensive safety standards and regulations, aggressive inspection and enforcement, cooperation with Industry, and Emergency Preparedness and Response to pipeline disruptions. The report documents PHMSA’s on-going efforts to develop regulatory and other initiatives that directly address pipeline safety and reliability and help to prevent or correct any disruptions from the distribution of aviation fuels to U.S. airports.
As a matter of course, anomalies and leaks on jet fuel supply pipelines are repaired promptly to avoid depletion of on-airport supplies. In fact, major disruptions of airport operations occur rarely if ever. In addition, PHMSA’s ongoing proactive initiatives, research and mature safety oversight program, provide confidence that long term safety and reliability of jet fuel pipelines serving airports will be further assured. Moreover, DOT’s engagement with the pipeline industry provides added emphasis and momentum to improving the long term performance and safety of hazard material liquid pipelines in the United States. The overall experience of PHMSA oversight of the pipeline industry provides a high degree of confidence in the safety and integrity of the nations’ hazardous material liquid pipeline infrastructure, including jet fuel supply lines. The report also provides, in Appendix A, representative examples of emergencies that might have affected jet fuel supplies, and the specific measures that were successfully undertaken in response.
Date of Update: June 19, 2012
Science, Technology, Engineering & Math Education
The Department of Transportation has made considerable progress in increasing cooperation and collaboration across the federal government through regularly scheduled meetings to discuss workforce development issues in aviation, highways, rail, transit, and motor carrier safety.
The DOT collaborated with the Departments of Labor and Education to stage the first semi-annual Aviation Workforce-Management Conference. At the conference, Secretaries LaHood, Solis and Duncan signed an MOU to work together on STEM-related projects.
The DOT also has developed a National Transportation Workforce Development Strategic Framework based on an Analytical Foundation and draft workforce profiles of aviation, highway, rail, transit and motor carrier industries. The FAA has been an active participant in this effort.
Through the White House-led Federal Inventory of STEM Education programs, we identified eight programs at DOT that meet the criteria established by the committee.
In addition, the FAA is revamping the current Aviation and Space Education web page (www.faa.gov/education). The changes will better serve teachers, students, and educational decision makers (superintendents, school boards, etc.). To date, we have created a new look and feel as well as a news box to share what is happening around the country with STEM aviation programs.
The FAA also is increasing use of social media, such as Facebook to reach our intended audience. Finally, we are piloting a new technology. We are currently part of a test program for the Apple iPad. We will look at the iPad’s capabilities for aerospace education. As part of the pilot, we are developing an app for the aviation education that will include media clips, podcasts, and numerous interactive experiences.
- National Transportation Workforce Development Strategic Framework
- Federal Inventory of STEM Education programs
Using the data gathered in the Federal Inventory of STEM Education programs, we will create a comprehensive DOT-wide STEM education directory by November 2011. The FAA is developing of an award to recognize innovation in aviation education.
Date of Update: January 26, 2012
State of labor/management relations
The Advisory Committee concluded that a new approach to solving traditional labor-management differences is required to provide a stable and efficient air transportation system that serves the best interests of the U.S. public.
The Dunlop Commission Reports Review Committee (Dunlop II), an independent joint labor-management committee, was established in September 2009.36 Part of its goal was to find ways to improve the mediation process and delivery of mediation services. Dunlop II issued its final report in April 2010. The Dunlop II recommendations addressed the various challenges faced in collective bargaining today—not only through improvements in the mediation process, but also through providing suggestions on how labor and management could work together more closely.
The FAAC recommended that the DOT urge the National Mediation Board (NMB) to implement the Dunlop II recommendations. The Secretary of Transportation should also advocate for adequate funding and resources to implement these recommendations.
On May 16, 2011, Secretary LaHood sent a letter to the National Mediation Board encouraging it to implement the Dunlop II recommendations and provide adequate funding to implement those recommendations. The move toward maintaining a vibrant, productive relationship with labor remains a focus area for the Department.
