Extension of the Prohibition Against Certain Flights in Specified Areas of the Sanaa Flight Information Region (FIR) (OYSC)

 
CONTENT
Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 238 (Wednesday, December 11, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 238 (Wednesday, December 11, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 67659-67665]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-26602]
=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 91
[Docket No.: FAA-2015-8672; Amdt. No. 91-340B]
RIN 2120-AL44
Extension of the Prohibition Against Certain Flights in Specified
Areas of the Sanaa Flight Information Region (FIR) (OYSC)
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of
Transportation (DOT).
ACTION: Final rule.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
SUMMARY: This action extends the prohibition against certain flight
operations in specified areas of the Sanaa Flight Information Region
(FIR) (OYSC) by all: U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators;
persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by
the FAA, except when such persons are operating U.S.-registered
aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered
civil aircraft, except when the operator of such aircraft is a foreign
air carrier. The FAA finds this action necessary to address the
continued hazards to persons and aircraft engaged in such flight
operations from the ongoing fighting and instability in Yemen, as well
as terrorist and militant activity. The FAA also republishes, with
minor revisions, the approval process and exemption information for
this flight prohibition Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR);
makes a technical correction to the SFAR to show that operations on jet
route M999 are permitted; makes editorial changes to this SFAR to
clarify prohibited and permitted operations; makes a minor editorial
change to the title of the rule; and makes other minor revisions for
consistency with other recently published flight prohibition SFARs.
DATES: This final rule is effective on December 11, 2019.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dale E. Roberts, Air Transportation
Division, Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation Administration,
800 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20591; telephone 202-267-
8166; email [email protected].
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
I. Executive Summary
    This action extends the expiration date of SFAR No. 115, title 14
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 91.1611, from January 7, 2020, until
January 7, 2022. SFAR No. 115 prohibits certain flight operations in
specified areas of the Sanaa Flight Information Region (FIR) (OYSC),
the boundaries of which are set forth in paragraph (b) of this final
rule, by all U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons
exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA,
except when such persons are operating U.S.-registered aircraft for a
foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft,
except when the operator of such aircraft is a
[[Page 67660]]
foreign air carrier. Consistent with other recently published flight
prohibition SFARs, this action also republishes, with minor revisions,
the approval process and exemption information for this SFAR; makes
editorial changes to this SFAR to clarify prohibited and permitted
operations; and makes a minor editorial change to the title of the rule
for consistency. This action also makes a technical correction to the
SFAR to show that operations on jet route M999 are permitted.
II. Legal Authority and Good Cause
A. Legal Authority
    The FAA is responsible for the safety of flight in the U.S. and for
the safety of U.S. civil operators, U.S.-registered civil aircraft, and
U.S.-certificated airmen throughout the world. The FAA Administrator's
authority to issue rules on aviation safety is found in 49 U.S.C.
106(f) and (g). 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 this authority
consistently with the obligations of the U.S. Government under
international agreements.
    This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in 49
U.S.C. 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 FAA's authority, because it
continues to prohibit the persons described in paragraph (a) of SFAR
No. 115, Sec.  91.1611, from conducting flight operations in specified
areas of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC) due to the continuing hazards to the
safety of U.S. civil flight operations, as described in the preamble to
this final rule.
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.'' Section 553(d) also
authorizes agencies to forgo the delay in the effective date of the
final rule for good cause found and published with the rule. In this
instance, the FAA finds good cause exists to forgo notice and comment
because notice and comment would be impracticable and contrary to the
public interest. In addition, it is contrary to the public interest to
delay the effective date of this SFAR.
    The risk environment for U.S. civil aviation in airspace managed by
other countries with respect to safety of flight risks posed by weapons
capable of targeting, or otherwise negatively affecting, U.S. civil
aviation, as well as other hazards to U.S. civil aviation associated
with fighting, extremist/militant activity, or heightened tensions, is
fluid. This fluidity and the need for the FAA to rely upon classified
information in assessing these risks make seeking notice and comment
impracticable and contrary to the public interest. With respect to the
impracticability of notice and comment procedures, the potential for
rapid changes in the risks to U.S. civil aviation significantly limits
how far in advance of a new or amended flight prohibition the FAA can
usefully assess the risk environment. Furthermore, to the extent that
these rules and any amendments to them are based upon classified
information, the FAA is not legally permitted to share such information
with the general public, who cannot meaningfully comment on information
to which they are not legally allowed access.
