Prohibition Against Certain Flights in the Damascus (OSTT) Flight Information Region (FIR), 40944-40949 [2017-18322]

Download as PDF 40944 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 166 / Tuesday, August 29, 2017 / Rules and Regulations ASTM International, SAE International, etc. these special conditions are required and adopted as proposed. Applicability As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to the GB1. Should Game Composites Ltd. apply at a later date for a change to the type certificate to include another model incorporating the same novel or unusual design feature the FAA would apply these special conditions to that model as well. Under standard practice, the effective date of final special conditions would be 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register; however, as the certification date for the Game Composites Ltd. GB1 airplane is imminent, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d) the FAA finds that good cause exists to make these special conditions effective upon issuance. Conclusion This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features on one model of airplane. It is not a rule of general applicability and it affects only the applicant who applied to the FAA for approval of these features on the airplane. List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 23 Aircraft, Aviation safety, Signs and symbols. Citation The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows: Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 40113, 44701–44702, 44704. The Special Conditions Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the following special condition are issued as part of the type certification basis for Game Composites GB1 airplanes. 1. Acrobatic Only Category Static Stability Requirements. a. In place of 14 CFR 23.173, ‘‘Static longitudinal stability,’’ comply with the following: jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with RULES SC23.173 Static Longitudinal Stability Under the conditions in 14 CFR 23.175 and with the airplane trimmed as indicated, the characteristics of the elevator control forces and the friction within the control system must be as follows: (a) A pull must be required to obtain and maintain speeds below the specified trim speed and a push required to obtain and maintain speeds above the specified trim speed. This VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:04 Aug 28, 2017 Jkt 241001 must be shown at any speed that can be obtained, except that speeds requiring a control force in excess of 40 pounds or speeds above the maximum allowable speed or below the minimum speed for steady unstalled flight need not be considered. (b) The stick force or position must vary with speed so any substantial speed change results in a stick force or position clearly perceptible to the pilot. b. In place of 14 CFR 23.177, ‘‘Static directional and lateral stability,’’ comply with the following: SC23.177 Static Directional and Lateral Stability (a) The static directional stability, as shown by the tendency to recover from a wings level sideslip with the rudder free, must be positive for any landing gear and flap position appropriate to the takeoff, climb, cruise, approach, and landing configurations. This must be shown with symmetrical power up to maximum continuous power and at speeds from 1.2 VS1 to VO (maximum operating maneuvering speed); the rudder pedal force must not reverse. (b) In straight, steady slips at 1.2 VS1 for any landing gear and flap positions and for any symmetrical power conditions up to 50 percent of maximum continuous power, the rudder control movements and forces must increase steadily—but not necessarily in constant proportion—as the angle of sideslip is increased up to the maximum appropriate for the type of airplane. The aileron control movements and forces may increase steadily, but not necessarily in constant proportion, as the angle of sideslip is increased up to the maximum appropriate for the type of airplane. At larger slip angles, up to the angle at which full rudder or aileron control is used or a control force limit contained in 14 CFR 23.143 is reached, the aileron and rudder control movements and forces must not reverse as the angle of sideslip is increased. Rapid entry into—and recovery from—a maximum sideslip considered appropriate for the airplane must not result in uncontrollable flight characteristics. Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on August 22, 2017. Pat Mullen, Manager, Small Airplane Standards Branch, Aircraft Certification Service. [FR Doc. 2017–18324 Filed 8–28–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 91 [Docket No. FAA–2017–0768; Amendment No. 91-?] RIN 2120–AL07 Prohibition Against Certain Flights in the Damascus (OSTT) Flight Information Region (FIR) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This action reissues a prohibition of certain flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) Flight Information Region (FIR) by all U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, except such persons operating a U.S.registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except where the operator is a foreign air carrier. The FAA finds that this action is necessary to safeguard against continuing hazards to persons and aircraft engaged in such flight operations. DATES: This final rule is effective on August 28, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Filippell or Will Gonzalez, Air Transportation Division, AFS–220, Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: 202– 267–8166; email: michael.e.filippell@ faa.gov or will.gonzalez@faa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Executive Summary This action prohibits certain flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) Flight Information Region by all U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, except such persons operating a U.S.registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except where the operator is a foreign air carrier. The FAA finds this action necessary to safeguard against continuing hazards to persons and aircraft engaged in such flight operations. Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, (SFAR 114) was first published on December 30, 2014 (79 FR 78299). Although an extension of SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR E:\FR\FM\29AUR1.SGM 29AUR1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 166 / Tuesday, August 29, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 91.1609, was published on December 27, 2016, (81 FR 94958), the prohibition itself was inadvertently removed from the Code of Federal Regulations due to incorrect amendatory instructions regarding dates in the original SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609. On January 4, 2017, the FAA issued Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) KICZ A0001/17 to continue the prohibition of certain flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR due to the continuing hazards to U.S. civil aviation operations therein. The FAA issued this NOTAM pursuant to the Administrator’s authorities under 49 U.S.C. 40113(a) and 46105(c). Section 40113(a) authorizes the Administrator, with respect to aviation safety duties and powers designated to be carried out by the Administrator, to take action the Administrator considers necessary to carry out Part A (Air Commerce and Safety) of Subtitle VII (Aviation Programs) of title 49, U.S. Code, including conducting investigations, prescribing regulations, standards, and procedures, and issuing orders. Section 46105(c) provides that, when the Administrator is of the opinion that an emergency exists related to safety in air commerce and requires immediate action, the Administrator, on the initiative of the Administrator or on complaint, may prescribe regulations and issue orders immediately to meet the emergency, with or without notice and without regard to Part A (Air Commerce and Safety) of Subtitle VII (Aviation Programs) of title 49, U.S. Code, and subchapter II of chapter 5 of title 5. The Administrator must begin a proceeding immediately about an emergency under section 46105(c) and give preference, when practicable, to the proceeding. This rule reissues SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, in its entirety, and extends the rule’s expiration date until December 30, 2018, with an effective date of August 28, 2017. jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with RULES II. Legal Authority and Good Cause A. Authority for This Rulemaking The FAA is responsible for the safety of flight in the United States and for the safety of U.S. civil operators, U.S.registered civil aircraft, and U.S.certificated airmen throughout the world. The FAA’s authority to issue rules on aviation safety is found in title 49 of the U.S. Code. Subtitle I, sections 106(f) and (g), describe the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII of title 49, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency’s authority. Section 40101(d)(1) provides that the Administrator shall consider in VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:04 Aug 28, 2017 Jkt 241001 the public interest, among other matters, assigning, maintaining, and enhancing safety and security as the highest priorities in air commerce. Section 40105(b)(1)(A) requires the Administrator to exercise his authority consistently with the obligations of the U.S. Government under international agreements. This SFAR is promulgated under the authority described in Title 49, Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, section 44701, General requirements. Under that section, the FAA is charged broadly with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing, among other things, regulations and minimum standards for practices, methods, and procedures that the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce and national security. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it prohibits certain flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR due to the hazards to persons and aircraft engaged in such flight operations that are described in the Background section of this final rule. The FAA also finds that this action is fully consistent with the obligations under 49 U.S.C. 40105(b)(1)(A) to ensure that the Administrator exercises his duties consistently with the obligations of the United States under international agreements. B. Good Cause for Immediate Adoption Section 553(b)(3)(B) of title 5, U.S. Code, authorizes agencies to dispense with notice and comment procedures for rules when the agency for ‘‘good cause’’ finds that those procedures are ‘‘impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.’’ Because the continuing hazards to U.S. operators and airmen described in the Background section of this rule warrant an immediate reissuance of the flight restrictions imposed by SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, the FAA finds that notice and public comment under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), as well as any delay in the effective date of this rule, are impracticable and contrary to the public interest. III. Background The significant threat to U.S. civil aviation operating in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR, identified when the FAA first published SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609,1 continues due to the presence of anti-aircraft weapons controlled by non-state actors, threats made by extremist groups, de-confliction concerns, and ongoing military fighting. 1 79 PO 00000 FR 78299, December 30, 2014. Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 40945 Flight safety risks associated with deconfliction between various military forces conducting operations in Syria and civil aviation, which were identified as a concern in the original prohibition, continue. There are multiple extremist groups, known to be equipped with a variety of anti-aircraft weapons, including radarguided surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADs), which have the capability to threaten civil aircraft. Syrian and Russian military aircraft have been shot down during the course of the current conflict, and extremist groups have previously warned civilian air carriers against operating within (or providing service to) Syria. In 2015 and in support of the Assad regime, Russia began conducting military operations using fighter and bomber aircraft and employed advanced cruise missiles against targets in Syria. These operations further increase the risk to civil flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR. Due to the presence of various military forces and non-state actors operating in Syria, the FAA has determined that safety of flight continues to be a serious concern for U.S. civil aviation flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR. The FAA continues to assess the situation in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR and believes there is a significant threat to U.S. civil aviation operating in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR at all altitudes due to the presence of anti-aircraft weapons controlled by non-state actors, threats made by extremist groups, deconfliction concerns, and ongoing military fighting. Although an extension of SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, was published on December 27, 2016, (81 FR 94958), the prohibition itself was inadvertently removed from the Code of Federal Regulations due to incorrect amendatory instructions regarding dates in the original SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609. On January 4, 2017, the FAA issued Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) KICZ A0001/17 to continue the prohibition of certain flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR due to the continuing hazards to U.S. civil aviation operations therein. As previously described, the FAA issued this NOTAM pursuant to the Administrator’s authorities under 49 U.S.C. 40113(a) and 46105(c). Due to the continuation of the previously described hazards to U.S. civil aviation operations, the FAA is reissuing SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, to maintain the prohibition on flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR by all U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons E:\FR\FM\29AUR1.SGM 29AUR1 40946 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 166 / Tuesday, August 29, 2017 / Rules and Regulations jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with RULES exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, except such persons operating a U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except where the operator is a foreign air carrier. The FAA is also extending the expiration date of the SFAR until December 30, 2018. The FAA will continue to actively monitor the situation and, based on evaluations, determine the extent to which U.S. civil operators may be able to safely operate in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR in the future. Amendments to this SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, may be appropriate if the risk to aviation safety and security changes. Thus, the FAA may amend or rescind this SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, as necessary, prior to its expiration date. IV. Approval Process Based on a Request From a Department, Agency, or Instrumentality of the United States Government If a department, agency, or instrumentality of the U.S. Government determines that it has a critical need to engage any person covered under SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, including a U.S. air carrier or a U.S. commercial operator, to conduct a charter to transport civilian or military passengers or cargo or other operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR, that department, agency, or instrumentality may request that the FAA approve persons covered under SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, to conduct such operations. An approval request must be made directly by the requesting department, agency or instrumentality of the U.S. Government to the FAA’s Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety (AVS–1) in a letter signed by an appropriate senior official of the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality. Requests for approval submitted to the FAA by anyone other than the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality will not be accepted and will not be processed. In addition, the senior official signing the letter requesting FAA approval on behalf of the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality must be sufficiently highly placed within his or her organization to demonstrate that the senior leadership of the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality supports the request for approval and is committed to taking all necessary steps to minimize operational risks to the proposed flights. The senior official must also be in a position to: (1) Attest to the accuracy of all representations made to the FAA in the request for approval and (2) ensure that any support from the requesting U.S. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:04 Aug 28, 2017 Jkt 241001 Government department, agency, or instrumentality described in the request for approval is in fact brought to bear and is maintained over time. Unless justified by exigent circumstances, requests for approval must be submitted to the FAA no less than 30 calendar days before the date on which the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality wishes the proposed operations, if approved by the FAA, to commence. The letter must be sent by the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality to the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety (AVS–1), Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591. Electronic submissions are acceptable, and the requesting entity may request that the FAA notify it electronically as to whether the approval request is granted. If a requestor wishes to make an electronic submission to the FAA, the requestor should contact the Air Transportation Division, Flight Standards Service, at (202) 267–8166 to obtain the appropriate email address. A single letter may request approval from the FAA for multiple persons covered under SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, and/or for multiple flight operations. To the extent known, the letter must identify the person(s) covered under the SFAR on whose behalf the U.S. Government department, agency, or instrumentality is seeking FAA approval, and it must describe— • The proposed operation(s), including the nature of the mission being supported; • The service to be provided by the person(s) covered by the SFAR; • To the extent known, the specific locations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR where the proposed operation(s) will be conducted, including, but not limited to, the flight path and altitude of the aircraft while it is operating in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR and the airports, airfields and/or landing zones at which the aircraft will take-off and land; and • The method by which the department, agency, or instrumentality will provide, or how the operator will otherwise obtain, current threat information and an explanation of how the operator will integrate this information into all phases of the proposed operations (e.g., pre-mission planning and briefing, in-flight, and post-flight). The request for approval must also include a list of operators with whom the U.S. Government department, agency, or instrumentality requesting FAA approval has a current contract(s), grant(s), or cooperative agreement(s) (or PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 with whom its prime contractor has a subcontract(s)) for specific flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR. Additional operators may be identified to the FAA at any time after the FAA approval is issued. However, all additional operators must be identified to, and obtain an Operations Specification (OpSpec) or Letter of Authorization (LOA), as appropriate, from the FAA for operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR before such operators commence such operations. The revised approval conditions discussed below will apply to any such additional operators. Updated lists should be sent to the email address to be obtained from the Air Transportation Division by calling (202) 267–8166. If an approval request includes classified information, requestors may contact Aviation Safety Inspectors Michael Filippell or Will Gonzalez for instructions on submitting it to the FAA. Their contact information is listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this final rule. FAA approval of an operation under SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, does not relieve persons subject to this SFAR of their responsibility to comply with all applicable FAA rules and regulations. Operators of civil aircraft must also comply with the conditions of their certificate, OpSpecs, and LOAs, as applicable. Operators must further comply with all rules and regulations of other U.S. Government departments and agencies that may apply to the proposed operation(s), including, but not limited to, the Transportation Security Regulations issued by the Transportation Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security. Approval Conditions If the FAA approves the request, the FAA’s Aviation Safety Organization (AVS) will send an approval letter to the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality informing it that the FAA’s approval is subject to all of the following conditions: (1) The approval will stipulate those procedures and conditions that limit, to the greatest degree possible, the risk to the operator, while still allowing the operator to achieve its operational objectives. (2) Before any approval takes effect, the operator must submit to the FAA: (a) A written release of the U.S. Government from all damages, claims, and liabilities, including without limitation legal fees and expenses; and (b) the operator’s agreement to indemnify the U.S. Government with respect to any and all third-party damages, claims, and liabilities, E:\FR\FM\29AUR1.SGM 29AUR1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 166 / Tuesday, August 29, 2017 / Rules and Regulations jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with RULES including without limitation legal fees and expenses, relating to any event arising from or related to the approved operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR. (3) Other conditions that the FAA may specify, including those that may be imposed in OpSpecs or LOAs, as applicable. The release and agreement to indemnify do not preclude an operator from raising a claim under an applicable non-premium war risk insurance policy issued by the FAA under chapter 443 of title 49, United States Code. If the proposed operations are approved, the FAA will issue an OpSpec or a LOA, as applicable, to the operator(s) identified in the department’s, agency’s or instrumentality’s request authorizing the operator(s) to conduct such operations, and will notify the department, agency, or instrumentality that requested the FAA’s approval of any additional conditions beyond those contained in the approval letter. The requesting department, agency, or instrumentality must have a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement (or its prime contractor must have a subcontract) with the person(s) described in paragraph (a) of this SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, on whose behalf the department, agency, or instrumentality requests FAA approval. V. Petitions for Exemption Any operations not conducted under an approval issued by the FAA in accordance with this SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, must be conducted under an exemption from SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609. A request by any person covered under SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, for an exemption must comply with 14 CFR part 11, and will require exceptional circumstances beyond those contemplated by the approval process. In addition to the information required by 14 CFR 11.81, at a minimum, the requestor must describe in its submission to the FAA— • The proposed operation(s), including the nature of the operation; • The service to be provided by the person(s) covered by the SFAR; • The specific locations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR where the proposed operation(s) will be conducted, including, but not limited to, the flight path and altitude of the aircraft while it is operating in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR and the airports, airfields and/or landing zones at which the aircraft will take-off and land; and • The method by which the operator will obtain current threat information, and an explanation of how the operator will integrate this information into all VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:04 Aug 28, 2017 Jkt 241001 phases of its proposed operations (e.g., the pre-mission planning and briefing, in-flight, and post-flight phases). Additionally, the release and agreement to indemnify, as referred to previously, will be required as a condition of any exemption that may be issued under SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609. The FAA recognizes that operations that may be affected by SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, may be planned for the governments of other countries with the support of the U.S. Government. While these operations will not be permitted through the approval process, the FAA will process exemption requests for such operations on an expedited basis and prior to any private exemption requests. VI. Regulatory Notices and Analyses Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic analyses. First, Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96–354), as codified in 5 U.S.C. 603 et seq., requires agencies to analyze the economic impact of regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act (Pub. L. 96–39), as amended, 19 U.S.C. Chapter 13, prohibits agencies from setting standards that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. In developing U.S. standards, the Trade Agreements Act requires agencies to consider international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis of U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–4), as codified in 2 U.S.C. Chapter 25, requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with base year of 1995). This portion of the preamble summarizes the FAA’s analysis of the economic impacts of this final rule. In conducting these analyses, FAA has determined this final rule has benefits that justify its costs. This rule is a significant regulatory action as defined in section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, as it raises novel policy issues contemplated under that Executive Order; further, this rule is ‘‘significant’’ as defined in DOT’s PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 40947 Regulatory Policies and Procedures. This rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rule will not create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. This rule will not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or tribal governments, or on the private sector by exceeding the threshold identified above. A. Regulatory Evaluation Department of Transportation (DOT) Order 2100.5 prescribes policies and procedures for simplification, analysis, and review of regulations. If the expected cost impact is so minimal that a proposed or final rule does not warrant a full evaluation, this order permits a statement to that effect and the basis for it to be included in the preamble if a full regulatory evaluation of the costs and benefits is not prepared. Such a determination has been made for this final rule. The reasoning for this determination follows. For SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, the FAA determined that incremental costs were minimal for U.S. operators of large transport category airplanes (four part 121 operators and two part 125M operators), because they had voluntarily ended their overflights in March 2011, before the FAA’s August 18, 2014, issuance of FDC NOTAM 4/4936, which prohibited U.S. operators and airmen from flying in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR. The FAA also determined that the incremental costs of SFAR No. 114 were minimal for about 15 ‘‘on-demand’’ large carriers (part 121 and part 121/ 135) and about 75 small ‘‘on-demand’’ operators (parts 135, 125, 125M, and 91K). These operators had previously flown into and out of Syria or conducted overflights in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR. However, because of sanctions imposed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the ongoing conflict, the FAA believed that few, if any, of these ‘‘on-demand’’ operators were still operating in the OSTT FIR immediately before the FAA issued FDC NOTAM 4/4936. Due to significant and increased hostilities, and because the OFAC sanctions remain in place, the reasons for the FAA’s previous finding of minimal cost for SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, remain unchanged. Therefore, the FAA finds that the incremental cost of reissuing SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609 will be minimal. B. Regulatory Flexibility Analysis The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96–354, ‘‘RFA’’), 5 U.S.C. 601 E:\FR\FM\29AUR1.SGM 29AUR1 40948 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 166 / Tuesday, August 29, 2017 / Rules and Regulations jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with RULES et seq., establishes ‘‘as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to regulation. To achieve this principle, agencies are required to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given serious consideration.’’ The RFA covers a wide-range of small entities, including small businesses, not-forprofit organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If the agency determines that it will, the agency must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA. However, if an agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the agency may so certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis will not be required. The certification must include a statement providing the factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning should be clear. Prior to the hostilities leading to the earlier published SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, there were many small entities conducting operations through the Damascus (OSTT) FIR. After the FAA initially published SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, the FAA received no requests for approval or petitions for exemption to allow persons subject to the SFAR to conduct flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR. Given no requests have occurred, the FAA believes the earlier determination of minimal cost is accurate. Thus reissuing the flight prohibition will not impose a significant economic impact. Therefore, as provided in section 605(b), the head of the FAA certifies that this rulemaking will not result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. C. International Trade Impact Assessment The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96–39), as amended, prohibits Federal agencies from establishing standards or engaging in related activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. Pursuant to this Act, the establishment of standards is not considered an unnecessary obstacle to VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:04 Aug 28, 2017 Jkt 241001 the foreign commerce of the United States, so long as the standard has a legitimate domestic objective, such as the protection of safety, and does not operate in a manner that excludes imports that meet this objective. The statute also requires consideration of international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards. The FAA has assessed the effect of this final rule and determined that its purpose is to protect the safety of U.S. civil aviation from hazards outside the U.S. Therefore, the rule is in compliance with the Trade Agreements Act. D. Unfunded Mandates Assessment Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more (in 1995 dollars) in any one year by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a mandate is deemed to be a ‘‘significant regulatory action.’’ The FAA currently uses an inflation-adjusted value of $155.0 million in lieu of $100 million. This final rule does not contain such a mandate. Therefore, the requirements of Title II of the Act do not apply. E. Paperwork Reduction Act The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–13) requires that the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information collection burdens imposed on the public. The FAA has determined that there is no new requirement for information collection associated with this final rule. F. International Compatibility and Cooperation In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to conform to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has determined that there are no ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices that correspond to this regulation. While the FAA’s flight prohibition does not apply to foreign air carriers, DOT codeshare authorizations prohibit foreign air carriers from carrying a U.S. codeshare partner’s code on a flight segment that operates in airspace for which the FAA has issued a flight prohibition. Further, following the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, there is increased attention in the international community and ICAO to PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 conflict-related threats to civil aircraft. Foreign air carriers and other foreign operators may choose to avoid, or be advised/directed by their civil aviation authorities to avoid, airspace for which the FAA has issued a flight prohibition. G. Environmental Analysis The FAA has analyzed this action under Executive Order 12114, Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions (44 FR 1957, January 4, 1979), and DOT Order 5610.1C, Paragraph 16. Executive Order 12114 requires the FAA to be informed of environmental considerations and take those considerations into account when making decisions on major Federal actions that could have environmental impacts anywhere beyond the borders of the United States. The FAA has determined that this action is exempt pursuant to Section 2–5(a)(i) of Executive Order 12114, because it does not have the potential for a significant effect on the environment outside the United States. In accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, ‘‘Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures,’’ paragraph 8– 6(c), FAA has prepared a memorandum for the record stating the reason for this determination, which has been placed in the docket for this rulemaking. VII. Executive Order Determinations A. Executive Order 13132, Federalism The FAA has analyzed this final rule under the principles and criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The agency has determined that this action will not have a substantial direct effect on the States, or the relationship between the Federal Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, and, therefore, does not have Federalism implications. B. Executive Order 13211, Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use The FAA analyzed this immediately adopted final rule under Executive Order 13211, ‘‘Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use’’ (May 18, 2001). The agency has determined that it is not a ‘‘significant energy action’’ under the executive order, and it is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. C. Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation, E:\FR\FM\29AUR1.SGM 29AUR1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 166 / Tuesday, August 29, 2017 / Rules and Regulations (77 FR 26413, May 4, 2012) promotes international regulatory cooperation to meet shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, environmental, and other issues and to reduce, eliminate, or prevent unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements. The FAA has analyzed this action under the policies and agency responsibilities of Executive Order 13609, and has determined that this action would have no effect on international regulatory cooperation. D. Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs This rule is not subject to the requirements of EO 13771 (82 FR 9339, February 3, 2017) because it is issued with respect to a national security function of the United States. VIII. Additional Information A. Availability of Rulemaking Documents An electronic copy of a rulemaking document may be obtained by using the Internet— • Searching the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov); • Visiting the FAA’s Regulations and Policies Web page at http:// www.faa.gov/regulations_policies or • Accessing the Government Publishing Office’s Web page at http:// www.fdsys.gov. Copies may also be obtained by sending a request (identified by docket or amendment number of the rule) to the Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM–1, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267–9677. Except for classified material, all documents the FAA considered in developing this rule, including economic analyses and technical reports, may be accessed from the Internet through the Federal eRulemaking Portal referenced above. jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with RULES B. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA) requires FAA to comply with small entity requests for information or advice about compliance with statutes and regulations within its jurisdiction. A small entity with questions regarding this document may contact its local FAA official, or the person listed under the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section at the beginning of the preamble. You can find out more about SBREFA on the Internet at: http://www.faa.gov/ VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:04 Aug 28, 2017 Jkt 241001 regulations_policies/rulemaking/sbre_ act/. List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 91 Air traffic control, Aircraft, Airmen, Airports, Aviation safety, Freight, Syria. The Amendment In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration amends chapter I of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows: PART 91—GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES 1. The authority citation for part 91 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 1155, 40101, 40103, 40105, 40113, 40120, 44101, 44111, 44701, 44704, 44709, 44711, 44712, 44715, 44716, 44717, 44722, 46306, 46315, 46316, 46504, 46506–46507, 47122, 47508, 47528–47531, 47534, Pub. L. 114–190, 130 Stat. 615 (49 U.S.C. 44703 note); articles 12 and 29 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (61 Stat. 1180), (126 Stat. 11). 2. In part 91, subpart M, add § 91.1609 to read as follows: ■ § 91.1609 Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 114—Prohibition Against Certain Flights in the Damascus (OSTT) Flight Information Region (FIR). (a) Applicability. This section applies to the following persons: (1) All U.S. air carriers and U.S. commercial operators; (2) All persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, except such persons operating U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and (3) All operators of civil aircraft registered in the United States, except where the operator of such aircraft is a foreign air carrier. (b) Flight prohibition. No person may conduct flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) Flight Information Region (FIR), except as provided in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section. (c) Permitted operations. This section does not prohibit persons described in paragraph (a) from conducting flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR, provided that such flight operations are conducted under a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement with a department, agency, or instrumentality of the U.S. government (or under a subcontract between the prime contractor of the department, agency, or instrumentality, and the person described in paragraph (a)), with the approval of the FAA, or under an exemption issued by the FAA. The FAA will process requests for approval or exemption in a timely manner, with the order of preference being: first, for those PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 40949 operations in support of U.S. government-sponsored activities; second, for those operations in support of government-sponsored activities of a foreign country with the support of a U.S. government department, agency, or instrumentality; and third, for all other operations. (d) Emergency situations. In an emergency that requires immediate decision and action for the safety of the flight, the pilot in command of an aircraft may deviate from this section to the extent required by that emergency. Except for U.S. air carriers and commercial operators that are subject to the requirements of part 119, 121, 125, or 135 of this chapter, each person who deviates from this section must, within 10 days of the deviation, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays, submit to the nearest FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) a complete report of the operations of the aircraft involved in the deviation, including a description of the deviation and the reasons for it. (e) Expiration. This SFAR will remain in effect until December 30, 2018. The FAA may amend, rescind, or extend this SFAR No. 114, § 91.1609, as necessary. Issued under authority provided by 49 U.S.C. 106(f) and (g), 40101(d)(1), 40105(b)(1)(A), and 44701(a)(5), in Washington, DC, on August 14, 2017. Michael P. Huerta, Administrator. [FR Doc. 2017–18322 Filed 8–28–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA–R06–OAR–2013–0167; FRL–9965–62– Region 6] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Louisiana; Volatile Organic Compounds Rule Revision and Stage II Vapor Recovery Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: SUMMARY: Pursuant to the Federal Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving revisions submitted by the State of Louisiana controlling emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and changes to the Stage II gasoline vapor recovery rule as part of the Louisiana State Implementation Plan (SIP). E:\FR\FM\29AUR1.SGM 29AUR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 166 (Tuesday, August 29, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 40944-40949]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-18322]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 91