The NMB is implementing Dunlop II recommendations. To date, the NMB has improved its case management system and is in the process of rolling out a web-based system for all filings and requests for services. A new mediator orientation process is in place. Training for Mediators was conducted in 2010 and will be repeated in calendar 2011. This is planned as an annual event, above and in addition to the routine training that is part of every Mediator’s Individual Development Plan. The NMB has created the Arbitrator Forum, a working group consisting of rail carrier and labor representatives, to guide improvements and developments in the Section 3 area. The NMB has also become more active in addressing industry conferences and conventions regarding its range of mediation and facilitation services.
- The mediation process
- The Dunlop Commission Reports Review Committee (Dunlop II)
- The National Mediation Board
Date of Update: January 26, 2012
The FAAC recommended a semi-annual Aviation Industry Workforce-Management Conference to “keep the conversation going.” The point of the recommendation is to bridge the gap of information and understanding that generally exists today between the aviation workforce and its management, with the ultimate goal of a healthier industry for all.
The first Semi-Annual Aviation Workforce Management Conference was held September 21, 2011, in the West Atrium of the Department of Transportation headquarters in Washington, D.C., from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Secretary LaHood, co-hosted the conference with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
The conference focused on the need for a future workforce with solid foundations in science, technology, engineering and math and best practices for addressing labor/management issues.
A transcribed record of the September 21, 2011 meeting can be found here Report on the September 21, 2011 Aviation Workforce-Management Conference
A second semi-annual workforce management conference was held June 21, 2012, also at DOT headquarters. Secretary LaHood again hosted the event. He conducted a fireside chat with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. Approximately 170 people attended.
The conference highlighted the need to help veterans transition to the civilian sector. Secretary LaHood and Secretary Shinseki jointly announced a web portal www.dot.gov to aid veterans in their job searches.
The conference also featured an update of the MOU signed at last September. The update was given by FAA Assistant Administrator for Finance and Management Victoria Wassmer.
Three panels were held:
Anatomy of Successful Workforce Management; Spurring Workforce Development; and Improving a Safety Record that is Second to None.
A transcribed record of the June 21, 2012 meeting can be found here Report on the June 21, 2012 Aviation Workforce-Management Conference
Date of Update: August 6, 2012
Seek comprehensive legal protection for voluntary and mandated safety data programs and information.
The Advisory Committee recognized the need to acquire data beyond what is collected from an accident investigation. The sheer volume of flights expected in the near future requires greater emphasis on acquiring, sharing and analyzing aviation safety data in a collaborative environment. This becomes especially important as historical accident causes are effectively eliminated. The evolving aviation environment will likely introduce new threats that must be identified and addressed before they lead to accidents.
Voluntary reporting efforts such as ASAP (Aviation Safety Action Program) and FOQA (Flight Quality Assurance) give airlines and government insight into millions of operations so that potential safety issues and trends can be identified. The Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) program ties together the safety databases across the industry and is integrated into the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) process. CAST is a joint government/industry initiative using an integrated, data-driven strategy to reduce the commercial aviation fatality risk in the United States. The ASIAS program is evolving but has matured to the point that the FAA can now look at data from air carriers representing 80 percent of U.S. commercial operations and identify emerging vulnerabilities and trends.
This recommendation specifically requests that the Secretary of Transportation seek comprehensive legal protections for voluntary and mandated safety data programs and information to ensure their continued benefits to safety. The Secretary should pursue essential legislative action that is vital to provide ongoing protection of safety information sharing systems in the United States, and work with the Congress to introduce such legislation at the soonest possible opportunity.
Aimed specifically at addressing this recommendation, the FAA on January 7, 2011, drafted and submitted proposed legislative language for inclusion in the FAA Reauthorization Bill. The proposed language would provide protection from public disclosure for hazard identification, risk control and safety assurance data produced under an accepted SMS program.
Statutory language addressing this recommendation was passed in the FAA Reauthorization bill on February 14, 2012.
Now that it’s been passed, industry and government can continue the promotion of a Safety Management Systems culture in which everyone is seen as having safety responsibilities and an ability to share data about safety matters without the fear of government disclosure.
Date of this update: May 17, 2012
Aviation system predictive safety risk discovery capability.
The Advisory Committee recognized the need to maintain and protect voluntary safety programs that provide data that can be used to predict accident causes. The Committee recommended that starting in 2012, the FAA and the DOT improve funding for ASIAS, the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing program.
