A-78562, DECEMBER 7, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 558

A-78562: Dec 7, 1936

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MAILS - TRANSPORTATION BY AIRPLANE - PAYMENTS FOR TRIPS INVOLVING NONSTOPS AT CONNECTING ROUTE POINTS WHERE MAIL IS ACTUALLY CARRIED IN A CONTRACTOR'S PLANE OVER THE ENTIRE SCHEDULED TRIP DISTANCE OF CONNECTING ROUTES. DUE TO PROHIBITIVE WEATHER CONDITIONS NO STOP IS MADE AT THE TERMINAL CONNECTING POINT. " BUT THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL WHAT DEDUCTION SHOULD BE MADE FOR DELAY TO THE MAILS OR THE RENDERING OF SERVICE "INFERIOR TO THAT STIPULATED IN THE CONTRACT.'. INSTANCE IS FOUND IN THE SOUTHERN TRANSCONTINENTAL ROUTE FROM NEWARK. A FURTHER INSTANCE IS FOUND IN AMERICAN AIRLINES' ROUTE A.M. 21 AND A.M. 22. ANOTHER INSTANCE IS FOUND IN THE OPERATION OF EASTERN AIR LINES BETWEEN CHICAGO.

A-78562, DECEMBER 7, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 558

MAILS - TRANSPORTATION BY AIRPLANE - PAYMENTS FOR TRIPS INVOLVING NONSTOPS AT CONNECTING ROUTE POINTS WHERE MAIL IS ACTUALLY CARRIED IN A CONTRACTOR'S PLANE OVER THE ENTIRE SCHEDULED TRIP DISTANCE OF CONNECTING ROUTES, BUT DUE TO PROHIBITIVE WEATHER CONDITIONS NO STOP IS MADE AT THE TERMINAL CONNECTING POINT, PAYMENT MAY BE MADE FOR THE MILEAGE ACTUALLY FLOWN AT THE STIPULATED CONTRACT RATE "PER AIRPLANE-MILE," BUT THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL WHAT DEDUCTION SHOULD BE MADE FOR DELAY TO THE MAILS OR THE RENDERING OF SERVICE "INFERIOR TO THAT STIPULATED IN THE CONTRACT.'

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, DECEMBER 7, 1936:

YOUR LETTER OF JULY 16, 1936, SUBMITS FOR DECISION A MATTER THEREIN STATED AS FOLLOWS:

THE AIR MAIL SYSTEM OF THE UNITED STATES CONTAINS SEVERAL INSTANCES WHERE DESIGNATED ROUTES CONSIST OF AND INCLUDE MORE THAN ONE CONTRACT ROUTE. INSTANCE IS FOUND IN THE SOUTHERN TRANSCONTINENTAL ROUTE FROM NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, TO LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, WHICH INCLUDES CONTRACT ROUTE A.M. 23 FROM NEWARK TO FORT WORTH, AND THE CONTRACT ROUTE A.M. 4 FROM FORT WORTH TO LOS ANGELES. A FURTHER INSTANCE IS FOUND IN AMERICAN AIRLINES' ROUTE A.M. 21 AND A.M. 22. A.M. 21 EXTENDS FROM BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, TO CLEVELAND, OHIO, VIA UTICA, SYRACUSE, ROCHESTER, AND BUFFALO; AND ROUTE A.M. 22 FROM CLEVELAND, OHIO, TO NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, VIA COLUMBUS, CINCINNATI, AND LOUISVILLE. WHAT HAS BEEN KNOWN AS THE NORTHERN TRANSCONTINENTAL ROUTE, OPERATED BY NORTHWEST AIRLINES, INC., BETWEEN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, AND SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, INCLUDES ROUTE A.M. 16 FROM CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, TO FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA, VIA MADISON AND ROCHESTER; AND ROUTE A.M. 3 FROM FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA, TO SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, VIA JAMESTOWN, BISMARCK, MILES CITY, BILLINGS, BUTTE, HELENA, MISSOULA, SPOKANE, AND WENATCHEE. ANOTHER INSTANCE IS FOUND IN THE OPERATION OF EASTERN AIR LINES BETWEEN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, AND MIAMI, FLORIDA, OVER ROUTE A.M. 10, BETWEEN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, AND JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA; AND OVER ROUTE A.M. 6, BETWEEN JACKSONVILLE AND MIAMI.

