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ASC Monthly Update

##Date##                                                                                                Volume 6 Issue 5


NATA Airline Services Council 

NATA formed the Airline Services Council (NATA ASC) to further the interests of companies that provide services to scheduled air carriers as their primary business. The primary goal of the NATA ASC is to provide a voice within the public policy arena, especially in terms of issues that impact their viability and profitability..


Upcoming Events

2010 Air Charter Summit - Chantilly, VA - 6/7/2010

2010 Commercial Operators Tax Seminar - Indianapolis, IN - 8/17/2010

Summer E-learn Webinar Series





Professional Line Service Training 


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National Mediation Board Changes Voting Rules
On May 11, 2010, the National Mediation Board (NMB) published a final rule changing its 75-year-old election voting procedure to make it easier for airline and railway employees to unionize. This change, which appeared inevitable since the original notice of proposed rulemaking in November 2009, will become effective June 10, 2010. 

Under the new rule, the form of election ballots will change to provide an opportunity to vote for “no union” and elections will be determined based on a majority of ballots cast, thus allowing certification of a union even where less than a majority of the employees vote for representation. This replaces a long-standing procedure by which a union would only be certified if a majority of those eligible to vote voted in favor of representation. When initially proposed, this new rule was universally supported by labor organizations in the airline and rail industries, and it was universally opposed by carriers. Although not specifically addressed in the proposed rule, the board also indicated that where two or more unions gather more votes collectively than votes for “no union,” it will be adopting election run-off rules under which votes for “no union” will not even be an option (even where the largest number of voters chose “no union”). This, too, further reflects the pro-union positioning of the current board.   

The new rule was adopted by a two-one vote within the NMB, with Chairwoman Elizabeth Dougherty dissenting (as she dissented to the proposed rule last November). In adopting the new rule, the board rejected all industry arguments and comments, including arguments that the two board members who voted in support of the change were biased and should have recused themselves, that it lacked statutory authority to make the change, that the change was being made in violation of administrative rulemaking procedures, and that there was inadequate justification for the proposed change. As expected, the board also rejected the request of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to adopt a clear decertification procedure.

The NATA Airline Services Counsel (ASC) submitted comments in opposition to the proposed rule. While the board generally was dismissive of most of the association’s comments (consistent with the way it dismissed the views of other industry representatives), it did offer some hopefully positive remarks on issues of interest to NATA members. In response to the ASC’s concern that the board was creating uncertainty for all constituents by failing to undertake a global review of its election procedures, the board at least suggested that further rule changes were not in the works. Perhaps the greatest potential concern for ASC members was the possibility that the board was contemplating changes to its system-wide craft or class standards by allowing elections at single locations. On that subject, the board commented “while the board appreciates ASC’s concerns . . . the NPRM has no impact on the board’s policies and case law with respect to craft or class or system determinations.” (Emphasis added). Notably, as well, dissenting Chairwoman Dougherty also reiterated the propriety of the system-wide rule. While this would not be binding if and when the board should adopt further changes, it is at least a hopeful sign that this balloting change may be the limit of the board’s support of organized labor.

The new rule is certain to spark litigation initiated by various segments of the industries covered by the Railway Labor Act. Whether the rule will withstand judicial scrutiny remains to be seen. It is, however, plainly a shot across the bow. While making union representation easier to accomplish, it continues to make decertification all but impossible. There is no question that the new rule, if it stands, will encourage organizing and improve the likelihood of union success in representation elections.

A copy of the publication from the Federal Register may be viewed by clicking here.

Obama Nominates Deputy FBI Director To Head TSA
On May 17, 2010, President Obama made his third attempt to fill the vacant position atop one of the government's primary security agencies, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The President announced that he will nominate John S. Pistole, the deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to administrator of the TSA.

