Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall establish a collaborative decisionmaking pilot program in accordance with this section.
Except as provided in subsection (k), the pilot program shall be in effect for a period of 2 years.
(1) Issuance.—The Administrator, with the concurrence of the Attorney General, shall issue guidelines concerning the pilot program. Such guidelines, at a minimum, shall—
establish the criteria and process for determining when a capacity reduction event exists that warrants the use of collaborative decisionmaking among carriers at airports participating in the pilot program; and
(d) Effect of Determination of Existence of Capacity Reduction Event.—
Upon a determination by the Administrator that a capacity reduction event exists, the Administrator may authorize air carriers and foreign air carriers operating at an airport participating in the pilot program to communicate for a period of time not to exceed 24 hours with each other concerning changes in their respective flight schedules in order to use air traffic capacity most effectively. The Administration shall facilitate and monitor such communication. The Attorney General, or the Attorney General’s designee, may monitor such communication.
(e) Selection of Participating Airports.—
Not later than 30 days after the date on which the Administrator establishes the pilot program, the Administrator shall select 2 airports to participate in the pilot program from among the most capacity-constrained airports in the Nation based on the Administration’s Airport Capacity Benchmark Report 2001 or more recent data on airport capacity that is available to the Administrator. The Administrator shall select an airport for participation in the pilot program if the Administrator determines that collaborative decisionmaking among air carriers and foreign air carriers would reduce delays at the airport and have beneficial effects on reducing delays in the national airspace system as a whole.
(f) Eligibility of Air Carriers.—
An air carrier or foreign air carrier operating at an airport selected to participate in the pilot program is eligible to participate in the pilot program if the Administrator determines that the carrier has the operational and communications capability to participate in the pilot program.
(g) Modification or Termination of Pilot Program at an Airport.—
The Administrator, with the concurrence of the Attorney General, may modify or end the pilot program at an airport before the term of the pilot program has expired, or may ban an air carrier or foreign air carrier from participating in the program, if the Administrator determines that the purpose of the pilot program is not being furthered by participation of the airport or air carrier or if the Secretary of Transportation, with the concurrence of the Attorney General, finds that the pilot program or the participation of an air carrier or foreign air carrier in the pilot program has had, or is having, an adverse effect on competition among carriers.
(h) Antitrust Immunity.—
(1) In general.—
Unless, within 5 days after receiving notice from the Secretary of the Secretary’s intention to exercise authority under this subsection, the Attorney General submits to the Secretary a written objection to such action, including reasons for such objection, the Secretary may exempt an air carrier’s or foreign air carrier’s activities that are necessary to participate in the pilot program under this section from the antitrust laws for the sole purpose of participating in the pilot program. Such exemption shall not extend to any discussions, agreements, or activities outside the scope of the pilot program.
(2) Antitrust laws defined.—
In this section, the term “antitrust laws” has the meaning given that term in the first section of the Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. 12).
(i) Consultation With Attorney General.—
The Secretary shall consult with the Attorney General regarding the design and implementation of the pilot program, including determining whether a limit should be set on the number of occasions collaborative decisionmaking could be employed during the initial 2-year period of the pilot program.
(1) In general.—
Before the expiration of the 2-year period for which the pilot program is authorized under subsection (b), the Administrator shall determine whether the pilot program has facilitated more effective use of air traffic capacity and the Secretary, with the concurrence of the Attorney General, shall determine whether the pilot program has had an adverse effect on airline competition or the availability of air services to communities. The Administrator shall also examine whether capacity benefits resulting from the participation in the pilot program of an airport resulted in capacity benefits to other parts of the national airspace system.
(2) Obtaining necessary data.—
The Administrator may require participating air carriers and airports to provide data necessary to evaluate the pilot program’s impact.
(k) Extension of Pilot Program.—
At the end of the 2-year period for which the pilot program is authorized, the Administrator, with the concurrence of the Attorney General, may continue the pilot program for an additional 2 years and expand participation in the program to up to 7 additional airports if the Administrator determines pursuant to subsection (j) that the pilot program has facilitated more effective use of air traffic capacity and if the Secretary, with the concurrence of the Attorney General, determines that the pilot program has had no adverse effect on airline competition or the availability of air services to communities. The Administrator shall select the additional airports to participate in the extended pilot program in the same manner in which airports were initially selected to participate.
(Added Pub. L. 108–176, title IV, § 423(a), Dec. 12, 2003, 117 Stat. 2552.)