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FAA Meeting with LB re Airport May Not Be Purely Informal Process; We Report The Rest of the Story

(August 1, 2002) -- has learned that a closed door meeting held July 31 involving the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), the LB City Attorney's office and major commercial carriers at LB Airport may not be part of a purely "informal" process.

The meeting, held at the FAA's Hawthorne, CA office, fits the description of the FAA's formal process requiring a party affected by an airport operator's alleged noncompliance with federal rules to pursue efforts to resolve the dispute informally before the party can file an administraive (i.e. non court) complaint triggering FAA conducted Enforcement Proceedings. reports the rest of the story not reported elsewhere.

The FAA's rules governing Federally Assisted Airport Enforcement Proceedings provide in pertinent part:

16.21 Pre-complaint resolution.

(a) Prior to filing a complaint under this part, a person directly and substantially affected by the alleged noncompliance shall initiate and engage in good faith efforts to resolve the disputed matter informally with those individuals or entities believed responsible for the noncompliance. These efforts at informal resolution may include, without limitation, at the parties' expense, mediation, arbitration, or the use of a dispute resolution board, or other form of third party assistance. The FAA Airports District Office, FAA Airports Field Office, or FAA Regional Airports Division responsible for administrating financial assistance to the respondent airport proprietor, will be available upon request to assist the parties with informal resolution.

(b) A complaint under this part will not be considered unless the person or authorized representative filing the complaint certifies that substantial and reasonable good faith efforts to resolve the disputed matter informally prior to filing the complaint have been made and that there appears no reasonable prospect for timely resolution of the dispute. This certification shall include a brief description of the party's efforts to obtain informal resolution but shall not include information on monetary or other settlement offers made but not agreed upon in writing by all parties. has confirmed that the July 31 meeting was informal in the sense that there was no order to appear or the like. The meeting reportedly consisted mainly of each side strongly asserting its positions. has learned that at least one follow up informal meeting is tentatively scheduled.

FAA regional spokesman Jerry Snyder told he didn't know what party or parties had initiated the July 31 meeting or with what plans or under what circumstances. He stressed that no complaint has been filed under Part 16 to date. However, he noted that the informal meeting(s) appear to fall within the scope of the FAA rule that could subsequently permit a party to file a formal FAA complaint. is in the process of confirming further particulars of the meeting.

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