3-2 Air Carrier Responsibilities

3-2.1 Transportation of Mail

An intra-Alaska air carrier transporting mail for the Postal Service must do the following:

  1. Adhere to its scheduled service as submitted to the Official Airline Guide (OAG) (see 3-2.3). “Scheduled service” requires an air carrier to do the following:
    1. Operate flights in common carriage available to the general public under a published schedule.
    2. Announce flight schedules in advance in systems specified by the Postal Service, in addition to the OAG or the air cargo equivalent of that Guide.
    3. Make departures whether full or not.
    4. Contract with customers for carriage separately on a regular basis.

    The Postal Service requires that carriers adhere to published flight schedules when mail has been tendered within the defined tender time limitations before the flight departure on the day of the flight.

  2. Transfer mail efficiently and expeditiously according to instructions on appropriate postal dispatch documents and related coding on pouch labels or container placards (Label AK-53, Intra-Alaska Routing Label, or facsimile) (see 5-3).
  3. Deliver mail transported to a bush destination to the Post Office or addressee on the day of transport. If the delivery cannot be affected, the air carrier must return the mail to the hub point so it can be stored in an approved secured facility for delivery the next business day.
  4. Ensure that all personnel engaged in the processing and handling of mail protect it from damage, destruction, loss, and theft, as follows:
    1. Avoid leaving mail unattended, except in secure areas approved by the Postal Service. Air carriers may be liable for lost or damaged mail, as outlined in chapter 9.
    2. Transport mail on the ground in a fully enclosed cart or container. Air carriers must cover pallet loads with plastic or protective waterproof sheets.
    3. Fully protect mail from the elements at the warehouse staging area and the plane-side staging area, and on all types of surface transportation.
  5. Notify the local Postal Service official of any known or suspected loss, theft, destruction, or mistreatment of mail.
  6. Advise all employees engaged in transporting mail that they must fully cooperate with and assist Postal Inspectors and other Postal Service officials in their duties.
  7. Permit only authorized personnel access to mail handling areas. Air carrier personnel authorized or assigned to handle mail must display their badge at all times when they are discharging the duty of mail carriage.
  8. Refuse access to, or refuse to furnish information about, mail in their custody to any person, other than the United States Postal Inspection Service®. If the request is made under subpoena, the individual named in the subpoena must first seek and receive advice from the Postal Service field legal counsel through the manager of the nearest Postal Service facility.
  9. Provide sufficient mail handling personnel and resources to handle and transfer mail within the time limits prescribed by the Postal Service, and ensure that employees receive proper training relative to mail handling procedures and security requirements. Air carriers are responsible for agents or contractors acting in their behalf.
  10. Immediately notify the Postal Service of any incident causing damage, delay, or loss of mail resulting from aircraft accidents, bomb threats, fire, hijacking, work stoppages, or other similar incidents.
  11. Immediately suspend or remove from all mail handling duties any employee who has been charged with theft, embezzlement, or mistreatment of mail, provided that the employee was brought before an appropriate judicial officer who found probable cause to detain the employee (whether the employee was subsequently released on bail or on his/her own recognizance) in accordance with the laws of the cognizant jurisdiction. Also, the air carrier must immediately suspend or remove from all mail handling duties any employee who within the previous 5 years has been convicted of any of the offenses enumerated above.
  12. Respond to all correspondence from Postal Service officials within 5 working days from the day of receipt.
  13. Submit all forms, reports, or mail-related information as required by the Postal Service and the Department of Transportation (DOT). The information required includes, but is not limited to; manifest information such as filed schedules, added schedules, schedule performance, pounds of priority and non-priority rate service mail, and aircraft tail number for each trip flown. Air carriers that submit late, inaccurate, or no data will lose tender of mail until the data requirements have been met. If an air carrier attempting to qualify for tender of non-priority bypass mail significantly misstates passenger or non-mail freight data required to be reported under this section on any route, the sanctions authorized by 39 U.S.C. § 5402(o) also apply.