The appointment comes at a sensitive time for the TSA as procedures come under review following the near escape of the suspected Times Square attempted bomber. The man being hunted by the authorities was able to buy a ticket to Dubai with cash at the last minute and board a plane at John F. Kennedy International Airport even though his name had been flagged by the FBI. Authorities discovered that he was on the plane and removed him from it just minutes before it was supposed to take off.

"Mr. Pistole exemplifies the talent and knowledge acquired from more than two decades of service with the FBI. His background and experience make him an excellent choice to lead the TSA and to continue to enhance our nation's aviation security," NATA President James K. Coyne stated.

Pistole's likely support for confirmation from both sides of the aisle was reflected in statements issued by lawmakers on Capitol Hill. U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), the ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, quickly applauded the choice of a career law enforcement official to head the agency saying, "Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, he has been on the forefront of our nation's fight against terrorism. While I will withhold my final judgment on this nomination until the committee's full examination and vetting processes are completed, I am pleased that the president has chosen an individual with such strong law enforcement experience."

A graduate of Anderson University and the Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis, Pistole joined the FBI in 1983 and served in the Minneapolis and New York divisions before joining the organized crime section in Washington. He later worked in Indianapolis and Boston, and in 1999 helped lead the investigative effort following the crash of Egypt Air Flight 990 off the coast of Rhode Island. In addition, Pistole helped lead a working group in 2001 to address security issues raised by the arrest of Robert Hanssen, the FBI agent who worked as a spy for Russia. In 2002, he moved to the counterterrorism division where he held a series of jobs before taking on his current assignment in 2004.

The President's first two choices to lead the TSA withdrew after questions about their past came to light. The first, Erroll G. Southers, also a former FBI agent and counterterrorism supervisor for the Los Angeles airport police, dropped his bid for the job in January after giving conflicting answers about conducting police background checks on a man his estranged wife was seeing. The second, Major General Robert A. Harding, a retired Army intelligence officer, withdrew after his nomination when questions were raised by Congress about his work as a defense contractor.

Brittin Selected As New TSA Air Cargo General Manager
Earlier this month, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Assistant Administrator for Transportation Sector Network Management John Sammon announced the selection of Doug Brittin to become general manager of the TSA’s Air Cargo Security Division. The announced by Sammon follows:

I am pleased to announce that Mr. Douglas Brittin has been selected as the General Manager for Air Cargo Security Division and will assume those duties effective immediately. Mr. Brittin joined TSA in July 2007 and has been the Air Cargo Manager since that time.
Prior to joining TSA, Doug has held significant positions of increasing responsibility with several private sector firms in the global logistics and supply chain industry, including serving as the Western Region Manager, National Accounts for CF Airfreight, which through its acquisition of Emery Airfreight became Emery Worldwide; Director, National Account Sales for BAX Global, which has become DB Schenker, a world-wide Air Cargo enterprise; several positions within Menlo Worldwide (Emery) where he was ultimately Vice President Business Development and Marketing; and Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Marketing with Globalware Solutions. He has applied his breadth of experience to helping Ed Kelly successfully reach the 50% Screening Mandate established by the 9/11 Act in February 2009, and developing the Certified Cargo Screening Program. He will now lead the Division to success with the domestic 100% screening mandate for U.S. export and import air cargo.

NATA Publishes Report On Climate And Energy Legislation
On May 12, 2010, U.S. Senators John Kerry (D-MA), chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, introduced the American Power Act. The bill includes a provision addressing international aviation emissions by requiring that the U.S. actively promote, within the International Civil Aviation Organization, the development of a global strategy for the regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from civil aircraft. The bill mandates that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the FAA establish a program to distribute allowances for the GHG emissions of the fuel used for an air carrier or foreign air carrier engaged in foreign air transportation.

