The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that its consumer protection rule prohibiting tarmac delays over three hours has both virtually eliminated tarmac delays of more than three hours and significantly reduced tarmac delays that are between one and three hours long.
In a statement. DOT said there was relatively little impact on flight cancellations. The rule prohibits U.S. airlines operating aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats from allowing their domestic flights to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours at U.S. airports without giving passengers an opportunity to leave the plane.
A contractor report studied how the DOT's rule has affected airline travel by developing two methods of analyzing the relationship between the number of taxi out delays greater than two hours and cancellations. The study analyzed data from the 2010, 2011, and 2012 summer seasons, each including the months of May through September in order to be comparable with previous studies of the rule’s effects by the GAO and non-government analysts.
The DOT said the report found that the rule had minimal impact on flight cancellations in 2010 and 2012, and a modest impact on flight cancellations in 2011, a year in which weather played a large role in flight cancellations.