Invitation to tender: Regional Air Services in Norway as of 1 April 2000

XII Procedures in connection with traffic programmes and fares for scheduled air services in Norway

Ministry of Transport and Communications Circular N-8/97

Department of Air and Rail Transport 29.10.1997

Recipients: The Civil Aviation Administration, county municipal administrations' transport offices and departments, and air carriers.

This circular replaces circulars N-2/92 and N-2/94 which no longer apply to scheduled air services in Norway. Circular N-2/92 Procedures in connection with approval of traffic programmes remains effective for the Coastal Steamer (Hurtigruta). In regard to Norwegian State Railways, see Report No. 1 to the Storting (1994-95) Changed guidelines for approval of Norwegian State Railways' traffic programmes, page 180.

The first main section of Circular N-8/97, Tender Routes, applies to domestic traffic programmes and fares on routes subject to public service obligations (PSO), where the carrier/carriers operate the route(s) pursuant to a tender contract with the State.

The second main section of Circular N-8/97, Other Routes, applies to domestic traffic programmes and fares on the remaining route network where free competition applies.

Tender routes

1 The carrier's responsibility for implementing a consultation process in connection with its traffic programme(s)

On routes subject to PSO/tender, consultative bodies may submit to the carrier their comments, in order of priority, on the following:

1) The carrier's compliance with PSO set out in the invitation to tender

2) The carrier's co-ordination of routes/timetables in relation to other public means of transport

3) Services over and above PSO and/or tender which the carrier may provide on a commercial basis

1.1 Traffic programmes

a) Proposals for traffic programmes shall be circulated to the relevant bodies contained in the list of addresses under Tender Routes section II Consultative bodies for traffic programmes, with a copy going to the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

b) Proposals for summer and winter traffic programmes shall be circulated to the relevant consultative bodies by 15 October and 15 May respectively at the latest. The consultative bodies shall send their comments directly to the carrier by 1 December for the summer routes and 1 July for the winter routes.

c) The midsummer programme, where appropriate adjusted to PSO set out in the invitation to tender, shall be incorporated in the summer traffic programme.

d) The carrier shall send the Ministry of Transport and Communications the final traffic programme with a copy of all submissions giving reasons in writing for whether and why the submissions of the consultative bodies in regard to 1), 2) and 3) on page 1 were or were not taken into account in the final traffic programme proposal.

e) The final traffic programme proposal shall be sent to the Ministry of Transport and Communications by 1 August at the latest for winter routes and by 1 January at the latest for summer routes.

f) If the final traffic programme proposal contains changes in relation to the original proposal which for example entail negative consequences for the passengers, are not in accordance with PSO, or affect the Civil Aviation Administration's published airport opening times, the carrier shall co-ordinate such matters with the consultative bodies in accordance with section II Consultative bodies for traffic programmes, before the final traffic programme proposal is transmitted to the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

g) Approval from the Ministry of Transport and Communications must have been sent no later than 45 days before the traffic programme becomes operative.

h) The carrier is responsible for sending identically-worded letters to the consultative bodies immediately after the traffic programme has been considered by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The letter shall give an account of the final traffic programme, and the final traffic programme shall be enclosed.

1.2 Changes to approved air traffic programmes

a) Minor changes to an approved traffic programme without direct consequences for the market need not be circulated for comment. Changes of some scope which may have an effect on the market, c.f. I.I f), shall be sent to affected consultative bodies for comment with a copy going to the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The consultative bodies shall have at least three weeks in which to reply as from the date on which they receive the proposed changes. Replies shall be sent directly to the carrier.

b) The carrier shall send the Ministry of Transport and Communications the final proposal for changes with a copy of all submissions giving reasons in writing for whether and why the submissions of the consultative bodies were or were not taken into account in the final proposal for changes. The Ministry of Transport and Communications shall complete its consideration of the proposed changes and reply to the carrier as quickly as possible.

c) The carrier is responsible for sending identically-worded letters to the consultative bodies immediately after the changes have been considered by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The letter shall give an account of the changes, and the traffic programme/changes shall be enclosed.

1.3 Route changes in connections with public holidays

a) The carrier shall send proposed route changes to the Civil Aviation Administration's affected regional units no later than six weeks before the proposed change is due to become effective.

b) The Civil Aviation Administration's affected regional units shall send their submissions to the carrier no later than three weeks after receiving the proposed changes.

c) Changes accepted by the Civil Aviation Administration's affected regional units may be implemented without further formality.

d) If acceptance as mentioned in c) is not forthcoming, the carrier shall send its route proposal, including submissions, to the Ministry of Transport and Communications for consideration.

e) When a decision is taken with reference to c) or d), the carrier shall itself ensure that approved route changes are announced immediately.

2 Consultative bodies for traffic programmes

a) The Civil Aviation Administration shall always be consulted on proposals for traffic programmes or changes to traffic programmes. Proposals shall be sent directly both to the Civil Aviation Administration's main office and its affected regional units.

b) In addition, affected county municipalities / municipalities shall have an opportunity to express their views within the time-limits set out in this circular. Relevant material shall in such case be sent directly to all affected county municipalities in the person of the chief communications officer.

c) The carrier must itself take care of necessary co-ordination with Norway Post and the National Defence.

3 Reporting of fares

a) Fares may be adjusted at the start of each new year of operation in accordance with the tender.

b) Fares adjusted in accordance with a), any discounts or new, lower fares shall be sent to the Ministry of Transport and Communications for its information prior to implementation.

4 Formulation of new tenders

a) The Ministry of Transport and Communications is the designated recipient for initiatives from consultative bodies during the preparation of PSO for new tenders.

Other routes

1 Information on traffic programmes

a) For other domestic routes the carriers shall submit a traffic programme(s) for each summer/winter period 30 days prior to commencement. The same applies where a carrier intends to start up or close down a specific route in the programme period. Traffic programmes shall be submitted directly to the Civil Aviation Administration's main office and its affected regional units with a copy going to the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

b) Traffic programmes and adjustments to the same during the programme period shall be co-ordinated with the Civil Aviation Administration's affected regional units.

c) Carriers will receive confirmation from the Civil Aviation Administration's main office that documents in accordance with a) have been received. Unless the carriers are advised to the contrary, their traffic programmes may be put into operation without further formality.

2 Reporting of prices

a) The Competition Authority is responsible for enforcing Council Regulation (EEC) 2409/92 of 23 July 1992 on Fares and Rates for Air Services. Prices shall be reported in accordance with the Competition Authority's guidelines.

Copy: Competition Authority, Norway Post, Ministry of Defence

Yours faithfully

Torbjørn Lothe (p.p.)

Stig Lindahl