The legislation attempts to reform our country's energy economy by reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 17 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. The bill imposes a national set of emission standards that would override two state-run cap-and-trade emissions programs already in existence. According to the bill's sponsors, the targeted reductions and investments in alternative fuels and energy efficiencies could reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil up to 40 percent by 2030. The transportation industry was given different terms for their carbon payment. The terms include purchasing allowances beginning in 2013 on a quarterly basis and at the market price allowing the industries to buy only the amount of permits they need instead of speculating their consumption over the course of a year. Allowances will be assessed each quarter for refined products including aviation fuel. The transportation sector is prohibited from trading carbon allowances.

To view NATA’s legislative report, please click here.

Aviation Industry Urges Congress Not To Modify AARF Standards
NATA joined the aviation industry in a joint letter to U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN) and Ranking Member John Mica (R-FL) as well as U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) and Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) urging their opposition to any language in the final version of legislation to reauthorize the FAA that would make changes to the current aircraft rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) standards. R. 1586, the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act, which passed the House on March 19, 2009, contained a provision that would force airports of all sizes to comply with controversial National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requirements that would inevitably increase the cost for airports and airlines and jeopardize commercial air service to small communities.

To comply with NFPA standards, airports of all sizes would be required to increase the number of fire fighters and add additional facilities without any evidence that these changes would improve the safety of those airports. The cost requirement for meeting NFPA standards would force airports to divert their limited funding resources from safety and airport improvement projects.

Aviation industry stakeholders, including airlines, pilot organizations, airports, the FAA and fire fighters, participated in an aviation rulemaking advisory committee (ARAC) on the FAA ARFF standards and have requested that Congress allow the FAA to work with aviation stakeholders through the ARAC process to ensure that proper standards are reached.

To view a copy of the industry letter, please click here.

Does The Icelandic Ash Cloud Amount To Force Majeure?
At the recent International Air Transport Association (IATA) Ground Handling Council meeting, an issue arose regarding whether the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud represents a force majeure event and whether an airline services provider could charge airlines for the losses incurred due to cancellations.

Force majeure is a French term which means "a superior force." It is defined as “An event or effect that can be neither anticipated nor controlled. The term includes both acts of nature (e.g., floods and hurricanes) and acts of people (e.g., riots, strikes, and wars.)" It has also been referred to as an "act of God". The definition has been statutorily broadened to include all natural phenomena that are exceptional, inevitable, and irresistible, the effects of which could not be prevented or avoided by the exercise of due care or foresight.

Generally a force majeure event is something that is short lived. Even if an outbreak of war is a force majeure, the parties will be obligated to reform (change) a contract to deal with issues of a prolonged problem interfering with the performance of the contract. This ash cloud is not a short-lived event and, thus, may not be strictly a force majeure event.

Whether the ash cloud is a force majeure event is still an open question, and if litigated different jurisdictions may reach different conclusions. 

Since most IATA Standard Ground Handling Agreements provide that if an airline provides sufficient notice it will not be charged for a flight (or receive a partial credit). It is our opinion that, as long as an airline gives the required notice, an airline services provider will find it difficult to require an airline to pay for cancellations where notice was provided.

However, we do believe that the ash cloud may require parties to negotiate in good faith to find a resolution of the many issues that have arisen due to the ash cloud. If an airline does not negotiate in good faith, an airline services provider may have grounds to terminate a contract.  

Congressional Recess Is Approaching - Host A Congressional Tour Of Your Facility
The U.S. Congress is gearing up for their week-long Memorial Day recess, a time during which they spend an entire week in their congressional district. With advance notice, Members of Congress welcome the opportunity to visit constituents and local businesses in their community. NATA encourages its members to host a congressional tour to showcase your business, airport or facility to educate your Members of Congress and their staff about the importance of your aviation business to the community and to our nation’s economy.

