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The DC Circuit denied a petition for review of the FAA's refusal to grant petitioner, a type-one diabetic, a medical certificate required for commercial flight. In this case, petitioner had declined to provide data from a relatively new method of blood-glucose testing known as continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), and this court remanded for the FAA to explain why it needed the data. The court held that the FAA satisfied the remand order where the FAA explained that it needed the data because CGM is able to detect hypoglycemic episodes often missed by more traditional monitoring, and the FAA supported that explanation with medical studies in the administrative record. View "Friedman v. FAA" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit denied a petition for review of the Secretary of Transportation's award of a foreign air carrier permit to Norwegian Air International Limited. Petitioners, four airline-employee unions, argued that the airline's business model and labor practices were not in the public interest. The court held that the unions have Article III standing to challenge the Secretary's decision. The court held, on the merits, that their petition failed because neither federal law nor international agreement required the Secretary to deny a permit on freestanding public-interest grounds where, as here, an applicant satisfied the requirements for obtaining a permit. View "Air Line Pilots Association v. Chao" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs leased part of Love Field airport from the City of Dallas and constructed a six-gate airline terminal. Plaintiffs claim that the Wright Amendment Reform Act of 2006 (WARA), 120 Stat. 2011, effected a regulatory taking of their leases and a physical taking of the terminal because the statute codified a private agreement in which Dallas agreed to bar the use of plaintiffs’ gates for commercial air transit and to acquire and demolish plaintiffs’ terminal. The Claims Court found that WARA's enactment constituted a per se regulatory taking of plaintiffs’ leaseholds under Supreme Court precedent, Lucas, and a regulatory taking of the leaseholds under Penn Central, and a physical taking of the terminal. The Federal Circuit reversed. Noting the history of regulation of Love Field and limitations in place before WARA, the court stated there can be no regulatory taking because plaintiffs cannot demonstrate that their ability to use their property for commercial air passenger service pre-WARA had any value. Plaintiffs’ reasonable, investment-backed expectations are limited by the regulatory regime in place when they acquired the leases. Rejecting a claim of physical taking the court reasoned that a requirement that federal funds not be used for removal of plaintiffs’ gates explicitly distances the federal government from Dallas’ intended action. View "Love Terminal Partners, L.P. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit lacked jurisdiction to consider the merits of petitioners' suit challenging the FAA's interpretation of 49 U.S.C. 47133 as set forth in a 2016 letter because the letter did not constitute final agency action. Section 47133 prohibits local taxes on aviation fuel from being spent on anything but aviation. The court held that petitioners' action came too late to challenge the FAA's policy clarification issued in 2014, and it came too early to challenge an FAA enforcement action that may never happen. View "Clayton County, Georgia v. Federal Aviation Administration" on Justia Law

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Private persons cannot sue in federal district court to enforce the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 (ACAA), 49 U.S.C. 41705. Although the Fifth Circuit determined that private persons could sue in federal district court to enforce the ACAA in Shinault v. American Airlines, Inc., 936 F.2d 796, 800 (5th Cir. 1991), the Supreme Court's intervening decision in Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275, 286–91 (2001), mandated a different result. In light of Sandoval, the court joined the Second, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits and held that the ACAA was enforceable only by the agency charged with administering it because no private right of action exists to enforce the ACAA in district court. View "Stokes v. Southwest Airlines" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for operating an aircraft with an unapproved fuel system in violation of 49 U.S.C. 46306(b)(9). The court rejected defendant's contention that the term "operates an aircraft" covers actions during or imminent to flight. The court held that both the United States Code and the Code of Federal Regulations — and clarified through the decisions of the Civil Aeronautics Board and the National Transportation Safety Board — that the term "operate" encompasses the refueling of an aircraft for the purpose of flight. In this case, defendant started the engine of the aircraft and taxied to a maintenance hangar where he refueled the aircraft to prepare for a flight the next day. Therefore, defendant operated the aircraft within the meaning of section 46306(b)(9) when he started, taxied, and fueled the aircraft in preparation for the first of his flights on the voyage to Paraguay. View "United States v. St. Amour" on Justia Law

