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A site devoted to aviation law, safety and security.

December 31, 2009

2010 Aviation Excise Tax Rates

If you operate a private or commercial business aircraft you pay Federal Excise Taxes (FET) either on fuel or on the transportation of persons or property. Most private aircraft operations under FAR Part 91 are subject to the fuel tax on non-commercial aviation, while commercial aircraft operations under FAR Part 135 are subject to the tax on transportation of persons or property. For calendar year 2010, the commercial operations excise taxes will be as follows: the domestic segment fee will be $3.70; the international arrival/departure tax will remain at $16.10; and the tax for Hawaii and Alaska flights (which applies only to departures) will be $8.10; and the tax for domestic commercial air transportation will remain at 7.5 percent. The 2010 tax rates are applicable until March 31, 2010, when the current FAA reauthorization extension will expire. The rates may change at that time, depending upon what Congress does with the FAA reauthorization.

Posted by Greg

December 29, 2009

Proving Intent In An Intentional Falsification Case

In two recent opinions issued by the District of Columbia Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals the Court addressed the National Transportation Safety Board’s ("NTSB") seemingly biased attempts to approve two FAA revocation orders against airmen facing intentional falsification claims. The decisions address the defense of lack of intent that each airman asserted in opposition to the FAA's claim. For a discussion of the cases and their implications for the "lack of intent" defense, please read my article on the topic here.

Posted by Greg

December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Wishing all of my readers, clients and friends happy holidays. Looking forward to an improving aviation industry/market and a prosperous new year.

Also, as we head into the new year, I would appreciate receiving any feedback you might care to share regarding Aviation Law Discussions: What you like. What you don't like. What you would like to see. Etc. You can send your comments to me directly at greigel@aerolegalservices.com.

Thanks.

Posted by Greg

December 11, 2009

FAA Maintains Percentage Rates For Random Drug And Alcohol Testing Of Safety-Sensitive Employees

In a Notice published today, the FAA stated "that the minimum random drug and alcohol testing percentage rates for the period January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2010, will remain at 25 percent of safety-sensitive employees for random drug testing and 10 percent of safety-sensitive employees for random alcohol testing." Since the reported random drug test positive rate for 2008 was less than 1.00% (it was actually 0.558%) and the minimum random alcohol test rate for 2008 was less than 0.50% (it was actually 0.123%) the FAA may continue the current rates for calendar year 2010.

For further information regarding the annual random testing percentage rates you should review FAR Part 120.109(b) (for drug testing), and FAR Part 120.217(c) (for alcohol testing) or you may contact Mr. Jeffrey Stookey, Office of Aerospace Medicine, Drug Abatement Division, Program Analysis Branch (AAM-810), Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202) 267-8442.

Posted by Greg

December 01, 2009

Equity Will Not Save An Airman From Dismissal Of A Late-Filed Appeal

In a recent case, Administrator v. Gallaway, the FAA issued an emergency order revoking the airman's private pilot certificate. The airman filed an appeal of the FAA's order with the NTSB over a week after it was due. The FAA then moved to dismiss the appeal based upon the untimely filing. The Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") granted the FAA's motion finding that the airman did not have good cause for the untimely filing. The airman then appealed the dismissal to the full Board.

On appeal, the airman argued that his attorney's emergency hospitalization constituted good cause for the untimely filing. He also asked the Board to "consider the principles of equity, rather than [its] case law and Rules of Practice." The Board initially observed that it "strictly adheres to this standard of timeliness, and the requirement for a showing of good cause in cases of untimely appeals." It went on to note that it "considers timeliness in emergency cases to be paramount, given the expedited timeline applicable to emergency orders that Congress has prescribed by statute."

Addressing the airman's arguments, the Board found that the airman had not submitted affidavits or any other records to support his claim that his original attorney had been hospitalized and was unable to represent him. With respect to the airman's argument for the application of equity, the Board stated that it "will not alter our good cause standard in order to suit certain circumstances." As a result, the Board affirmed the ALJ's dismissal of the airman's appeal.

This decision isn't surprising, given the Board's longstanding position on this issue. Although the Board seems to be rejecting the airman's plea for equity/fairness, I don't think that is the case. The Board was still willing to allow an untimely appeal based upon a showing of "good cause." If the airman had presented any evidence to support his claim, he at least would have had a chance, although it may still not have been successful given the Board's exceedingly high standard for what constitutes "good cause." Unfortunately for the airman, the Board was not willing to ignore that standard in considering his untimely appeal.

Posted by Greg

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