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Title 49

Displaying title 49, up to date as of 9/23/2021. Title 49 was last amended 9/13/2021.

Title 49

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Subpart A - General
§ 23.1 What are the objectives of this part?

This part seeks to achieve several objectives:

(a) To ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of opportunities for concessions by airports receiving DOT financial assistance;

(b) To create a level playing field on which ACDBEs can compete fairly for opportunities for concessions;

(c) To ensure that the Department's ACDBE program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law;

(d) To ensure that only firms that fully meet this part's eligibility standards are permitted to participate as ACDBEs;

(e) To help remove barriers to the participation of ACDBEs in opportunities for concessions at airports receiving DOT financial assistance; and

(f) To provide appropriate flexibility to airports receiving DOT financial assistance in establishing and providing opportunities for ACDBEs.

§ 23.3 What do the terms used in this part mean?

Administrator means the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Affiliation has the same meaning the term has in the Small Business Administration (SBA) regulations, 13 CFR part 121, except that the provisions of SBA regulations concerning affiliation in the context of joint ventures (13 CFR § 121.103(f)) do not apply to this part.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in 13 CFR part 121, concerns are affiliates of each other when, either directly or indirectly:

(i) One concern controls or has the power to control the other; or

(ii) A third party or parties controls or has the power to control both; or

(iii) An identity of interest between or among parties exists such that affiliation may be found.

(2) In determining whether affiliation exists, it is necessary to consider all appropriate factors, including common ownership, common management, and contractual relationships. Affiliates must be considered together in determining whether a concern meets small business size criteria and the statutory cap on the participation of firms in the ACDBE program.

Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) means a concession that is a for-profit small business concern -

(1) That is at least 51 percent owned by one or more individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged or, in the case of a corporation, in which 51 percent of the stock is owned by one or more such individuals; and

(2) Whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own it.

Alaska Native Corporation (ANC) means any Regional Corporation, Village Corporation, Urban Corporation, or Group Corporation organized under the laws of the State of Alaska in accordance with the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.)

Car dealership means an establishment primarily engaged in the retail sale of new and/or used automobiles. Car dealerships frequently maintain repair departments and carry stocks of replacement parts, tires, batteries, and automotive accessories. Such establishments also frequently sell pickup trucks and vans at retail. In the standard industrial classification system, car dealerships are categorized in NAICS code 441110.

Concession means one or more of the types of for-profit businesses listed in paragraph (1) or (2) of this definition:

(1) A business, located on an airport subject to this part, that is engaged in the sale of consumer goods or services to the public under an agreement with the recipient, another concessionaire, or the owner or lessee of a terminal, if other than the recipient.

(2) A business conducting one or more of the following covered activities, even if it does not maintain an office, store, or other business location on an airport subject to this part, as long as the activities take place on the airport: Management contracts and subcontracts, a web-based or other electronic business in a terminal or which passengers can access at the terminal, an advertising business that provides advertising displays or messages to the public on the airport, or a business that provides goods and services to concessionaires.

Example to paragraph (2):

A supplier of goods or a management contractor maintains its office or primary place of business off the airport. However the supplier provides goods to a retail establishment in the airport; or the management contractor operates the parking facility on the airport. These businesses are considered concessions for purposes of this part.

(3) For purposes of this subpart, a business is not considered to be “located on the airport” solely because it picks up and/or delivers customers under a permit, license, or other agreement. For example, providers of taxi, limousine, car rental, or hotel services are not considered to be located on the airport just because they send shuttles onto airport grounds to pick up passengers or drop them off. A business is considered to be “located on the airport,” however, if it has an on-airport facility. Such facilities include in the case of a taxi operator, a dispatcher; in the case of a limousine, a booth selling tickets to the public; in the case of a car rental company, a counter at which its services are sold to the public or a ready return facility; and in the case of a hotel operator, a hotel located anywhere on airport property.

(4) Any business meeting the definition of concession is covered by this subpart, regardless of the name given to the agreement with the recipient, concessionaire, or airport terminal owner or lessee. A concession may be operated under various types of agreements, including but not limited to the following:

(i) Leases.

