Skift Take

After today, the first day where the delays were felt deeply across key domestic hubs, DoT may have to suspend these rules temporarily, but here's hoping it does it with some riders to protect consumer rights.

U.S. Department of Transportation is considering lifting a rule that says airplanes can’t remain on the tarmac for more than three hours for domestic flights before allowing passengers to deplane.

The tarmac delay rule was put into place in 2009 after a series of incidents in which passengers were stranded on airplanes for lengthy periods of time….Two airline industry associations — Airlines for America (A4A) and the Regional Airline Association (RAA) — filed a motion with DoT requesting a moratorium on the rule for at least 90 days or until the FAA furloughs end. They cite the “substantial delay and disruption to air travel that will occur at U.S. airports from the FAA decision to implement daily ground delays…”

The DoT statement asking for public comment till Apr 6th:

The U.S. Department of Transportation is currently reviewing a motion filed by two airline industry associations, Airlines for America (A4A) and the Regional Airline Association (RAA), requesting a moratorium of the tarmac delay rule in light of sequestration-related furloughs by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The request was received on Friday, April 19.

The Department will consider the views of all interested parties.  Any party that would like its views on the issue considered may submit correspondence regarding the request to the docket.  Correspondence should be submitted by April 26, at 5:00 p.m. The request is available, docket DOT-OST-2013-0084.

From the document submitted to DoT:

To be clear, A4A and RAA are not proposing that DOT suspend the effectiveness of the tarmac regulations in general. On the contrary, our requested exemption is narrowly tailored and would only apply for a temporary period at all U.S. airports. The exemption request includes only the rules prohibiting air carriers from allowing aircraft to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours in the case of domestic flights, and for more than four hours in the case of international flights, before allowing passengers to deplane, and is intended to provide airlines with the operating flexibility to respond to the expected flight delays resulting from the FAA’s delay plans.

The request from airline associations, embedded below:

Download (PDF, 120KB)


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Tags: faa, flight delays, regulations, sequester

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