[Docket No. FAA-2017-0768; Amendment No. 91-?]
RIN 2120-AL07


Prohibition Against Certain Flights in the Damascus (OSTT) Flight 
Information Region (FIR)

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Final rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This action reissues a prohibition of certain flight 
operations in the Damascus (OSTT) Flight Information Region (FIR) by 
all U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons exercising 
the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, except such 
persons operating a U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; 
and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except where the 
operator is a foreign air carrier. The FAA finds that this action is 
necessary to safeguard against continuing hazards to persons and 
aircraft engaged in such flight operations.

DATES: This final rule is effective on August 28, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Filippell or Will Gonzalez, 
Air Transportation Division, AFS-220, Flight Standards Service, Federal 
Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 
20591; telephone: 202-267-8166; email: michael.e.filippell@faa.gov or 
will.gonzalez@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Executive Summary

    This action prohibits certain flight operations in the Damascus 
(OSTT) Flight Information Region by all U.S. air carriers; U.S. 
commercial operators; persons exercising the privileges of an airman 
certificate issued by the FAA, except such persons operating a U.S.-
registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-
registered civil aircraft, except where the operator is a foreign air 
carrier. The FAA finds this action necessary to safeguard against 
continuing hazards to persons and aircraft engaged in such flight 
operations.
    Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, (SFAR 
114) was first published on December 30, 2014 (79 FR 78299). Although 
an extension of SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR

[[Page 40945]]

91.1609, was published on December 27, 2016, (81 FR 94958), the 
prohibition itself was inadvertently removed from the Code of Federal 
Regulations due to incorrect amendatory instructions regarding dates in 
the original SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609. On January 4, 2017, the FAA 
issued Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) KICZ A0001/17 to continue the 
prohibition of certain flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR due 
to the continuing hazards to U.S. civil aviation operations therein.
    The FAA issued this NOTAM pursuant to the Administrator's 
authorities under 49 U.S.C. 40113(a) and 46105(c). Section 40113(a) 
authorizes the Administrator, with respect to aviation safety duties 
and powers designated to be carried out by the Administrator, to take 
action the Administrator considers necessary to carry out Part A (Air 
Commerce and Safety) of Subtitle VII (Aviation Programs) of title 49, 
U.S. Code, including conducting investigations, prescribing 
regulations, standards, and procedures, and issuing orders. Section 
46105(c) provides that, when the Administrator is of the opinion that 
an emergency exists related to safety in air commerce and requires 
immediate action, the Administrator, on the initiative of the 
Administrator or on complaint, may prescribe regulations and issue 
orders immediately to meet the emergency, with or without notice and 
without regard to Part A (Air Commerce and Safety) of Subtitle VII 
(Aviation Programs) of title 49, U.S. Code, and subchapter II of 
chapter 5 of title 5. The Administrator must begin a proceeding 
immediately about an emergency under section 46105(c) and give 
preference, when practicable, to the proceeding.
    This rule reissues SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, in its entirety, 
and extends the rule's expiration date until December 30, 2018, with an 
effective date of August 28, 2017.

II. Legal Authority and Good Cause

A. Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA is responsible for the safety of flight in the United 
States and for the safety of U.S. civil operators, U.S.-registered 
civil aircraft, and U.S.-certificated airmen throughout the world. The 
FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety is found in title 49 
of the U.S. Code. Subtitle I, sections 106(f) and (g), describe the 
authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII of title 49, Aviation 
Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. 
Section 40101(d)(1) provides that the Administrator shall consider in 
the public interest, among other matters, assigning, maintaining, and 
enhancing safety and security as the highest priorities in air 
commerce. Section 40105(b)(1)(A) requires the Administrator to exercise 
his authority consistently with the obligations of the U.S. Government 
under international agreements.
    This SFAR is promulgated under the authority described in Title 49, 
Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, section 44701, General requirements. 
Under that section, the FAA is charged broadly with promoting safe 
flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing, among other 
things, regulations and minimum standards for practices, methods, and 
procedures that the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air 
commerce and national security. This regulation is within the scope of 
that authority because it prohibits certain flight operations in the 
Damascus (OSTT) FIR due to the hazards to persons and aircraft engaged 
in such flight operations that are described in the Background section 
of this final rule.
    The FAA also finds that this action is fully consistent with the 
obligations under 49 U.S.C. 40105(b)(1)(A) to ensure that the 
Administrator exercises his duties consistently with the obligations of 
the United States under international agreements.

B. Good Cause for Immediate Adoption

    Section 553(b)(3)(B) of title 5, U.S. Code, authorizes agencies to 
dispense with notice and comment procedures for rules when the agency 
for ``good cause'' finds that those procedures are ``impracticable, 
unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.'' Because the 
continuing hazards to U.S. operators and airmen described in the 
Background section of this rule warrant an immediate reissuance of the 
flight restrictions imposed by SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, the FAA 
finds that notice and public comment under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), as 
well as any delay in the effective date of this rule, are impracticable 
and contrary to the public interest.

III. Background

    The significant threat to U.S. civil aviation operating in the 
Damascus (OSTT) FIR, identified when the FAA first published SFAR No. 
114, 14 CFR 91.1609,\1\ continues due to the presence of anti-aircraft 
weapons controlled by non-state actors, threats made by extremist 
groups, de-confliction concerns, and ongoing military fighting. Flight 
safety risks associated with de-confliction between various military 
forces conducting operations in Syria and civil aviation, which were 
identified as a concern in the original prohibition, continue.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ 79 FR 78299, December 30, 2014.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There are multiple extremist groups, known to be equipped with a 
variety of anti-aircraft weapons, including radar-guided surface-to-air 
missiles (SAMs) and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADs), which 
have the capability to threaten civil aircraft. Syrian and Russian 
military aircraft have been shot down during the course of the current 
conflict, and extremist groups have previously warned civilian air 
carriers against operating within (or providing service to) Syria. In 
2015 and in support of the Assad regime, Russia began conducting 
military operations using fighter and bomber aircraft and employed 
advanced cruise missiles against targets in Syria. These operations 
further increase the risk to civil flight operations in the Damascus 
(OSTT) FIR. Due to the presence of various military forces and non-
state actors operating in Syria, the FAA has determined that safety of 
flight continues to be a serious concern for U.S. civil aviation flight 
operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR.
    The FAA continues to assess the situation in the Damascus (OSTT) 
FIR and believes there is a significant threat to U.S. civil aviation 
operating in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR at all altitudes due to the 
presence of anti-aircraft weapons controlled by non-state actors, 
threats made by extremist groups, de-confliction concerns, and ongoing 
military fighting. Although an extension of SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 
91.1609, was published on December 27, 2016, (81 FR 94958), the 
prohibition itself was inadvertently removed from the Code of Federal 
Regulations due to incorrect amendatory instructions regarding dates in 
the original SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609. On January 4, 2017, the FAA 
issued Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) KICZ A0001/17 to continue the 
prohibition of certain flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR due 
to the continuing hazards to U.S. civil aviation operations therein. As 
previously described, the FAA issued this NOTAM pursuant to the 
Administrator's authorities under 49 U.S.C. 40113(a) and 46105(c).
    Due to the continuation of the previously described hazards to U.S. 
civil aviation operations, the FAA is reissuing SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 
91.1609, to maintain the prohibition on flight operations in the 
Damascus (OSTT) FIR by all U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial 
operators; persons

[[Page 40946]]

exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, 
except such persons operating a U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign 
air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except 
where the operator is a foreign air carrier. The FAA is also extending 
the expiration date of the SFAR until December 30, 2018.
    The FAA will continue to actively monitor the situation and, based 
on evaluations, determine the extent to which U.S. civil operators may 
be able to safely operate in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR in the future. 
Amendments to this SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, may be appropriate if 
the risk to aviation safety and security changes. Thus, the FAA may 
amend or rescind this SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, as necessary, prior 
to its expiration date.