    Under these conditions, public interest considerations also favor
not seeking notice and comment for these rules and any amendments to
them. While there is a public interest in having an opportunity for the
public to comment on agency action, there is a greater public interest
in having the FAA's flight prohibitions, and any amendments thereto,
reflect the agency's most current understanding of the risk environment
for U.S. civil aviation. This allows the FAA to appropriately protect
the safety of U.S. operators' aircraft and the lives of their
passengers and crews without over-restricting U.S. operators' routing
options. The FAA has identified an ongoing need to maintain the flight
prohibition for U.S. civil aviation operations in specified areas of
the Sanaa FIR (OYSC) due to continued safety-of-flight hazards
associated with ongoing political instability, fighting involving
various militia/extremist/militant elements, and military activity by
foreign sponsors supporting various elements operating in the specified
areas of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC). These hazards, which are further
described in the preamble to this rule, require that the FAA's flight
prohibition for U.S. civil aviation operations in specified areas of
the Sanaa FIR (OYSC) continue without interruption.
    Because the final rule makes no changes to the boundaries of an
existing FAA flight prohibition for U.S. civil aviation operations, it
is also contrary to the public interest to delay the effective date of
the rule. Delaying the effective date would not change the compliance
obligations of U.S. operators and airmen up to January 7, 2020, and,
depending upon the date on which the final rule is published in the
Federal Register, could result in a gap in the regulation's
effectiveness of as many as 30 days between January 7, 2020, and the
new effective date. Such an outcome would be contrary to the interests
of U.S. civil aviation safety due to the hazards to U.S. civil flight
operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC).
    For these reasons, the FAA finds good cause exists to forgo notice
and comment and any delay in the effective date for this rule.
III. Background
    On January 7, 2016, the FAA published SFAR No. 115, Sec.  91.1611,
to prohibit U.S. civil aviation operations in specified areas of the
Sanaa FIR (OYSC), due to the hazardous situation faced by U.S. civil
aviation from ongoing military operations, political instability,
violence from competing armed groups, and the continuing terrorism
threat from extremist elements associated with the fighting and
instability in Yemen.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ Prohibition Against Certain Flights in Specified Areas of
the Sanaa (OYSC) Flight Information Region (FIR) final rule, 81 FR
727.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In taking that action, the FAA determined international civil air
routes that transited the then-specified areas of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC)
and aircraft operating to and from Yemeni airports were at risk from
terrorist and militant groups potentially employing anti-aircraft-
capable weapons, including man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS),
surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), small-arms fire, and indirect fire from
mortars and rockets. Due to the fighting and instability, as of January
2016, the FAA stated that there was a risk of possible loss of state
control over more advanced anti-aircraft-capable weapons to terrorist
and militant groups. Some of the weapons that the FAA was concerned
about have the capability to target aircraft at higher altitudes or
during approach and departure and have weapon ranges that
[[Page 67661]]
could extend into the near off-shore areas along Yemen's coastline.
    In the January 2016 final rule, the FAA also indicated that U.S.
civil aviation was at risk from combat operations and other military-
related activity associated with the fighting and instability and that
there was an ongoing threat of terrorism. Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian
Peninsula (AQAP) remained active in Yemen and had demonstrated the
capability and intent to target U.S. and Western aviation interests.
Various Yemeni airports had been attacked during the fighting,
including Sanaa International Airport (OYSN) and Aden International
Airport (OYAA), resulting in instances of damage to airport facilities
and temporary closure of the airports.
