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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Transportation's (DOT) processes for certifying the initial operations of new airlines, focusing on the: (1) number of applicants that applied for and received authorization to begin new airlines since 1990; and (2) cost to certify new airlines and how the cost is distributed between the government and the applicants.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation 1. The Secretary of Transportation should reevaluate the appropriateness of OST increasing its fees and FAA establishing fees for services to certify new airlines, taking into consideration the government's costs, the value of the services to the applicant, and the public policy or interest served.
Closed - Not Implemented
The September 1996 reauthorization bill directed FAA to establish fees for services to certify new airlines. FAA had established a working group to determine how to proceed and had initiated rulemaking to adjust these fees. However, pending appropriations legislation in both houses of Congress would prohibit the use of appropriated funds to plan, finalize, or authorize any new aviation user fees.

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