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January 27, 2004 

DOT Requires Foreign Air Carriers to Submit Revised Family Assistance Plans

As a result of the recent passage of the Vision 100--Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act (Pub. L. 108-176, 117 Stat. 2490, December 12, 2003), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are requiring all foreign air carriers to revise their Family Assistance Plans. Specifically, Vision 100 requires that Family Assistance Plans be resubmitted in their entirety with the following additional assurances:

(A) An assurance that, in the case of an accident that results in significant damage to a manmade structure or other property on the ground that is not government-owned, the foreign air carrier will promptly provide notice, in writing, to the extent practicable, directly to the owner of the structure or other property about liability for any property damage and means for obtaining compensation.

(B) At a minimum, the written notice shall advise a property owner (i) to contact the insurer of the property as the authoritative source for information about coverage and compensation; (ii) to not rely on unofficial information offered by foreign air carrier representatives about compensation by the foreign air carrier for accident-site property damage; and (iii) to obtain photographic or other detailed evidence of property damage as soon as possible after the accident, consistent with restrictions on access to the accident site.

In addition to the information set forth above, DOT and NTSB have requested that the Family Assistance Plan contain the updated 24-hour telephone number of the foreign air carrier's operations center for use in the event of an emergency.

The deadline for submission of revised Family Assistance Plans is March 11, 2004.


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