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Airline Pact Safety Norms Planned

November 26, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Transportation Department is drafting safety guidelines that would raise the scrutiny of foreign airlines involved in ticket-sharing pacts with U.S. carriers, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

The guidelines, expected to be announced in early December, would force U.S. airlines to routinely assess the training, maintenance and other practices of their foreign partners, said the Journal, citing unidentified government and industry sources familiar with the issue.

Eventually the reviews could include a look at an airline’s security, the newspaper reported.

A department spokesman declined to comment, but said that Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater has pushed for the development of ``code-share safety guidelines that he hopes to announce shortly.″

Code-sharing deals between U.S. and foreign carriers have tripled in the past five years as U.S. airlines have sought to expand their international reach without adding to their fleets.

Traditionally, U.S. authorities have had only limited control over foreign airlines’ operations, performing some direct inspections of incoming carriers but relying on foreign authorities to regulate their airlines.

But several major U.S. airlines already voluntarily take part in reviews of their partners in ticket-sharing pacts. Such reviews include assessments at least every two years that take into account accident and incident rates, financial and economic conditions, and age of equipment.

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