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U.S. Department of Transportation Issues Final Order on Service Obligations for Air Carriers Receiving Financial Relief Through CARES Act

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Transportation today issued a final order establishing parameters for implementing the authority granted to the Secretary of Transportation by Sections 4005 and 4114(b) of the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act).  The order, which finalizes, with some modifications, the tentative findings made in Order 2020-3-10 (March 31, 2020), requires that air carriers receiving financial assistance under the CARES Act maintain minimum air services on a nationwide basis, with some exceptions.  

Air carriers offering scheduled passenger service and all-cargo carriers are covered by the order; however, the Department is not requiring service obligations of all-cargo carriers at this time.  Charter operations and air taxi operators are not covered by this order.  The order is designed to ensure that covered air carriers maintain a defined minimum level of flights to communities they served prior to March 1, with adjustments to our initial proposal made to address seasonal services and the potentially disproportionate impact of minimum service levels on certain segments of the industry.  The initial term for the service obligations extends through September 30, 2020, which may be extended by the Department.  Procedures for an exemption process are also included in the order.  The final order can be found here.