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H.R. 5481 (96th): International Air Transportation Competition Act of 1979

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

11/13/1979--Passed House amended. (Measure passed House, amended) International Air Transportation Competition Act of 1979 - Amends the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 to direct the Civil Aeronautics Board to utilize the same public policy interests which are applicable to interstate and overseas air transportation in carrying out its functions with respect to foreign air transportation including placing maximum reliance on competitive market forces to provide the needed air transportation and strengthening the competitive position of United States air carriers to maintain and increase their market share in foreign air transportation. Removes the requirement that a certificate to engage in foreign air transportation may only be granted if the transportation applied for is required by the public convenience and necessity. Stipulates that an application for such service need only be consistent with the public convenience and necessity. Stipulates that no certificate to engage in foreign air transportation may be altered, amended, modified, suspended, or revoked pursuant to simplified procedures if the certificate holder requests an oral evidentiary hearing, or if the Board finds that such hearing is in the public interest. Authorizes the Board to suspend or revoke authority to serve any point, authorized in a certificate, upon notice and a reasonable opportunity for the affected carrier to present its views, but without a hearing, if the carrier has notified the Board that it proposes to suspend all service to such a point, or, except at a point which is provided seasonal service if the carrier has failed to provide any significant service to the point for a 90 day period. Authorizes the Board to issue a permit to foreign air carriers if either the applicant has been designated by its government to perform such foreign air transportation under the terms of an agreement with the United States or that such transportation will be in the public interest. Removes the requirement that a public hearing be held with respect to the issuance of such permits. Authorizes the Board, without a public hearing but subject to the approval of the President, to suspend or modify the permits of the air carriers of a foreign country if it finds that the country, its aeronautical authorities, or its air carriers, over the objections of the United States, has impaired the operating rights of United States carriers, or has engaged in unfair, discriminatory, or restrictive practices with a substantial adverse competitive impact upon United States carriers. Authorizes the Board to also restrict the operations between such foreign country and the United States by any foreign air carrier of a third country. Authorizes the Board to require foreign air carriers to file such reports as the Board may require. Removes the requirement that foreign air carriers file copies of every agreement or contract between such a carrier and any other carrier which affects foreign air transportation. Makes agreements affecting foreign air transportation subject to the same requirements as agreements affecting interstate transportation. Provides that the Secretary of State will be given notice of any such agreement filed with the Civil Aeronautics Board. Authorizes the Board to temporarily suspend a foreign carrier's new tariff without a hearing pending the determination of the lawfulness of such a tariff. Stipulates that, during such a suspension, or after the rejection of such a tariff, the air carrier shall maintain in effect the rate or practice which was in effect prior to such suspension or rejection or such other rate as may be provided for under an applicable intergovernmental agreement or understanding. Authorizes the Board to suspend without a hearing an air carrier's existing tariff for the provision of foreign air transportation services pending a determination of the lawfulness of such a tariff. Stipulates that if any air carrier or foreign air carrier has its initial tariff suspended or rejected by the Board it may file a tariff which embodies the current rate structure of any other carrier engaged in the same foreign air transportation. States the intent of Congress that, in formulating United States international air transportation policy, the appropriate Federal officials should develop a negotiating policy which emphasizes the greatest degree of competition that is compatible with a well-functioning international air transportation system. Directs the Secretaries of State and Transportation and the Civil Aeronautics Board to consult with the Secretaries of Defense and Commerce as well as with affected travel industry and consumer groups in the development and implementation of such an international aviation negotiating policy. Directs the President to grant to at least one representative of each House of Congress the privilege of attending international aviation negotiations as an observer if such privilege is requested in advance in writing. Allows the Secretary to authorize U.S. air carriers to engage in otherwise authorized common carriage and carriage of mail with foreign registered aircraft under lease or charter to them without crew. Amends the International Air Transportation Fair Competitive Practices Act of 1974 to allow the Board to take such action as it deems necessary to eliminate the practices or restrictions of any foreign government (including its air carriers) which result in discriminatory or anticompetitive practices against a United States carrier or which impose unreasonable restrictions on the access of a United States carrier to foreign markets. Prohibits the Board from finding that any fare for the foreign transportation of persons is unjust or unreasonable on the basis that the fare is too low or too high if: (1) the proposed increase is not more than five percent higher than the standard foreign fare level for the same or similar service; or (2) if the proposed decrease is not more than 50 percent below such level. Defines "Standard foreign fare level" as that fare level in existence on October 1, 1979, as adjusted semiannually by the Board to reflect changes in the operating cost per available seat-mile. Extends the prohibition against the commingling of charter passengers with scheduled passengers to foreign charter air transportation. Terminates the Board's authority to prohibit such commingling in interstate, overseas, or foreign charter air transportation on December 31, 1981. Requires the Board to grant an exemption from antitrust laws for actions necessary to carry out inter-carrier agreements affecting foreign air transportation, if such agreements have been approved by the Board. Subjects orders by the Board relating to inter-carrier agreements which have important foreign policy consequences to review by the President. Amends the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 to permit the Secretary of Transportation or the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to collect a fee for any test, authorization, certificate, permit, or rating administered or issued outside the United States relating to any airman or repair station. Prohibits a common carrier operating in interstate commerce from performing regularly scheduled commercial passenger flights into or from a satellite airport lying within 20 miles of a major regional airport, where the proprietors of the satellite airport and the regional airport board have determined such restriction is in the best interest of the public and aviation safety. Stipulates that such prohibition does not apply to commuter airline operations.