Airlines reported a total of seven tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and 11 tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights in October, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Air Travel Consumer Report.
All of the domestic tarmac delays longer than three hours and involved flights bound for either New York JFK or Newark airports, the DOT says. Nearly all of the tarmac delays took place at airports to which these flights were diverted. All of the reported tarmac delays are under investigation by the DOT.
The larger U.S. airlines have been required to report long tarmac delays on their domestic flights since October 2008, the DOT notes.
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, carriers operating international flights may not allow tarmac delays at U.S. airports to last longer than four hours. This is in addition to the three-hour limit on domestic tarmac delays, which went into effect in April 2010, the DOT said.
Exceptions to the time limits for both domestic and international flights are allowed only for safety, security or air traffic control-related reasons.
Information filed with DOT shows that the 16 carriers reporting on-time performance recorded an overall on-time arrival rate of 85.5 percent in October, up slightly from both the 83.8 percent on-time rate of October 2010 and September 2011’s 83.9 percent rate, DOT says. During October, the carriers canceled 0.77 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, down from both October 2010’s 0.97 percent cancellation rate and September 2011’s 0.82 percent.