IV. Approval Process Based on a Request From a Department, Agency, or 
Instrumentality of the United States Government

    If a department, agency, or instrumentality of the U.S. Government 
determines that it has a critical need to engage any person covered 
under SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, including a U.S. air carrier or a 
U.S. commercial operator, to conduct a charter to transport civilian or 
military passengers or cargo or other operations in the Damascus (OSTT) 
FIR, that department, agency, or instrumentality may request that the 
FAA approve persons covered under SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, to 
conduct such operations. An approval request must be made directly by 
the requesting department, agency or instrumentality of the U.S. 
Government to the FAA's Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety 
(AVS-1) in a letter signed by an appropriate senior official of the 
requesting department, agency, or instrumentality. Requests for 
approval submitted to the FAA by anyone other than the requesting 
department, agency, or instrumentality will not be accepted and will 
not be processed. In addition, the senior official signing the letter 
requesting FAA approval on behalf of the requesting department, agency, 
or instrumentality must be sufficiently highly placed within his or her 
organization to demonstrate that the senior leadership of the 
requesting department, agency, or instrumentality supports the request 
for approval and is committed to taking all necessary steps to minimize 
operational risks to the proposed flights. The senior official must 
also be in a position to: (1) Attest to the accuracy of all 
representations made to the FAA in the request for approval and (2) 
ensure that any support from the requesting U.S. Government department, 
agency, or instrumentality described in the request for approval is in 
fact brought to bear and is maintained over time. Unless justified by 
exigent circumstances, requests for approval must be submitted to the 
FAA no less than 30 calendar days before the date on which the 
requesting department, agency, or instrumentality wishes the proposed 
operations, if approved by the FAA, to commence.
    The letter must be sent by the requesting department, agency, or 
instrumentality to the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety 
(AVS-1), Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20591. Electronic submissions are acceptable, and the 
requesting entity may request that the FAA notify it electronically as 
to whether the approval request is granted. If a requestor wishes to 
make an electronic submission to the FAA, the requestor should contact 
the Air Transportation Division, Flight Standards Service, at (202) 
267-8166 to obtain the appropriate email address. A single letter may 
request approval from the FAA for multiple persons covered under SFAR 
No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, and/or for multiple flight operations. To the 
extent known, the letter must identify the person(s) covered under the 
SFAR on whose behalf the U.S. Government department, agency, or 
instrumentality is seeking FAA approval, and it must describe--
     The proposed operation(s), including the nature of the 
mission being supported;
     The service to be provided by the person(s) covered by the 
SFAR;
     To the extent known, the specific locations in the 
Damascus (OSTT) FIR where the proposed operation(s) will be conducted, 
including, but not limited to, the flight path and altitude of the 
aircraft while it is operating in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR and the 
airports, airfields and/or landing zones at which the aircraft will 
take-off and land; and
     The method by which the department, agency, or 
instrumentality will provide, or how the operator will otherwise 
obtain, current threat information and an explanation of how the 
operator will integrate this information into all phases of the 
proposed operations (e.g., pre-mission planning and briefing, in-
flight, and post-flight).
    The request for approval must also include a list of operators with 
whom the U.S. Government department, agency, or instrumentality 
requesting FAA approval has a current contract(s), grant(s), or 
cooperative agreement(s) (or with whom its prime contractor has a 
subcontract(s)) for specific flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) 
FIR. Additional operators may be identified to the FAA at any time 
after the FAA approval is issued. However, all additional operators 
must be identified to, and obtain an Operations Specification (OpSpec) 
or Letter of Authorization (LOA), as appropriate, from the FAA for 
operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR before such operators commence 
such operations. The revised approval conditions discussed below will 
apply to any such additional operators. Updated lists should be sent to 
the email address to be obtained from the Air Transportation Division 
by calling (202) 267-8166.
    If an approval request includes classified information, requestors 
may contact Aviation Safety Inspectors Michael Filippell or Will 
Gonzalez for instructions on submitting it to the FAA. Their contact 
information is listed in the For Further Information Contact section of 
this final rule.
    FAA approval of an operation under SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, 
does not relieve persons subject to this SFAR of their responsibility 
to comply with all applicable FAA rules and regulations. Operators of 
civil aircraft must also comply with the conditions of their 
certificate, OpSpecs, and LOAs, as applicable. Operators must further 
comply with all rules and regulations of other U.S. Government 
departments and agencies that may apply to the proposed operation(s), 
including, but not limited to, the Transportation Security Regulations 
issued by the Transportation Security Administration, Department of 
Homeland Security.
Approval Conditions
    If the FAA approves the request, the FAA's Aviation Safety 
Organization (AVS) will send an approval letter to the requesting 
department, agency, or instrumentality informing it that the FAA's 
approval is subject to all of the following conditions:
    (1) The approval will stipulate those procedures and conditions 
that limit, to the greatest degree possible, the risk to the operator, 
while still allowing the operator to achieve its operational 
objectives.
    (2) Before any approval takes effect, the operator must submit to 
the FAA:
    (a) A written release of the U.S. Government from all damages, 
claims, and liabilities, including without limitation legal fees and 
expenses; and
    (b) the operator's agreement to indemnify the U.S. Government with 
respect to any and all third-party damages, claims, and liabilities,

[[Page 40947]]

including without limitation legal fees and expenses, relating to any 
event arising from or related to the approved operations in the 
Damascus (OSTT) FIR.
    (3) Other conditions that the FAA may specify, including those that 
may be imposed in OpSpecs or LOAs, as applicable.
    The release and agreement to indemnify do not preclude an operator 
from raising a claim under an applicable non-premium war risk insurance 
policy issued by the FAA under chapter 443 of title 49, United States 
Code.
    If the proposed operations are approved, the FAA will issue an 
OpSpec or a LOA, as applicable, to the operator(s) identified in the 
department's, agency's or instrumentality's request authorizing the 
operator(s) to conduct such operations, and will notify the department, 
agency, or instrumentality that requested the FAA's approval of any 
additional conditions beyond those contained in the approval letter. 
The requesting department, agency, or instrumentality must have a 
contract, grant, or cooperative agreement (or its prime contractor must 
have a subcontract) with the person(s) described in paragraph (a) of 
this SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, on whose behalf the department, 
agency, or instrumentality requests FAA approval.

