Airlines Report 18 Tarmac Delays Longer than Three Hours On Domestic Flights, One Longer Than Four Hours on International Flights in July

Airlines reported 18 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and one tarmac delay of more than four hours on international flights in July, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report released today.

Sixteen of the long domestic tarmac delays took place on July 13 and involved flights bound for or departing from Chicago O’Hare Airport, where severe storms affected the area that day. All of the reported tarmac delays are under investigation by the Department.

The larger U.S. airlines have been required to file complete reports on their long tarmac delays for domestic flights since October 2008. Under a new rule that took effect Aug. 23, 2011, all U.S. and foreign airlines operating at least one aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats must report lengthy tarmac delays at U.S. airports.

Also beginning Aug. 23, 2011, carriers operating international flights may not allow tarmac delays at U.S. airports to last longer than four hours. There is a separate three-hour limit on tarmac delays involving domestic flights, which went into effect in April 2010. Exceptions to the time limits for both domestic and international flights are allowed only for safety, security, or air traffic control-related reasons. Severe weather could cause or exacerbate such situations.

The report also includes data on on-time performance, cancellations, chronically delayed flights, and the causes of flight delays filed with the Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by the reporting carriers. In addition, the report contains information on mishandled baggage filed by consumers with the carriers and consumer service, disability, and discrimination complaints received by DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division. This report also includes reports of incidents involving the loss, death, or injury of pets traveling by air, as required to be filed by U.S. carriers.

A news release on the report is available at http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2012/dot10512.html. The full report is available at http://airconsumer.dot.gov/reports/index.htm. Detailed information on flight delays is available at http://www.bts.gov.

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