    In December 2017, the FAA amended SFAR No. 115, Sec.  91.1611, to
shrink the boundaries of its prohibition of U.S. civil aviation
operations in specified areas of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC).\2\ Between
January 2016, and December 2017, the situation in Yemen had slightly
improved, as a coalition of Yemeni government forces, supporting
nations, and allied militia elements successfully limited the area of
opposition force control and reduced some of the opposition force's
weapon capabilities. As of December 2017, opposition elements in Yemen
did not possess functional medium-/long-range strategic SAM
capabilities. As a result, the FAA found that there was a sufficiently
reduced level of risk to U.S. civil aviation operations on certain
international air routes that transit offshore areas of the Sanaa FIR
(OYSC) to again permit U.S. civil aviation operations on those routes.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\ Amendment of the Prohibition Against Certain Flights in
Specified Areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) Flight Information Region final
rule, 82 FR 58722 (Dec. 14, 2017).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
IV. Discussion of the Final Rule
    The FAA continues to assess the situation in the specified areas of
the Sanaa FIR (OYSC) as being hazardous for U.S. civil aviation.
Significant risk to U.S. civil aviation operations in the specified
areas of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC) continues to exist due to the ongoing
conflict between the Saudi Arabia-led coalition and Huthi-aligned
forces, as well as an enduring extremist/militant threat to U.S. civil
aviation operations in those areas. During the conflict, there have
been multiple reported surface-to-air incidents, including successful
shoot downs of military tactical and surveillance aircraft by Huthi
forces armed with a variety of anti-aircraft-capable weapons. Huthi
elements, with international assistance, have received or developed,
and successfully employed, innovative anti-aircraft-capable weapons,
ballistic missiles and unmanned aircraft systems capabilities. These
capabilities present a risk to U.S. civil aviation, which may be
deliberately or inadvertently targeted while operating in the Sanaa FIR
(OYSC). Airports within the Sanaa FIR (OYSC) have been attacked by
various entities using multiple capabilities. Additionally, extremist/
militant elements continue to exploit the conflict for control of
territory to launch attacks. Both Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula
(AQAP) and extremists aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-
Sham (ISIS) operate in Yemen. Both AQAP and ISIS have previously
conducted attacks on U.S. interests, including targeting civil
aviation.
    The FAA continues to assess that opposition elements in Yemen do
not possess functional medium-/long-range strategic SAM capabilities or
control territory from which surface-to-air weapons possessed by those
opposition forces are capable of reaching air routes off the southern
and western coasts of Yemen. Therefore, the FAA maintains without
change the boundaries of its prohibition on U.S. civil aviation
operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC). Operations
on jet routes UT702 and M999 continue to be permitted.
    Therefore, as a result of the significant continuing risks to the
safety of U.S. civil aviation in the specified areas of the Sanaa FIR
(OYSC), the FAA extends the expiration date of SFAR No. 115, Sec.
91.1611, from January 7, 2020 until January 7, 2022. By this action,
the FAA prohibits flight operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa
FIR (OYSC) at all altitudes by all: U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial
operators; persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate
issued by the FAA, except when such persons are operating U.S.-
registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-
registered civil aircraft, except when the operator of such aircraft is
a foreign air carrier. 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.
    The FAA will continue to actively monitor the situation and
evaluate the extent to which U.S. civil operators and airmen may be
able to operate safely in the specified areas of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC).
Amendments to SFAR No. 115, Sec.  91.1611, may be appropriate if the
risk to aviation safety and security changes. The FAA may amend or
rescind SFAR No. 115, Sec.  91.1611, as necessary, prior to its
expiration date.
    By this action, the FAA also makes minor editorial changes to
correct the formatting of the name of the FIR; clarify the operations
that are prohibited and those that are permitted; and clarify the
procedures for considering approval and exemption requests. These
changes are consistent with other recently published flight prohibition
SFARs. The FAA is also republishing the details concerning the approval
and exemption processes in Sections V and VI of this preamble, so that
interested persons will be able to refer to this final rule for
comprehensive information about requesting relief from the FAA from the
provisions of SFAR No. 115, Sec.  91.1611. Finally, the FAA makes a
technical correction to the final rule to clarify that operations on
jet route M999 are permitted.
