The U.S. Department of Transportation licenses both U.S. and foreign airlines to perform air transportation. The Federal Aviation Administration, responsible for aviation safety, issues an operating certificate (for U.S. carriers) and operations specifications (for both U.S. and foreign carriers). Limits on international traffic rights often raise complex diplomatic and legal issues.
DOT subjects new U.S. airlines to public scrutiny over their fitness and U.S. citizenship. That scrutiny continues, generally in a non-public setting, for a U.S. airline’s lifetime. The Firm has extensive experience in supporting U.S. airlines through these processes.
For U.S. airlines:
- Obtaining initial DOT certification for new entrants
- Continuing fitness investigations
- Expanding U.S. carrier authority through competitive DOT route proceedings and certificate transfers
- "Provision of aircraft with crew" by foreign airlines (special approval)
- Obtaining DOT permits and exemptions
- Obtaining special authority for limited operations
- Pursuing wet-lease and code-share approvals
- Analyzing international traffic rights and treaty obligations
- Managing route authority and other DOT allocations
- Embargoes affecting air service (esp. Cuba and Venezuela)