IN TWO RECENT INSTANCES, THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE HAS THUS FAR DISALLOWED MILEAGE PAY, BY REASON OF THE FACT THAT A THROUGH PLANE OPERATING OVER TWO CONTRACT ROUTES FAILED TO MAKE A STOP AT THE TERMINUS ON THE FIRST CONTRACT ROUTE OVER WHICH THE FLIGHT WAS MADE, ALTHOUGH THE THROUGH PLANE CONTINUED ON OVER THE OTHER CONTRACT ROUTE TO THE TERMINUS OF THAT ROUTE AND THE TERMINUS OF THE THROUGH FLIGHT. IN ONE INSTANCE A PLANE OPERATED BY NORTHWEST AIRLINES FROM CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, TO SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, DID NOT LAND AFTER LEAVING MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, UNTIL IT ARRIVED AT BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA, THUS OMITTING TO STOP AT FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA, THE NORTHERN TERMINUS OF CONTRACT ROUTE A.M. 16. THE FAILURE OF THIS PLANE TO LAND AT FARGO WAS CAUSED BY PROHIBITIVE WEATHER CONDITIONS. THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE DISALLOWED THE MILEAGE PAY ON CONTRACT ROUTE A.M. 3 BETWEEN FARGO AND BISMARCK, THUS ALLOWING THE CONTRACTOR NO COMPENSATION FOR CARRYING BETWEEN FARGO AND BISMARCK, MAILS ORIGINATING EAST OF FARGO AND DESTINED FOR BISMARCK AND POINTS WEST, ALTHOUGH THIS MAIL WAS ACTUALLY CARRIED BY THE CONTRACTOR BETWEEN FARGO AND BISMARCK AND EXPEDITED THEREBY, AS, HAD THE CONTRACTOR BEEN COMPELLED TO WAIT AT MINNEAPOLIS UNTIL CLEAR WEATHER PERMITTED A STOP AT FARGO, THE FLIGHT WOULD EITHER NEVER HAVE BEEN MADE AT ALL, OR IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MATERIALLY DELAYED.

ANOTHER INSTANCE IS FOUND IN THE OPERATION OF A FLIGHT BETWEEN MIAMI, FLORIDA, AND CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, BY EASTERN AIR LINES. THIS TRIP ORIGINATED AT MIAMI AND CONTINUED TO CHICAGO, BUT BECAUSE OF WEATHER CONDITIONS FAILED TO LAND AT JACKSONVILLE BUT LANDED AT ATLANTA, GEORGIA. ORDINARILY THAT PORTION OF THE TRIP BETWEEN MIAMI AND JACKSONVILLE IS OPERATED AS A PART OF CONTRACT ROUTE 6 FROM NEW YORK TO MIAMI AND FROM JACKSONVILLE TO CHICAGO AS A TRIP ON ROUTE A.M. 10 VIA MACON, ATLANTA, CHATTANOOGA, NASHVILLE, LOUISVILLE, AND INDIANAPOLIS. IN THIS INSTANCE THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE DISALLOWED MILEAGE PAY ON ROUTE A.M. 10, FROM ATLANTA TO JACKSONVILLE, BECAUSE THE CONTRACTOR WAS FORCED BY WEATHER CONDITIONS TO OMIT LANDING AT JACKSONVILLE, THUS ALLOWING THE CONTRACTOR NO COMPENSATION FOR CARRYING OVER THE ROUTE BETWEEN JACKSONVILLE AND ATLANTA MAILS ORIGINATING AT MIAMI AND DESTINED FOR ATLANTA AND OTHER POINTS ON A.M. 10, ALTHOUGH SUCH MAILS WERE ACTUALLY CARRIED BETWEEN JACKSONVILLE AND ATLANTA BY THE CONTRACTOR AND THESE MAILS WERE MATERIALLY EXPEDITED INASMUCH AS, HAD THE CONTRACTOR BEEN FORCED TO REMAIN IN MIAMI UNTIL THE WEATHER CLEARED SUFFICIENTLY TO PERMIT A LANDING TO BE MADE AT JACKSONVILLE, THE TRIP WOULD EITHER NEVER HAVE BEEN MADE OR WOULD HAVE BEEN MATERIALLY DELAYED. IN THIS INSTANCE THE DISALLOWANCE OF PAY ON ROUTE A.M. 10 RESULTED IN A DECREASE IN THE TOTAL MILEAGE ON ROUTE A.M. 10 FOR NOVEMBER, THIS DECREASE RESULTING IN AN INCREASE IN THE BASIC PAY FOR THE ENTIRE ROUTE DURING THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER. THE DISALLOWANCE OF MILEAGE PAY FROM ATLANTA TO JACKSONVILLE, OR 283 MILES AT 26 CENTS PER MILE, AMOUNTED TO $73.58 AND RESULTED IN AN INCREASE FROM 26 CENTS TO 27 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE ENTIRE MILEAGE FLOWN ON ROUTE A.M. 10 DURING NOVEMBER, BY REASON OF WHICH THE CONTRACTOR RECEIVED $1,026.21 MORE THAN IF MILEAGE PAY BETWEEN JACKSONVILLE AND ATLANTA HAD BEEN ALLOWED FOR THIS TRIP.