V. Approval Process Based on a Request From a Department, Agency, or
Instrumentality of the United States Government
A. Approval Process Based on an Authorization Request From a
Department, Agency, or Instrumentality of the United States Government
    In some instances, U.S. Government departments, agencies, or
instrumentalities may need to engage U.S. civil aviation to support
their activities in the specified areas of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC). The
FAA is clarifying the approval process for SFAR No. 115, Sec.  91.1611,
consistent with other recently published flight prohibition SFARs, as
previously indicated. If a department, agency, or instrumentality of
the U.S. Government determines that it has a critical need to engage
any person described in SFAR No. 115, Sec.  91.1611, including a U.S.
air carrier or commercial operator, to conduct a charter to transport
civilian or military passengers or cargo, or other operations, in the
specified areas of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC), that department, agency, or
instrumentality may request the FAA to approve persons described in
SFAR No. 115, Sec.  91.1611, 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 in a letter signed by
an appropriate senior official of the requesting department, agency, or
instrumentality. The FAA will not accept or consider requests for
[[Page 67662]]
approval from anyone other than the requesting department, agency, or
instrumentality. In addition, the senior official signing the letter
requesting FAA approval on behalf of the requesting department, agency,
or instrumentality must be sufficiently positioned within the
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 to commence.
    The letter must be sent to the Associate Administrator for Aviation
Safety, 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 described in SFAR
No. 115, Sec.  91.1611, or for multiple flight operations. To the
extent known, the letter must identify the person(s) expected to be
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
specified areas of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC) 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 specified areas
of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC) and the airports, airfields 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 (i.e., the pre-mission planning and briefing, in-
flight, and post-flight phases).
    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 its prime contractor has a subcontract(s))
for specific flight operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa FIR
(OYSC). The requestor may identify additional operators 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) from, the FAA, as
appropriate, for operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa FIR
(OYSC), before such operators commence such operations. The approval
conditions discussed below 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 Inspector Dale E. Roberts for instructions
on submitting it to the FAA. His contact information is listed in the
For Further Information Contact section of this final rule.
    FAA approval of an operation under SFAR No. 115, Sec.  91.1611,
does not relieve persons subject to this SFAR of their responsibility
to comply with all other applicable FAA rules and regulations.
Operators of civil aircraft must comply with the conditions of their
certificate, OpSpecs, and LOAs, as applicable. Operators must also
comply with all rules and regulations of other U.S. Government
departments or agencies that may apply to the proposed operation(s),
including, but not limited to, regulations issued by the Transportation
Security Administration.
B. Approval Conditions
    If the FAA approves the request, the FAA's Aviation Safety
Organization 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, relating to any event arising out of or related to the
approved operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC); and
    (b) The operator's written agreement to indemnify the U.S.
Government with respect to any and all third-party damages, claims, and
liabilities, including without limitation legal fees and expenses,
relating to any event arising from or related to the approved
operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC).
    (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, U.S. Code.
    If the FAA approves the proposed operation(s), the FAA will issue
an OpSpec or LOA, as applicable, to the operator(s) identified in the
original request authorizing them to conduct the approved operation(s),
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.
VI. Information Regarding Petitions for Exemption
    Any operations not conducted under an approval the FAA issues
through the approval process set forth previously must be conducted
under an exemption from SFAR No. 115, Sec.  91.1611. A petition for
exemption must comply with 14 CFR part 11. The FAA will consider
whether exceptional circumstances exist beyond those contemplated by
the approval process described in the previous section. 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;
[[Page 67663]]
     The specific locations in the specified areas of the Sanaa
FIR (OYSC) 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 specified areas of the Sanaa FIR
(OYSC) and the airports, airfields or landing zones at which the
aircraft will take off and land;
     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
(i.e., the pre-mission planning and briefing, in-flight, and post-
flight phases); and
     The plans and procedures the operator will use to minimize
the risks, identified in this preamble, to the proposed operations, to
establish that granting the exemption would not adversely affect safety
or would provide a level of safety at least equal to that provided by
this SFAR. The FAA has found comprehensive, organized plans and
procedures of this nature to be helpful in facilitating the agency's
safety evaluation of petitions for exemption from flight prohibition
SFARs.