(ii) Subleases.

(iii) Permits.

(iv) Contracts or subcontracts.

(v) Other instruments or arrangements.

(5) The conduct of an aeronautical activity is not considered a concession for purposes of this subpart. Aeronautical activities include scheduled and non-scheduled air carriers, air taxis, air charters, and air couriers, in their normal passenger or freight carrying capacities; fixed base operators; flight schools; recreational service providers (e.g., sky-diving, parachute-jumping, flying guides); and air tour services.

(6) Other examples of entities that do not meet the definition of a concession include flight kitchens and in-flight caterers servicing air carriers, government agencies, industrial plants, farm leases, individuals leasing hangar space, custodial and security contracts, telephone and electric service to the airport facility, holding companies, and skycap services under contract with an air carrier or airport.

Concessionaire means a firm that owns and controls a concession or a portion of a concession.

Department (DOT) means the U.S. Department of Transportation, including the Office of the Secretary and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Direct ownership arrangement means a joint venture, partnership, sublease, licensee, franchise, or other arrangement in which a firm owns and controls a concession.

Good faith efforts means efforts to achieve an ACDBE goal or other requirement of this part that, by their scope, intensity, and appropriateness to the objective, can reasonably be expected to meet the program requirement.

Immediate family member means father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, grandson, granddaughter, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, or registered domestic partner.

Indian tribe means any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community of Indians, including any ANC, which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians, or is recognized as such by the State in which the tribe, band, nation, group, or community resides. See definition of “tribally-owned concern” in this section.

Joint venture means an association of an ACDBE firm and one or more other firms to carry out a single, for-profit business enterprise, for which the parties combine their property, capital, efforts, skills and knowledge, and in which the ACDBE is responsible for a distinct, clearly defined portion of the work of the contract and whose shares in the capital contribution, control, management, risks, and profits of the joint venture are commensurate with its ownership interest. Joint venture entities are not certified as ACDBEs.

Large hub primary airport means a commercial service airport that has a number of passenger boardings equal to at least one percent of all passenger boardings in the United States.

Management contract or subcontract means an agreement with a recipient or another management contractor under which a firm directs or operates one or more business activities, the assets of which are owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by the recipient. The managing agent generally receives, as compensation, a flat fee or a percentage of the gross receipts or profit from the business activity. For purposes of this subpart, the business activity operated or directed by the managing agent must be other than an aeronautical activity, be located at an airport subject to this subpart, and be engaged in the sale of consumer goods or provision of services to the public.

Material amendment means a significant change to the basic rights or obligations of the parties to a concession agreement. Examples of material amendments include an extension to the term not provided for in the original agreement or a substantial increase in the scope of the concession privilege. Examples of nonmaterial amendments include a change in the name of the concessionaire or a change to the payment due dates.

Medium hub primary airport means a commercial service airport that has a number of passenger boardings equal to at least 0.25 percent of all passenger boardings in the United States but less than one percent of such passenger boardings.

Native Hawaiian means any individual whose ancestors were natives, prior to 1778, of the area that now comprises the State of Hawaii.

Native Hawaiian Organization means any community service organization serving Native Hawaiians in the State of Hawaii that is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the State of Hawaii, and is controlled by Native Hawaiians

Noncompliance means that a recipient has not correctly implemented the requirements of this part.

Nonhub primary airport means a commercial service airport that has more than 10,000 passenger boardings each year but less than 0.05 percent of all passenger boardings in the United States.

Part 26 means 49 CFR part 26, the Department of Transportation's disadvantaged business enterprise regulation for DOT-assisted contracts.

Personal net worth means the net value of the assets of an individual remaining after total liabilities are deducted. An individual's personal net worth (PNW) does not include the following:

(1) The individual's ownership interest in an ACDBE firm or a firm that is applying for ACDBE certification;

(2) The individual's equity in his or her primary place of residence; and

(3) Other assets that the individual can document are necessary to obtain financing or a franchise agreement for the initiation or expansion of his or her ACDBE firm (or have in fact been encumbered to support existing financing for the individual's ACDBE business) to a maximum of $3 million. The effectiveness of this paragraph (3) of this definition is suspended with respect to any application for ACDBE certification made or any financing or franchise agreement obtained after June 20, 2012.