For more information on hosting a congressional tour, please click here to view NATA’s Congressional Tour Webpage

NATA Launches E-learn Webinars This Summer
Delivering Thought Leaders To Your Location
NATA’s new E-learn webinars are designed to enhance your education from the convenience of your site. E-learn webinars launch in June and include several sessions specially priced at $49.95 as well as free policy and event preview webinars – a continuation of the member benefit webinars that NATA has offered since fall 2009. The registration rate for the five scheduled webinars includes participation for one site (one computer/connection) in the live webinar, a pdf copy of the PowerPoint presentations and pdf files of any additional materials. These 60-minute webinars complement NATA’s networking summit, conference and seminars by bringing experts on the hottest topics to you throughout the year.

Upcoming Webinars:

  • “Strategies for Negotiating with Airport Authorities: Utilizing the Sponsor Assurance to Ensure Fair Treatment Among FBOs” – June 17, $49.95
  • “Success with Social Media” – July 13, $49.95
  • “New or Amended Minimum Standards: How to Ensure that Minimum Standards Help Not Hinder Your Business” – July 21, $49.95
  • “Hiring & Screening In Today’s Market” – August 10, $49.95
  • Social Media Strategies: Tools & Tactics for Success” – August 17, $49.95

Plus, Free June Webinar:
“Health Care Reform Compliance” – June 23, FREE

Click here to see the webinar details and to register. Please send suggestions for future webinar topics to and forward this article to anyone in your office who will benefit from any of these educational opportunities. NATA also offers Professional Line Service Training Online, Flight Crew Briefings and SMS webcasts as a part of E-learn – NATA’s online learning programs.

2010 Compensation Survey Now Available
NATA has released its 2010 annual survey report of general aviation service employee compensation. The report includes salaries and benefits for pilots, line-service personnel and maintenance technicians.

Employees’ compensation is broken down by geographic region of the country, by the company’s gross sales, by size of the town or city in which the company is located and by the number of employees in the company. In addition to pilots and maintenance technicians, the report includes compensation for inspectors, line service, and customer service representatives, among others.

Association Research Inc., a leading economic research firm based in Rockville, Maryland, conducted the salary study. For privacy reasons, none of the individual responses are provided to NATA.

The report is provided at no cost to NATA members who participated in the survey. The downloadable pdf version is available at a cost of $125 for non-participating NATA members and $299 for non-NATA members. There is an additional $25 charge to receive a hardcopy of the report.

A copy of the report may be purchased from the NATA store at

New 2010 NATA Airline Services Council Brochure Now Available For Member Use
NATA recently updated and published its 2010 NATA Airline Services Council (NATA ASC) brochure. This brochure provides information on the latest activities that the NATA ASC is undertaking, including issues, meeting schedule and member listing.

The 2010 NATA ASC brochure is now available for download by clicking here.

Those members interested in receiving professionally printed hard copies of this brochure may contact Eric Byer on the NATA staff.

New NATA ASC Logo Available For Member Use
NATA has created a new NATA ASC logo that members can use on company stationery, publications and their Web site. The association recently provided members with two types of logos that members can use as appropriate. Members wishing to secure the new logo may do so by contacting Eric Byer.

Environmental Fact Of The Week

Over the past eight years, the regulations governing Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) plans have changed several times and with each change came a different set of compliance dates. These changes have created a significant amount of confusion as to the status of the rules and their compliance dates. The chart below represents the major changes to the SPCC rules and their compliance dates:

Rulemaking Date

Rule Changes

Compliance Date

August 2002
View 2002 Rule Changes

Major restructuring of SPCC Rule

November 10, 2010
View the extension of compliance

December 2006


View 2006 Rule Changes

Exemption of mobile refuelers from sized secondary containment requirement.
Provides opportunity for certain small operators to self-certify their SPCC plan

November 10, 2010

View the extension of compliance

November 2009



View 2009 Rule Changes

New definitions of “facility” and of “loading/unloading racks.”
Provision of a new streamlined approach for smaller facilities (template).
Amendment of the facility diagram requirement.
Amendment of the integrity testing requirement.

November 10, 2010


Remember, if your facility was in operation prior to August 2002 you are expected to have an SPCC plan that complies with the pre-2002 in effect now.

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