(a) General. Upon application for operating authority, the Administrator shall grant interim operating authority under this section to a commercial air tour operator for commercial air tour operations over a national park or tribal land for which the operator is an existing commercial air tour operator.
(b) Requirements and limitations. Interim operating authority granted under this section—
(1) Shall provide annual authorization only for the greater of—
(i) The number of flights used by the operator to provide the commercial air tour operations within the 12-month period prior to April 5, 2000; or
(ii) The average number of flights per 12-month period used by the operator to provide such operations within the 36-month period prior to April 5, 2000, and for seasonal operations, the number of flights so used during the season or seasons covered by that 12-month period;
(2) May not provide for an increase in the number of commercial air tour operations conducted during any time period by the commercial air tour operator above the number the air tour operator was originally granted unless such an increase is agreed to by the Administrator and the Director;
(3) Shall be published in the Federal Register to provide notice and opportunity for comment;
(4) May be revoked by the Administrator for cause;
(5) Shall terminate 180 days after the date on which an air tour management plan is established for the park and tribal lands;
(6) Shall promote protection of national park resources, visitor experiences, and tribal lands;
(7) Shall promote safe commercial air tour operations;
(8) Shall promote the adoption of quiet technology, as appropriate, and
(9) Shall allow for modifications of the interim operating authority based on experience if the modification improves protection of national park resources and values and of tribal lands.
(c) New entrant operators. The Administrator, in cooperation with the Director, may grant interim operating authority under this paragraph (c) to an air tour operator for a national park or tribal lands for which that operator is a new entrant air tour operator if the Administrator determines the authority is necessary to ensure competition in the provision of commercial air tour operations over the park or tribal lands.
(1) Limitation. The Administrator may not grant interim operating authority under this paragraph (c) if the Administrator determines that it would create a safety problem at the park or on the tribal lands, or if the Director determines that it would create a noise problem at the park or on the tribal lands.
(2) ATMP limitation. The Administrator may grant interim operating authority under this paragraph (c) only if the ATMP for the park or tribal lands to which the application relates has not been developed within 24 months after April 5, 2000.