Primary airport means a commercial service airport that the Secretary determines to have more than 10,000 passengers enplaned annually.

Primary industry classification means the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) code designation that best describes the primary business of a firm. The NAICS Manual is available through the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce (Springfield, VA, 22261). NTIS also makes materials available through its Web site (

Primary recipient means a recipient to which DOT financial assistance is extended through the programs of the FAA and which passes some or all of it on to another recipient.

Principal place of business means the business location where the individuals who manage the firm's day-to-day operations spend most working hours and where top management's business records are kept. If the offices from which management is directed and where business records are kept are in different locations, the recipient will determine the principal place of business for ACDBE program purposes.

Race-conscious means a measure or program that is focused specifically on assisting only ACDBEs, including women-owned ACDBEs. For the purposes of this part, race-conscious measures include gender-conscious measures.

Race-neutral means a measure or program that is, or can be, used to assist all small businesses, without making distinctions or classifications on the basis of race or gender.

Secretary means the Secretary of Transportation or his/her designee.

Set-aside means a contracting practice restricting eligibility for the competitive award of a contract solely to ACDBE firms.

Small Business Administration or SBA means the United States Small Business Administration.

Small business concern means a for profit business that does not exceed the size standards of § 23.33 of this part.

Small hub airport means a publicly owned commercial service airport that has a number of passenger boardings equal to at least 0.05 percent of all passenger boardings in the United States but less than 0.25 percent of such passenger boardings.

Socially and economically disadvantaged individual means any individual who is a citizen (or lawfully admitted permanent resident) of the United States and who is -

(1) Any individual determined by a recipient to be a socially and economically disadvantaged individual on a case-by-case basis.

(2) Any individual in the following groups, members of which are rebuttably presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged:

(i) “Black Americans,” which includes persons having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa;

(ii) “Hispanic Americans,” which includes persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central or South American, or other Spanish or Portuguese culture or origin, regardless of race;

(iii) “Native Americans,” which includes persons who are American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, or Native Hawaiians;

(iv) “Asian-Pacific Americans,” which includes persons whose origins are from Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Burma (Myanmar), Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia (Kampuchea), Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands (Republic of Palau), the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Macao, Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Juvalu, Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia, or Hong Kong;

(v) “Subcontinent Asian Americans,” which includes persons whose origins are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands, Nepal or Sri Lanka;

(vi) Women;

(vii) Any additional groups whose members are designated as socially and economically disadvantaged by the SBA, at such time as the SBA designation becomes effective.

Recipient means any entity, public or private, to which DOT financial assistance is extended, whether directly or through another recipient, through the programs of the FAA.

Tribally-owned concern means any concern at least 51 percent owned by an Indian tribe as defined in this section.

You refers to a recipient, unless a statement in the text of this part or the context requires otherwise (i.e., “You must do XYZ” means that recipients must do XYZ).

[70 FR 14508, Mar. 22, 2005, as amended at 72 FR 15616, Apr. 2, 2007; 77 FR 36931, June 20, 2012]

§ 23.5 To whom does this part apply?

If you are a recipient that has received a grant for airport development at any time after January 1988 that was authorized under Title 49 of the United States Code, this part applies to you.

§ 23.7 Program reviews.

In 2010, and thereafter at the discretion of the Secretary, the Department will initiate a review of the ACDBE program to determine what, if any, modifications should be made to this part.

[75 FR 16358, Apr. 1, 2010]

§ 23.9 What are the nondiscrimination and assurance requirements of this part for recipients?

(a) As a recipient, you must meet the non-discrimination requirements provided in part 26, § 26.7 with respect to the award and performance of any concession agreement, management contract or subcontract, purchase or lease agreement, or other agreement covered by this subpart.

(b) You must also take all necessary and reasonable steps to ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of contracts and agreements covered by this part.