V. Petitions for Exemption

    Any operations not conducted under an approval issued by the FAA in 
accordance with this SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, must be conducted 
under an exemption from SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609. A request by any 
person covered under SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, for an exemption 
must comply with 14 CFR part 11, and will require exceptional 
circumstances beyond those contemplated by the approval process. In 
addition to the information required by 14 CFR 11.81, at a minimum, the 
requestor must describe in its submission to the FAA--
     The proposed operation(s), including the nature of the 
operation;
     The service to be provided by the person(s) covered by the 
SFAR;
     The specific locations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR where 
the proposed operation(s) will be conducted, including, but not limited 
to, the flight path and altitude of the aircraft while it is operating 
in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR and the airports, airfields and/or landing 
zones at which the aircraft will take-off and land; and
     The method by which the operator will obtain current 
threat information, and an explanation of how the operator will 
integrate this information into all phases of its proposed operations 
(e.g., the pre-mission planning and briefing, in-flight, and post-
flight phases).
    Additionally, the release and agreement to indemnify, as referred 
to previously, will be required as a condition of any exemption that 
may be issued under SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609.
    The FAA recognizes that operations that may be affected by SFAR No. 
114, 14 CFR 91.1609, may be planned for the governments of other 
countries with the support of the U.S. Government. While these 
operations will not be permitted through the approval process, the FAA 
will process exemption requests for such operations on an expedited 
basis and prior to any private exemption requests.

VI. Regulatory Notices and Analyses

    Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic 
analyses. First, Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct that each 
Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned 
determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its 
costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354), 
as codified in 5 U.S.C. 603 et seq., requires agencies to analyze the 
economic impact of regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the 
Trade Agreements Act (Pub. L. 96-39), as amended, 19 U.S.C. Chapter 13, 
prohibits agencies from setting standards that create unnecessary 
obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. In developing 
U.S. standards, the Trade Agreements Act requires agencies to consider 
international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis 
of U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Pub. L. 104-4), as codified in 2 U.S.C. Chapter 25, requires agencies 
to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other 
effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate 
likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 
million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with base year of 
1995). This portion of the preamble summarizes the FAA's analysis of 
the economic impacts of this final rule.
    In conducting these analyses, FAA has determined this final rule 
has benefits that justify its costs. This rule is a significant 
regulatory action as defined in section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, 
as it raises novel policy issues contemplated under that Executive 
Order; further, this rule is ``significant'' as defined in DOT's 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures. This rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
This rule will not create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce 
of the United States. This rule will not impose an unfunded mandate on 
State, local, or tribal governments, or on the private sector by 
exceeding the threshold identified above.

A. Regulatory Evaluation

    Department of Transportation (DOT) Order 2100.5 prescribes policies 
and procedures for simplification, analysis, and review of regulations. 
If the expected cost impact is so minimal that a proposed or final rule 
does not warrant a full evaluation, this order permits a statement to 
that effect and the basis for it to be included in the preamble if a 
full regulatory evaluation of the costs and benefits is not prepared. 
Such a determination has been made for this final rule. The reasoning 
for this determination follows.
    For SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, the FAA determined that 
incremental costs were minimal for U.S. operators of large transport 
category airplanes (four part 121 operators and two part 125M 
operators), because they had voluntarily ended their overflights in 
March 2011, before the FAA's August 18, 2014, issuance of FDC NOTAM 4/
4936, which prohibited U.S. operators and airmen from flying in the 
Damascus (OSTT) FIR. The FAA also determined that the incremental costs 
of SFAR No. 114 were minimal for about 15 ``on-demand'' large carriers 
(part 121 and part 121/135) and about 75 small ``on-demand'' operators 
(parts 135, 125, 125M, and 91K). These operators had previously flown 
into and out of Syria or conducted overflights in the Damascus (OSTT) 
FIR. However, because of sanctions imposed by the U.S. Department of 
the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the ongoing 
conflict, the FAA believed that few, if any, of these ``on-demand'' 
operators were still operating in the OSTT FIR immediately before the 
FAA issued FDC NOTAM 4/4936.
    Due to significant and increased hostilities, and because the OFAC 
sanctions remain in place, the reasons for the FAA's previous finding 
of minimal cost for SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, remain unchanged. 
Therefore, the FAA finds that the incremental cost of reissuing SFAR 
No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609 will be minimal.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354, ``RFA''), 5 
U.S.C. 601

[[Page 40948]]

et seq., establishes ``as a principle of regulatory issuance that 
agencies shall endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and 
of applicable statutes, to fit regulatory and informational 
requirements to the scale of the businesses, organizations, and 
governmental jurisdictions subject to regulation. To achieve this 
principle, agencies are required to solicit and consider flexible 
regulatory proposals and to explain the rationale for their actions to 
assure that such proposals are given serious consideration.'' The RFA 
covers a wide-range of small entities, including small businesses, not-
for-profit organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions.
    Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule will 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. If the agency determines that it will, the agency must 
prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA. 
However, if an agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, 
section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the agency may so 
certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis will not be required. The 
certification must include a statement providing the factual basis for 
this determination, and the reasoning should be clear.
    Prior to the hostilities leading to the earlier published SFAR No. 
114, 14 CFR 91.1609, there were many small entities conducting 
operations through the Damascus (OSTT) FIR. After the FAA initially 
published SFAR No. 114, 14 CFR 91.1609, the FAA received no requests 
for approval or petitions for exemption to allow persons subject to the 
SFAR to conduct flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR. Given no 
requests have occurred, the FAA believes the earlier determination of 
minimal cost is accurate. Thus reissuing the flight prohibition will 
not impose a significant economic impact. Therefore, as provided in 
section 605(b), the head of the FAA certifies that this rulemaking will 
not result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities.

C. International Trade Impact Assessment

    The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39), as amended, 
prohibits Federal agencies from establishing standards or engaging in 
related activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign 
commerce of the United States. Pursuant to this Act, the establishment 
of standards is not considered an unnecessary obstacle to the foreign 
commerce of the United States, so long as the standard has a legitimate 
domestic objective, such as the protection of safety, and does not 
operate in a manner that excludes imports that meet this objective. The 
statute also requires consideration of international standards and, 
where appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards.
    The FAA has assessed the effect of this final rule and determined 
that its purpose is to protect the safety of U.S. civil aviation from 
hazards outside the U.S. Therefore, the rule is in compliance with the 
Trade Agreements Act.

D. Unfunded Mandates Assessment

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-
4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement 
assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final 
agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more 
(in 1995 dollars) in any one year by State, local, and tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a mandate 
is deemed to be a ``significant regulatory action.'' The FAA currently 
uses an inflation-adjusted value of $155.0 million in lieu of $100 
million.
    This final rule does not contain such a mandate. Therefore, the 
requirements of Title II of the Act do not apply.

E. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13) requires that 
the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information 
collection burdens imposed on the public. The FAA has determined that 
there is no new requirement for information collection associated with 
this final rule.

F. International Compatibility and Cooperation

    In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on 
International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to conform to 
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and 
Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has 
determined that there are no ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices 
that correspond to this regulation.
    While the FAA's flight prohibition does not apply to foreign air 
carriers, DOT codeshare authorizations prohibit foreign air carriers 
from carrying a U.S. codeshare partner's code on a flight segment that 
operates in airspace for which the FAA has issued a flight prohibition. 
Further, following the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, there is 
increased attention in the international community and ICAO to 
conflict-related threats to civil aircraft. Foreign air carriers and 
other foreign operators may choose to avoid, or be advised/directed by 
their civil aviation authorities to avoid, airspace for which the FAA 
has issued a flight prohibition.

G. Environmental Analysis

    The FAA has analyzed this action under Executive Order 12114, 
Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions (44 FR 1957, 
January 4, 1979), and DOT Order 5610.1C, Paragraph 16. Executive Order 
12114 requires the FAA to be informed of environmental considerations 
and take those considerations into account when making decisions on 
major Federal actions that could have environmental impacts anywhere 
beyond the borders of the United States. The FAA has determined that 
this action is exempt pursuant to Section 2-5(a)(i) of Executive Order 
12114, because it does not have the potential for a significant effect 
on the environment outside the United States.
    In accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, ``Environmental Impacts: 
Policies and Procedures,'' paragraph 8-6(c), FAA has prepared a 
memorandum for the record stating the reason for this determination, 
which has been placed in the docket for this rulemaking.

VII. Executive Order Determinations

A. Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    The FAA has analyzed this final rule under the principles and 
criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The agency has 
determined that this action will not have a substantial direct effect 
on the States, or the relationship between the Federal Government and 
the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among 
the various levels of government, and, therefore, does not have 
Federalism implications.

B. Executive Order 13211, Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution, or Use

    The FAA analyzed this immediately adopted final rule under 
Executive Order 13211, ``Actions Concerning Regulations that 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use'' (May 18, 
2001). The agency has determined that it is not a ``significant energy 
action'' under the executive order, and it is not likely to have a 
significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of 
energy.

C. Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory 
Cooperation

    Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory 
Cooperation,

[[Page 40949]]

(77 FR 26413, May 4, 2012) promotes international regulatory 
cooperation to meet shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, 
security, environmental, and other issues and to reduce, eliminate, or 
prevent unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements. The FAA has 
analyzed this action under the policies and agency responsibilities of 
Executive Order 13609, and has determined that this action would have 
no effect on international regulatory cooperation.

D. Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling 
Regulatory Costs

    This rule is not subject to the requirements of EO 13771 (82 FR 
9339, February 3, 2017) because it is issued with respect to a national 
security function of the United States.

VIII. Additional Information

A. Availability of Rulemaking Documents

    An electronic copy of a rulemaking document may be obtained by 
using the Internet--
     Searching the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov);
     Visiting the FAA's Regulations and Policies Web page at 
http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies or
     Accessing the Government Publishing Office's Web page at 
http://www.fdsys.gov.
    Copies may also be obtained by sending a request (identified by 
docket or amendment number of the rule) to the Federal Aviation 
Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence Avenue 
SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267-9677.
    Except for classified material, all documents the FAA considered in 
developing this rule, including economic analyses and technical 
reports, may be accessed from the Internet through the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal referenced above.

B. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 
(SBREFA) requires FAA to comply with small entity requests for 
information or advice about compliance with statutes and regulations 
within its jurisdiction. A small entity with questions regarding this 
document may contact its local FAA official, or the person listed under 
the For Further Information Contact section at the beginning of the 
preamble. You can find out more about SBREFA on the Internet at: http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/sbre_act/.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 91

    Air traffic control, Aircraft, Airmen, Airports, Aviation safety, 
Freight, Syria.

The Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation 
Administration amends chapter I of Title 14, Code of Federal 
Regulations, as follows:

PART 91--GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES

0
1. The authority citation for part 91 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 1155, 40101, 40103, 40105, 
40113, 40120, 44101, 44111, 44701, 44704, 44709, 44711, 44712, 
44715, 44716, 44717, 44722, 46306, 46315, 46316, 46504, 46506-46507, 
47122, 47508, 47528-47531, 47534, Pub. L. 114-190, 130 Stat. 615 (49 
U.S.C. 44703 note); articles 12 and 29 of the Convention on 
International Civil Aviation (61 Stat. 1180), (126 Stat. 11).


0
2. In part 91, subpart M, add Sec.  91.1609 to read as follows:


Sec.  91.1609  Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 114--Prohibition 
Against Certain Flights in the Damascus (OSTT) Flight Information 
Region (FIR).

    (a) Applicability. This section applies to the following persons:
    (1) All U.S. air carriers and U.S. commercial operators;
    (2) All persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate 
issued by the FAA, except such persons operating U.S.-registered 
aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and
    (3) All operators of civil aircraft registered in the United 
States, except where the operator of such aircraft is a foreign air 
carrier.
    (b) Flight prohibition. No person may conduct flight operations in 
the Damascus (OSTT) Flight Information Region (FIR), except as provided 
in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section.
    (c) Permitted operations. This section does not prohibit persons 
described in paragraph (a) from conducting flight operations in the 
Damascus (OSTT) FIR, provided that such flight operations are conducted 
under a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement with a department, 
agency, or instrumentality of the U.S. government (or under a 
subcontract between the prime contractor of the department, agency, or 
instrumentality, and the person described in paragraph (a)), with the 
approval of the FAA, or under an exemption issued by the FAA. The FAA 
will process requests for approval or exemption in a timely manner, 
with the order of preference being: first, for those operations in 
support of U.S. government-sponsored activities; second, for those 
operations in support of government-sponsored activities of a foreign 
country with the support of a U.S. government department, agency, or 
instrumentality; and third, for all other operations.
    (d) Emergency situations. In an emergency that requires immediate 
decision and action for the safety of the flight, the pilot in command 
of an aircraft may deviate from this section to the extent required by 
that emergency. Except for U.S. air carriers and commercial operators 
that are subject to the requirements of part 119, 121, 125, or 135 of 
this chapter, each person who deviates from this section must, within 
10 days of the deviation, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal 
holidays, submit to the nearest FAA Flight Standards District Office 
(FSDO) a complete report of the operations of the aircraft involved in 
the deviation, including a description of the deviation and the reasons 
for it.
    (e) Expiration. This SFAR will remain in effect until December 30, 
2018. The FAA may amend, rescind, or extend this SFAR No. 114, Sec.  
91.1609, as necessary.

    Issued under authority provided by 49 U.S.C. 106(f) and (g), 
40101(d)(1), 40105(b)(1)(A), and 44701(a)(5), in Washington, DC, on 
August 14, 2017.
Michael P. Huerta,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2017-18322 Filed 8-28-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P