IT IS FELT THAT WHERE THE CONTRACTOR BY REASON OF WEATHER CONDITIONS FAILS TO LAND AT THE TERMINUS OF ONE CONTRACT ROUTE BUT CONTINUES ON OVER ANOTHER CONTRACT ROUTE, MAKING A LANDING AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE, AND EXPEDITES THE AIR MAIL THEREBY, IT SHOULD NOT BE DENIED ALL COMPENSATION FOR CARRYING THE MAILS BETWEEN THE OMITTED TERMINUS AND THE NEXT STOP, ESPECIALLY IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE MAIL IS ACTUALLY CARRIED.

IT IS FURTHER FELT THAT ADHERENCE TO THIS RULING MAY RESULT IN THE CANCELATION OF FLIGHTS, IN MATERIAL DELAYS WHILE WAITING FOR CLEARING WEATHER, AND PERHAPS IN SOME INSTANCES LANDINGS HAZARDOUS TO PASSENGERS MADE SOLELY TO PREVENT THE DEDUCTION OF MAIL PAY.

IT IS REQUESTED, ACCORDINGLY, THAT THIS RULING BE REVIEWED AND THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT ADVISED.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT ON MARCH 10, 1936, NORTHWEST AIRLINES, INC., PLANE NO. 60, LEFT CHICAGO AT 8:20 P.M. FOR FARGO, N.DAK., AND INTERMEDIATE POINTS ON SCHEDULED TRIP 3 OVER AIR-MAIL ROUTE NO. 16. A CHANGE WAS MADE TO PLANE NO. 67 AT ST. PAUL, MINN. THE TRIP REPORT SHOWS THIS PLANE ARRIVED OVER FARGO AT 1:32 A.M. BUT THAT DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS NO STOP WAS MADE THERE. THE PLANE CONTINUED ON WEST FROM FARGO OVER ROUTE NO. 3, ARRIVING AT BISMARCK, N.DAK., AT 2:40 A.M., WHERE THE FARGO MAIL WAS PUT OFF TO BE RETURNED TO FARGO BY EAST-BOUND TRIP 4 ON ROUTE 3. FROM BISMARCK THE SAID PLANE 67 CONTINUED ON TO SEATTLE, WASH., AND INTERMEDIATE POINTS OVER ROUTE 3, ARRIVING AT SEATTLE 9:15 A.M. PACIFIC TIME, MARCH 11, 1936.

IT FURTHER APPEARS THAT ON NOVEMBER 1, 1935, NORTH AMERICAN AVIATION, INC., PLANE NO. 12, LEFT MIAMI, FLA., AT 8:20 P.M. FOR JACKSONVILLE, FLA., CARRYING MAIL ON A "CREDIT" TRIP OVER AIR-MAIL ROUTE NO. 6, BUT DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS THE PLANE PASSED OVER JACKSONVILLE WITHOUT STOPPING AND PROCEEDED OVER ROUTE NO. 10 TO ATLANTA, GA., ARRIVING AT ATLANTA AT 1:40 A.M., EASTERN TIME. THE MAIL FOR JACKSONVILLE WAS PUT OFF AT ATLANTA AND THE MAIL FOR CHICAGO WAS TRANSFERRED TO PLANE NO. 15 OF THE SAME CONTRACTOR, WHICH LEFT ATLANTA AT 1:10, CENTRAL TIME, FOR CHICAGO AND INTERMEDIATE POINTS OVER SAID ROUTE 10, ARRIVING AT CHICAGO AT 6:54 A.M.

