In one of his final acts as president, Trump has ordered the Federal Aviation Administration to re-evaluate flight cancellation policies and impose new restrictions on domestic flights.
His directive applies to flights to places such as Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico, but it applies to a wide range of non-U.S. destinations, from the Caribbean to Alaska, as well as international destinations, including Canada and Australia.
The president’s directive directs the FAA to issue new guidance to airlines on how to implement the new rules.
While the new restrictions are expected to be in place by early next year, the FAA could still go into a new year without enforcing them, or at least have to issue a new rule, said John Vassiliou, the director of aviation policy at the non-profit Transportation Research Center.
“I don’t think it will be until 2017, so there’s a chance that we could see the rules go into effect at the beginning of next year,” Vassileou told Politico.
Trump’s directive also requires airlines to provide their full list of nonstop flights to the White House within two days.
The FAA would also have to create a separate website for each airline to ensure that all passengers are on the same flights and that they’re using the same number of flights.
While Trump may not be able to fully enforce the directive in the next two weeks, he’s already put pressure on the FAA by ordering that it be made more stringent, according to an FAA official who requested anonymity to discuss the administration’s plans.
The agency’s previous rules only required that airlines comply with the rules in one place, and only in a single country.
The new rules would require all airlines to issue their entire list of flights to Washington, D.C. by the end of next month.
“It’s an important step in the right direction,” said Vassilou.
“We don’t have to rely on one single airport or one single carrier to tell us what to do.”
The Trump administration’s directive on the reopening of the airports has come under fire for being overly vague and not requiring airlines to disclose which routes they fly.
Trump, however, has been adamant that the order is aimed at ensuring that domestic flights are safe, not only to the American people but to the world.
The White House has said the administration is also targeting nonstop air travel by requiring airlines not to carry more than 20 passengers on each flight, and for airlines not exceeding their minimum number of passengers on their domestic flights from the beginning to the end.
That means a lot more seats for passengers, but the airline will be able fly fewer people.
In other words, the White Street Journal reported, “the administration is hoping to push airlines to operate more safely in order to attract more foreign visitors and travelers.”
Vassilyou said that in general, the new regulations will be more stringent than the ones already in place, but that “they’ll be enforced with greater transparency.”
He said that the new guidance will be issued in January, so it will take time for airlines to comply with it.
“There’s going to be a lot of confusion out there, and I think the public will see it,” Vissileou said.
“They’re going to have to deal with it, and they’re going, ‘You know what, I want to see how this works.'”
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