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Georgetown University and others petitioned for review of the FAA's approval of new flight paths that would bring planes closer to the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Petitioners alleged that the FAA failed to comply with environmental and historic preservation laws when assessing the noise impacts of the new departure procedures. The DC Circuit dismissed the petition as time-barred, because the FAA's December 2013 approval of the new routes, not its later publication of the route charts, qualified as the agency's final action, and because petitioners failed to challenge it within the sixty-day statutory time limit and had no "reasonable grounds" for the delay. View "Citizens Association of Georgetown v. FAA" on Justia Law

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Airports, including Lake Cumberland Regional Airport, must make “standard grant assurances” (49 U.S.C. 47101) to receive federal funds. Assurance 22 requires an airport to “make the airport available . . . without unjust discrimination to all types ... of aeronautical activities.” Assurance 23 prohibits the airport from granting exclusivity to any aeronautical-services provider. Assurance 24 requires the airport to “maintain a fee and rental structure ... which will make the airport as self-sustaining as possible.” SPA’s director, Iverson, is an aircraft maintenance technician. SPA, at the Airport since 1986, leases hangars to store Iverson’s aircraft. SPA formerly provided maintenance services but now only refurbishes and re-sells aircraft. The Airport Board notified SPA of its intent to let SPA’s lease expire. Finding that there was an unmet need for maintenance services, it solicited bids. SPA did not bid. The Board picked Somerset and agreed to pay up to $8000 toward Somerset’s public liability insurance and forgo rent. The regional FAA office determined that the contract violated Assurance 24. The Board then conditioned the incentives on Somerset’s performing at least 10 aircraft inspections annually, making the contract more economically viable for the Airport, and agreed to terminate Somerset's agreement after one year to solicit new bids. The FAA approved. SPA asked to remain at the Airport “on fair and equal terms.” The Board sent SPA proposed agreements with the same terms, including provision of maintenance services, but refused to allow Iverson to personally lease a hangar. SPA refused to vacate. The Sixth Circuit affirmed in favor of the Board. The FAA standard for unjust discrimination is whether similarly situated parties have been treated differently. SPA is not situated similarly to Somerset. View "SPA Rental, LLC v. Somerset-Pulaski County Airport Board" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit denied a petition for review of the FAA's "airworthiness directive," that mandated removal of some of petitioner's engine cylinder assemblies. The court held that the FAA's conclusion that AEC63 cylinder assemblies presented a "hazardous" risk in the event of failure was supported by substantial evidence in the record. The court explained that the FAA gathered the record evidence, over a period of years, with multiple rounds of public comment, on the safety risks posed by AEC63 cylinder assemblies, and the FAA's "unsafe condition" determination was based on a proper application of the FAA 8040.4A methodology and was supported by substantial evidence in the record on cylinder assembly failures. View "Airmotive Engineering Corp. v. FAA" on Justia Law

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Defendant Joseph Lynch, II was a first-class passenger on a flight from Philadelphia to Denver. Defendant had consumed at least six beers prior to boarding, and began behaving in a loud, unruly manner once the flight was underway. He repeatedly placed his hands on first-class flight attendant’s lower back as she was serving him beverages, which made her feel “very uncomfortable,” and she tried to move out of his reach each time. Flight attendants refused to serve defendant any more alcohol during the flight, at which point defendant became “irate” and started shouting obscenities to the cabin crew. Defendant was arrested upon landing; while in custody, he continued shouting expletives. A jury found Defendant guilty of violating 49 U.S.C. 46504, which prohibits the in-flight assault or intimidation of a flight crew member or flight attendant that interferes with his or her duties. He received a sentence of four months, followed by a three-year term of supervised release. On appeal, Defendant challenged the district court’s interpretation of the statute, the constitutionality of the statute, and the length of his sentence. After reviewing the district court’s sentencing decision, the Tenth Circuit found no evidence of error and affirmed defendant’s conviction and sentence. View "United States v. Lynch" on Justia Law