(c) You must include the following assurances in all concession agreements and management contracts you execute with any firm after April 21, 2005:

(1) “This agreement is subject to the requirements of the U.S. Department of Transportation's regulations, 49 CFR part 23. The concessionaire or contractor agrees that it will not discriminate against any business owner because of the owner's race, color, national origin, or sex in connection with the award or performance of any concession agreement, management contract, or subcontract, purchase or lease agreement, or other agreement covered by 49 CFR part 23.

(2) “The concessionaire or contractor agrees to include the above statements in any subsequent concession agreement or contract covered by 49 CFR part 23, that it enters and cause those businesses to similarly include the statements in further agreements.”

§ 23.11 What compliance and enforcement provisions are used under this part?

The compliance and enforcement provisions of part 26 (§§ 26.101 and 26.105 through 26.109) apply to this part in the same way that they apply to FAA recipients and programs under part 26.

[70 FR 14508, Mar. 22, 2005, as amended at 72 FR 15616, Apr. 2, 2007]

§ 23.13 How does the Department issue guidance, interpretations, exemptions, and waivers pertaining to this part?

(a) Only guidance and interpretations (including interpretations set forth in certification appeal decisions) consistent with this part 23 and issued after April 21, 2005, express the official positions and views of the Department of Transportation or the Federal Aviation Administration.

(b) The Secretary of Transportation, Office of the Secretary of Transportation, and the FAA may issue written interpretations of or written guidance concerning this part. Written interpretations and guidance are valid, and express the official positions and views of the Department of Transportation or the FAA, only if they are issued over the signature of the Secretary of Transportation or if they contain the following statement:

The General Counsel of the Department of Transportation has reviewed this document and approved it as consistent with the language and intent of 49 CFR part 23.

(c) You may apply for an exemption from any provision of this part. To apply, you must request the exemption in writing from the Office of the Secretary of Transportation or the FAA. The Secretary will grant the request only if it documents special or exceptional circumstances, not likely to be generally applicable, and not contemplated in connection with the rulemaking that established this part, that make your compliance with a specific provision of this part impractical. You must agree to take any steps that the Department specifies to comply with the intent of the provision from which an exemption is granted. The Secretary will issue a written response to all exemption requests.

(d) You can apply for a waiver of any provision of subpart B or D of this part including, but not limited to, any provisions regarding administrative requirements, overall goals, contract goals or good faith efforts. Program waivers are for the purpose of authorizing you to operate an ACDBE program that achieves the objectives of this part by means that may differ from one or more of the requirements of subpart B or D of this part. To receive a program waiver, you must follow these procedures:

(1) You must apply through the FAA. The application must include a specific program proposal and address how you will meet the criteria of paragraph (d)(2) of this section. Before submitting your application, you must have had public participation in developing your proposal, including consultation with the ACDBE community and at least one public hearing. Your application must include a summary of the public participation process and the information gathered through it.

(2) Your application must show that -

(i) There is a reasonable basis to conclude that you could achieve a level of ACDBE participation consistent with the objectives of this part using different or innovative means other than those that are provided in subpart B or D of this part;

(ii) Conditions at your airport are appropriate for implementing the proposal;

(iii) Your proposal would prevent discrimination against any individual or group in access to concession opportunities or other benefits of the program; and

(iv) Your proposal is consistent with applicable law and FAA program requirements.

(3) The FAA Administrator has the authority to approve your application. If the Administrator grants your application, you may administer your ACDBE program as provided in your proposal, subject to the following conditions:

(i) ACDBE eligibility is determined as provided in subpart C of this part, and ACDBE participation is counted as provided in §§ 23.53 through 23.55.

(ii) Your level of ACDBE participation continues to be consistent with the objectives of this part;

(iii) There is a reasonable limitation on the duration of the your modified program; and

(iv) Any other conditions the Administrator makes on the grant of the waiver.

(4) The Administrator may end a program waiver at any time and require you to comply with this part's provisions. The Administrator may also extend the waiver, if he or she determines that all requirements of this section continue to be met. Any such extension shall be for no longer than period originally set for the duration of the program waiver.

[70 FR 14508, Mar. 22, 2005, as amended at 72 FR 15616, Apr. 2, 2007]