    Additionally, the release and agreement to indemnify, as referred
to previously, are required as a condition of any exemption that may be
issued under SFAR No. 115, Sec.  91.1611.
    The FAA recognizes that the operations SFAR No. 115, Sec.  91.1611,
might affect could include operations planned for the governments of
other countries with the support of the U.S. Government. While the FAA
will not permit these operations through the approval process, the FAA
will consider exemption requests for such operations on an expedited
basis and prior to any private exemption requests.
    If a petition for exemption includes security-sensitive or
proprietary information, requestors may contact Aviation Safety
Inspector Dale E. Roberts for instructions on submitting it to the FAA.
His contact information is listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
CONTACT section of this final rule.
VII. 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 of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39), as codified in 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, the FAA has determined that 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. As notice and comment under 5 U.S.C. 553 are not
required for this final rule, the regulatory flexibility analyses
described in 5 U.S.C. 603 and 604 regarding impacts on small entities
are not required. 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 previously.
A. Regulatory Evaluation
    Due to the significant hazards to U.S. civil aviation described in
the preamble of this final rule, this rule continues to prohibit U.S.
civil flights in the specified areas of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC). The FAA
believes there are very few U.S. operators who wish to operate in the
specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR where U.S. civil aviation
operations will continue to be prohibited. The FAA receives few
requests for approval or petitions for exemption to conduct flight
operations in airspace managed by other countries in which the FAA has
prohibited U.S. civil aviation from flying and expects that this
pattern will hold true for this rule.
    In addition, the rule continues to allow U.S. civil aviation to use
the M999 and UT702 air routes, so flight times and operating expenses,
such as fuel, for U.S. operators that transit the Middle East on those
routes are not affected by this final rule.
    Therefore, the FAA finds that the costs of extending SFAR No. 115,
Sec.  91.1611, will be minimal and are exceeded by the benefits of
avoided risks of deaths, injuries, and property damage that could
result from a U.S. operator's aircraft being shot down (or otherwise
damaged) while operating in the specified areas of the Sanaa FIR
(OYSC).
B. Regulatory Flexibility Act
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), in 5 U.S.C. 603, requires an
agency to prepare an initial regulatory flexibility analysis describing
impacts on small entities whenever an agency is required by 5 U.S.C.
553, or any other law, to publish a general notice of proposed
rulemaking for any proposed rule. Similarly, 5 U.S.C. 604 requires an
agency to prepare a final regulatory flexibility analysis when an
agency issues a final rule under 5 U.S.C. 553, after being required by
that section or any other law to publish a general notice of proposed
rulemaking. The FAA found good cause to forgo notice and comment and
any delay in the effective date for this rule. As notice and comment
under 5 U.S.C. 553 are not required in this situation, the regulatory
flexibility analyses described in 5 U.S.C. 603 and 604 are similarly
not required.
C. International Trade Impact Assessment
    The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39) 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 potential effect of this final rule and
determined that its purpose is to protect the safety of U.S. civil
aviation from hazards to their operations in the specified areas of the
Sanaa FIR (OYSC), a location outside the U.S. Therefore, the rule is in
compliance with the Trade Agreements Act of 1979.
[[Page 67664]]
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 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 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) 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's 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. The FAA finds that this action is
fully consistent with the obligations under 49 U.S.C. 40105(b)(1)(A) to
ensure that the FAA exercises its duties consistently with the
obligations of the United States under international agreements.
    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.
In addition, foreign air carriers and other foreign operators may
choose to avoid, or be advised or 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(s) for this determination;
this memorandum has been placed in the docket for this rulemaking.
VIII. Executive Order Determinations
A. Executive Order 13132, Federalism
    The FAA has analyzed this rule under the principles and criteria of
Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The agency has determined that this
action would 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, would not have Federalism implications.