A detailed, multi-year program plan for ASIAS has been developed that includes funding and personnel requirements that would increase the number of commercial airline operators participating in ASIAS, expand it to include other segments of the aviation community (including helicopters and general aviation), develop industry-wide data quality standards for data used in ASIAS and to develop advanced analysis tools and methods to support automated identification of previously unknown issues or accident precursors. Based upon the funding requirements determined within this plan, a request for additional 2012 funding was submitted to DOT. The FY'12 budget for the ASIAS initiative has now been approved in an amount equal to the FY'11 budget.
ASIAS technical and programmatic plans as well as funding requirements for the period 2013 through 2017 were presented to the FAA Joint Resource Council in March 2011. The Council affirmed ASIAS as a high priority program that should be funded. The Council members voiced support for the level of funding presented, which would be a 45% increase over the 2012 level for each of the out years. The Council will review the ASIAS program yearly or prior to any suggested adjustments.
The required funding for ASIAS in 2012 is in place. The funding levels supported by the FAA Joint Resource Council are adequate to support the execution of the proposed ASIAS multi-year program plan. The Senate Appropriations Bill for 2013 contains the amount of funding that is recommended by the FAA’s Joint Resource Council.
Date of this update: May 15, 2012
New sources of safety data
The FAAC recognized the need to bring Flight Operations and Quality Assurance (FOQA) data into ASIAS, beyond what is currently captured under Part 121 operations. This activity will move ASIAS closer to acquiring general aviation, corporate and helicopter FOQA data for use in proactive safety programs. This becomes especially important as historical accident causes are effectively eliminated.
The evolving aviation environment will likely introduce new threats that must be identified and addressed before they lead to accidents. By including Part 121, general aviation, corporate and helicopter operations in ASIAS, we will better able to identify systemic problems before they lead to an accident or serious incident.
Aimed specifically at addressing this recommendation, the FAA has been working with the general aviation, corporate and helicopter communities to bring FOQA data from these operations into ASIAS. As part of this work, ASIAS has begun receiving data from a major helicopter manufacturer. This work has also included sponsoring research and tool development through the Center of Excellence for General Aviation Research (CGAR) and meeting with stakeholders to identify possible participants for a test group. We have also been working with the aviation insurance industry, who has also expressed interest in participating. To aid the inclusion of these data sources, the FAA has started designing the infrastructure to begin collecting these data and bringing them into ASIAS.
FAA will review status reports with CGAR. FAA will preview the tools and data importation process developed by the CGAR researchers and give guidance on any further requirements. Testing of these tools and processes should begin later this year.
FAA also has met several corporate operators who have existing FOQA programs. FAA will be working with them and their FOQA vendors (much of the work is done under contract) to identify three or four operators to begin testing the data importation process.
Date of Update: January 26, 2012
SThe Secretary should ensure that safety performance standards and training are embedded into NextGen planning, implementation, and monitoring.
The FAA recognizes the need to revolutionize the way it identifies, evaluates, and manages safety concerns in the National Airspace System (NAS). One fundamental requirement is the integration of safety assessment and hazard mitigation methodologies into the design, development, and acquisition process for NextGen programs, equipment, and procedures.
In order to meet this challenge, the FAA established a Safety Management System (SMS) that integrates the flow of information and resources across multiple elements of the agency. A committee was created to provide guidance and support concerning SMS implementation within the FAA. The committee determined that Safety Risk Management (SRM) – the cornerstone of the FAA SMS – requires extensive development and review to ensure the program’s success.
At the direction of the SMS Committee, an integrated safety assessment policy team was chartered to:
- Define joint agency goals for an integrated safety analysis approach
- Identify gaps or shortfalls in current integrated practice
- Provide guidance regarding safety policy
- Gather information on safety analysis approaches
- Provide a report of its findings and policy recommendations to the FAA SMS Committee.
The integrated safety assessment policy team delivered its findings and recommendations to the FAA SMS Committee July 2011.
