In 1996, the United States Congress enacted the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act (Title 49 U.S.C. sections 1136 and 41113), which charged the NTSB, an NTSB-designated non-profit disaster relief organization, and the domestic air carrier involved in the accident with assisting survivors and families of those involved. In 1997, the U.S. Congress enacted the Foreign Air Carrier Family Support Act (Title 49 U.S.C. section 41313) to require foreign air carriers operating flights to and from the United States and territories to provide similar assistance and resources.
This legislation applies to aviation accidents involving the following:
- A foreign air carrier with economic authority issued by the DOT
- Results in any loss of life
- NTSB serves as the lead investigative agency
Information for Affected Air Carriers
The following documents are intended for domestic air carriers holding a CPCN and foreign air carriers with economic authority issued by the DOT to assist them with family assistance operations and planning efforts:
Passenger List & Manifest Distribution Guidance
The NTSB Guidance for Passenger List/Manifest Distribution & Control provides air carriers and the response community guidance regarding the distribution and control of passenger lists or manifests following an aviation accident. For questions related to passenger list or manifest distribution or guidance, please contact us at
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NTSB Federal Family Assistance Plan for Aviation Disasters
The NTSB relies on support from federal agencies to meet its family assistance obligations. The NTSB Federal Family Assistance Plan for Aviation Disasters identifies specific support tasks assigned to several federal agencies, the American Red Cross and the air carriers.
Visit the NTSB’s Family Assistance
Resources Library to learn more about participating organizations and related family assistance guidance.
For questions related to the Federal Family Assistance Legislation and the NTSB Federal Family Assistance Plan for Aviation Disasters, please contact us at
Visit our TDA
Operations Planning, Preparedness, and Training page to learn more.
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