B. Executive Order 13211, Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy
Supply, Distribution, or Use
    The FAA analyzed this 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
would not be a ``significant energy action'' under the executive order
and would not be 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, (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 E.O. 13771 (82 FR
9339, Feb. 3, 2017) because it is issued with respect to a national
security function of the United States.
IX. Additional Information
A. Availability of Rulemaking Documents
    An electronic copy of a rulemaking document may be obtained from
the internet by--
     Searching the docket for this rulemaking at https://www.regulations.gov;
     Visiting the FAA's Regulations and Policies web page at
https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies; or
     Accessing the Government Publishing Office's website at
https://www.govinfo.gov.
    Copies may also be obtained by sending a request (identified by
amendment or docket number of this rulemaking) 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 docket for this
rulemaking.
B. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act
    The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996
(SBREFA) (Pub. L. 104-121) (set forth as a note to 5 U.S.C. 601)
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 persons listed under the FOR
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT heading at the beginning of the preamble.
To find out more about SBREFA on the internet, visit 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, Yemen.
[[Page 67665]]
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 is revised to read as follows:
    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 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. Revise Sec.  91.1611 to read as follows:
Sec.  91.1611   Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 115--
Prohibition Against Certain Flights in Specified Areas of the Sanaa
Flight Information Region (FIR) (OYSC).
    (a) Applicability. This Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR)
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 when such persons are operating U.S.-
registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and
    (3) All operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except when
the operator of such aircraft is a foreign air carrier.
    (b) Flight prohibition. Except as provided in paragraphs (c) and
(d) of this section, no person described in paragraph (a) of this
section may conduct flight operations in the portion of the Sanaa
Flight Information Region (FIR) (OYSC) that is west of a line drawn
direct from KAPET (163322N 0530614E) to NODMA (152603N 0533359E),
northwest of a line drawn direct from NODMA to ORBAT (140638N 0503924E)
then from ORBAT to PAKER (115500N 0463500E), north of a line drawn
direct from PAKER to PARIM (123142N 0432712E), and east of a line drawn
direct from PARIM to RIBOK (154700N 0415230E). Use of jet route UN303
is not authorized.
    (c) Permitted operations. This section does not prohibit persons
described in paragraph (a) of this section from conducting flight
operations in the Sanaa FIR (OYSC) under the following circumstances:
    (1) Flight operations may be conducted in the Sanaa FIR (OYSC) in
that airspace east of a line drawn direct from KAPET (163322N 0530614E)
to NODMA (152603N 0533359E), southeast of a line drawn direct from
NODMA to ORBAT (140638N 0503924E) then from ORBAT to PAKER (115500N
0463500E), south of a line drawn direct from PAKER to PARIM (123142N
0432712E), and west of a line drawn direct from PARIM to RIBOK (154700N
0415230E). Use of jet routes UT702 and M999 are authorized. All flight
operations conducted under this subparagraph must be conducted subject
to the approval of, and in accordance with the conditions established
by, the appropriate authorities of Yemen.
    (2) Flight operations may be conducted in the Sanaa FIR (OYSC) in
that airspace west of a line drawn direct from KAPET (163322N 0530614E)
to NODMA (152603N 0533359E), northwest of a line drawn direct from
NODMA to ORBAT (140638N 0503924E) then from ORBAT to PAKER (115500N
0463500E), north of a line drawn direct from PAKER to PARIM (123142N
0432712E), and east of a line drawn direct from PARIM to RIBOK (154700N
0415230E) if 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 U.S. Government department, agency, or
instrumentality and the person subject to paragraph (a)), with the
approval of the FAA, or under an exemption issued by the FAA. The FAA
will consider 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 14 CFR part 119, 121, 125, or
135, each person who deviates from this section must, within 10 days of
the deviation, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays,
submit to the responsible Flight Standards office 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 January 7,
2022. The FAA may amend, rescind, or extend this SFAR as necessary.
    Issued in Washington, DC, under the authority of 49 U.S.C.
106(f) and (g), 40101(d)(1), 40105(b)(1)(A), and 44701(a)(5), on
December 4, 2019.
Steve Dickson,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2019-26602 Filed 12-10-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-13-P