As we transition to NextGen, the planning, implementation and monitoring functions must have a standard, integrated approach to safety risk management. A policy (Safety Risk Management Policy, Order 8040.4) was published on April 30, 2012, which includes requirements to perform integrated safety assessments. With these integrate safety assessments, hazards and risk information will be more efficiently shared among all stakeholders, including those that make decisions on NextGen planning and implementation. It will also assist in aligning and communicating our mitigation strategies to ensure proper solutions are implemented across the agency (stakeholders). It stresses the need for front-end assessment and planning.
Date of this update: May 15, 2012
In direct response to this recommendation by the FAAC, the FAA has asked the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) to provide advice and recommendations on how to prioritize rulemaking projects. The notice of the new task and request for industry participation was published in the Federal Register on April 19, 2011. Industry responded positively to the request, enabling the Committee to create the Rulemaking Prioritization Working Group, which consists of members representing all facets of the aviation industry.
The working group’s first meeting was held on June 29-30, 2011, to develop a work plan and ground rules. The work plan includes measurable actions, a schedule and format for the final recommendation report. The report will contain information and results of the working group, and will document majority and minority opinions about the results. The working group expects to submit a final report to ARAC in December 2011.
In addition to the work plan, the working group benchmarked and researched existing prioritization process assessment methodologies, e.g. the Commercial Aviation Safety Team, in order to develop a model for the FAA.
The working group will develop a preliminary set of assessment criteria needed to prioritize rulemaking initiatives. The criteria will be based on a set of drivers that influence the need to consider rulemaking, e.g., safety, capacity, cost, environmental impacts, harmonization, operations and other needs. The working group will use the assessment criteria to conduct a preliminary evaluation of 10 potential rulemaking issues that have been provided by the FAA.
Date of Update: January 26, 2012
Child safety for air travel
The FAAC recommendation bolstered FAA efforts to use partnerships, FAA.gov, social media, and traditional methods to continuously reach parents. It also prompted the FAA to update the economic and safety data on families flying with small children.
For the past 17 years, the FAA has told the public that the safest place for a small child on an airplane is in an approved child safety seat, not on a parent’s lap. In 2011, the agency teamed with the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) and held a media briefing to educate passengers about the top five actions they can take to fly safe during the summer travel season. The FAA also partnered with Toys ’R Us, which disseminated the FAA’s child safety recommendations on online and at some stores. The FAA’s website FAA.gov featured child safety tips, links to child restraint and CARES device installations demos, an advertisement, a passenger safety tips page, a news releases, a joint FAA/AFA summer travel announcement under News & Updates, and broadcast quality video and audio from the FAA Administrator and AFA International President Veda Shook. The FAA used social media, including Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s Fast Lane blog at DOT.gov, as well as Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis to encourage organizations to link to FAA.gov.
In May 2012 as part of National Transportation Week, the FAA launched a new effort to educate parents so they can make informed choices about their child’s safety when they fly. Secretary of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta called on organizations, businesses, and media with an interest in child injury prevention to join the outreach efforts to parents. The Association of Flight Attendants, Parent Media Group, and other child safety advocates are helping the FAA reach parents. The FAA is calling on child safety advocates and media to help parents connect with the FAA by linking directly to the FAA’s new child safety web page. The site has travel tips for parents, new FAA child safety icons that can be loaded onto any website, a video demonstration on how to properly install a child safety seat or device on an airplane, and tips for using child safety seats for children and adults with special needs.
The FAA update of the economic and safety data on families flying with small children supports the agency’s long standing position that a government mandate would result in an unintended consequence of a net increase in transportation fatalities. It reiterates that an infant is safest in a safety seat. Children under two fly for free on U.S. airlines. Cost is a factor for parents. An FAA mandate could force some parents to drive, a less safe mode of transportation, instead of fly to their destination. Flying is the safest way for families to travel. In fact, the fatality risk on commercial flights has decreased by 83 percent over the past 10 years. The use of child restraint systems could have prevented three infant deaths in the past 32 years. There have been no preventable infant deaths on airline flights in 17 years. While the updated data does not support a federal mandate, the FAA is renewing its efforts to educate parents so they can make informed decisions about their child’s safety when they fly.
The FAA will continue to push their safety message via child safety advocacy organizations and media. Outreach via social media and traditional pitching will be accomplished monthly.
Date of Update: May 11, 2012