§ 44701. General requirements
(a)Promoting Safety.—The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall promote safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing—
(1) minimum standards required in the interest of safety for appliances and for the design, material, construction, quality of work, and performance of aircraft, aircraft engines, and propellers;
(2) regulations and minimum standards in the interest of safety for—
(A) inspecting, servicing, and overhauling aircraft, aircraft engines, propellers, and appliances;
(B) equipment and facilities for, and the timing and manner of, the inspecting, servicing, and overhauling; and
(C) a qualified private person, instead of an officer or employee of the Administration, to examine and report on the inspecting, servicing, and overhauling;
(3) regulations required in the interest of safety for the reserve supply of aircraft, aircraft engines, propellers, appliances, and aircraft fuel and oil, including the reserve supply of fuel and oil carried in flight;
(4) regulations in the interest of safety for the maximum hours or periods of service of airmen and other employees of air carriers; and
(5) regulations and minimum standards for other practices, methods, and procedure the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce and national security.
(b)Prescribing Minimum Safety Standards.—The Administrator may prescribe minimum safety standards for—
(1) an air carrier to whom a certificate is issued under section 44705 of this title; and
(2) operating an airport serving any passenger operation of air carrier aircraft designed for at least 31 passenger seats.
(c)Reducing and Eliminating Accidents.—The Administrator shall carry out this chapter in a way that best tends to reduce or eliminate the possibility or recurrence of accidents in air transportation. However, the Administrator is not required to give preference either to air transportation or to other air commerce in carrying out this chapter.
(d)Considerations and Classification of Regulations and Standards.—When prescribing a regulation or standard under subsection (a) or (b) of this section or any of sections 44702–44716 of this title, the Administrator shall—
(A) the duty of an air carrier to provide service with the highest possible degree of safety in the public interest; and
(B) differences between air transportation and other air commerce; and
(2) classify a regulation or standard appropriate to the differences between air transportation and other air commerce.
(e)Bilateral Exchanges of Safety Oversight Responsibilities.—
(1)In general.—Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter, the Administrator, pursuant to Article 83 bis of the Convention on International Civil Aviation and by a bilateral agreement with the aeronautical authorities of another country, may exchange with that country all or part of their respective functions and duties with respect to registered aircraft under the following articles of the Convention: Article 12 (Rules of the Air); Article 31 (Certificates of Airworthiness); or Article 32a (Licenses of Personnel).
(2)Relinquishment and acceptance of responsibility.—The Administrator relinquishes responsibility with respect to the functions and duties transferred by the Administrator as specified in the bilateral agreement, under the Articles listed in paragraph (1) for United States-registered aircraft described in paragraph (4)(A) transferred abroad and accepts responsibility with respect to the functions and duties under those Articles for aircraft registered abroad and described in paragraph (4)(B) that are transferred to the United States.
(3)Conditions.—The Administrator may predicate, in the agreement, the transfer of functions and duties under this subsection on any conditions the Administrator deems necessary and prudent, except that the Administrator may not transfer responsibilities for United States registered aircraft described in paragraph (4)(A) to a country that the Administrator determines is not in compliance with its obligations under international law for the safety oversight of civil aviation.
(4)Registered aircraft defined.—In this subsection, the term “registered aircraft” means—
(A) aircraft registered in the United States and operated pursuant to an agreement for the lease, charter, or interchange of the aircraft or any similar arrangement by an operator that has its principal place of business or, if it has no such place of business, its permanent residence in another country; and
(5)Foreign airworthiness directives.—
(A)Acceptance.—Subject to subparagraph (D), the Administrator may accept an airworthiness directive, as defined in section 39.3 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, issued by an aeronautical safety authority of a foreign country, and leverage that authority’s regulatory process, if—
(i) the country is the state of design for the product that is the subject of the airworthiness directive;
(ii) the United States has a bilateral safety agreement relating to aircraft certification with the country;
(iii) as part of the bilateral safety agreement with the country, the Administrator has determined that such aeronautical safety authority has an aircraft certification system relating to safety that produces a level of safety equivalent to the level produced by the system of the Federal Aviation Administration;
(iv) the aeronautical safety authority of the country utilizes an open and transparent notice and comment process in the issuance of airworthiness directives; and
(v) the airworthiness directive is necessary to provide for the safe operation of the aircraft subject to the directive.
(B)Alternative approval process.—Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), the Administrator may issue a Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness directive instead of accepting an airworthiness directive otherwise eligible for acceptance under such subparagraph, if the Administrator determines that such issuance is necessary for safety or operational reasons due to the complexity or unique features of the Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness directive or the United States aviation system.
(C)Alternative means of compliance.—The Administrator may—
(i) accept an alternative means of compliance, with respect to an airworthiness directive accepted under subparagraph (A), that was approved by the aeronautical safety authority of the foreign country that issued the airworthiness directive; or
(ii) notwithstanding subparagraph (A), and at the request of any person affected by an airworthiness directive accepted under such subparagraph, approve an alternative means of compliance with respect to the airworthiness directive.
(D)Limitation.—The Administrator may not accept an airworthiness directive issued by an aeronautical safety authority of a foreign country if the airworthiness directive addresses matters other than those involving the safe operation of an aircraft.
(f)Exemptions.—The Administrator may grant an exemption from a requirement of a regulation prescribed under subsection (a) or (b) of this section or any of sections 44702–44716 of this title if the Administrator finds the exemption is in the public interest.
(Pub. L. 103–272, § 1(e), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 1185; Pub. L. 103–429, § 6(55), Oct. 31, 1994, 108 Stat. 4385; Pub. L. 106–181, title VII, § 714, Apr. 5, 2000, 114 Stat. 161; Pub. L. 115–254, div. B, title II, § 242, Oct. 5, 2018, 132 Stat. 3258.)