IT THUS APPEARS THAT IN EACH INSTANCE THE MAIL WAS ACTUALLY CARRIED OVER THE ENTIRE SCHEDULED TRIP DISTANCE OF BOTH CONNECTING ROUTES, BUT THAT IN THE FIRST INSTANCE THE FAILURE TO STOP AT FARGO DELAYED DELIVERY OF THE MAIL FOR FARGO AND NO MAIL WAS PICKED UP AT FARGO FOR POINTS WEST ON SCHEDULED TRIP 3 ON ROUTE 3; AND IN THE SECOND INSTANCE THE FAILURE TO STOP AT JACKSONVILLE DELAYED THE MAIL FOR JACKSONVILLE AND NO MAIL WAS PICKED UP AT JACKSONVILLE FOR CHICAGO AND INTERMEDIATE POINTS ON THE SCHEDULED TRIP TO CHICAGO.

THE AIR-MAIL CONTRACTS IN EACH INSTANCE PROVIDE FOR PAYMENT FOR SERVICES PERFORMED AT STIPULATED RATES "PER AIRPLANE-MILE.'

ARTICLES "FIRST" AND "FIFTH" OF SUCH CONTRACTS OBLIGATE THE CONTRACTORS AS FOLLOWS:

FIRST. TO CARRY THE MAILS OFFERED WITH DUE CELERITY, CERTAINTY, AND SECURITY, AND IN SAFE AND SUITABLE AIRCRAFT ON THE ROUTE DESCRIBED AND ON THE SCHEDULES SET FORTH BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, THE CONTRACTOR TO RECEIVE AND DELIVER THE MAILS AT THE DESIGNATED FIELDS AND POINT ON SAID FIELDS AS APPROVED BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL.

FIFTH. IT IS HEREBY ALSO STIPULATED AND AGREED THAT DEDUCTIONS IN PAY WILL BE MADE FOR SUFFERING THE MAILS TO BECOME WET, INJURED, OR DESTROYED, OR WHEN A GRADE OF SERVICE IS RENDERED INFERIOR TO THAT STIPULATED IN THE CONTRACT, OR FOR THE LOSS OR OR DEPRECIATION UPON THE MAILS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE CONTRACTOR OR HIS AGENTS, PROVIDED THE LOSS IS OCCASIONED BY THE FAULT OF ANY OF THEM.

PARAGRAPHS 20 AND 21 OF THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR BIDS, BY REFERENCE MADE A PART OF SUCH CONTRACTS, ARE AS FOLLOWS:

20. DELAY TO MAIL CARRIED BY AIR-MAIL CONTRACTORS, BROUGHT ABOUT WHOLLY BY ACT OF GOD, WILL NOT BE CHARGEABLE TO THE CONTRACTOR, NOR WILL SUCH DELAY BE CONSIDERED AS CAUSE FOR TERMINATION OF CONTRACT BY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT.

21. DELAYS BROUGHT ABOUT BY ACTS OF THE CONTRACTORS MAY RESULT IN FINE AND DEDUCTIONS, AS PROVIDED BY LAW.

IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES HERE SHOWN, THAT THE MAIL WAS ACTUALLY CARRIED IN THE CONTRACTOR'S PLANES OVER THE ESTABLISHED CONTRACT ROUTES 3 AND 10 BETWEEN FARGO AND BISMARCK AND BETWEEN JACKSONVILLE AND ATLANTA IN CONJUNCTION WITH REGULAR SCHEDULED PAY TRIPS, ALTHOUGH STOPS WERE NOT MADE AT THE TERMINAL CONNECTING POINTS, FARGO AND JACKSONVILLE, THERE APPEARS NO BASIS FOR NOT PAYING THE CONTRACTORS "PER AIRPLANE-MILE" FOR THE MILEAGE ACTUALLY FLOWN BETWEEN SUCH POINTS, AS ON ROUTES 3 AND 10, AND THE ACCOUNTS OF THE CONTRACTORS FOR THESE AND SIMILAR TRIPS WILL BE READJUSTED ON THAT BASIS. THERE IS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION, HOWEVER, UNDER ARTICLE "FIFTH" AND PARAGRAPHS 20 AND 21 OF THE CONTRACT, SUPRA, WHAT DEDUCTIONS SHOULD BE MADE IN SUCH CASES FOR THE DELAY TO THE MAILS OR THE RENDERING OF SERVICE "INFERIOR TO THAT STIPULATED IN THE CONTRACT.' SEE 14 COMP. GEN. 129.