U.S. Fines American Airways $4.1 Million for Prolonged Tarmac Delays

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The Transportation Division fined American Airways $4.1 million on Monday, saying the provider violated federal guidelines by holding passengers stranded on airport tarmacs for hours on dozens of events lately.

The company mentioned the high quality was the most important penalty it had ever doled out for tarmac delays. The violations stem from 43 home flights between 2018 and 2021 by which passengers had been caught on the tarmac for greater than three hours with out being given an opportunity to deplane, in response to the division.

A majority of the delays occurred at Dallas Fort Value Worldwide Airport, the most important hub for American Airways. Others befell at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, San Antonio Worldwide Airport and Ronald Reagan Nationwide Airport close to Washington. Probably the most in depth delay was in San Antonio, when a flight carrying 105 passengers sat on the tarmac for six hours in August 2020.

“That is the newest motion in our continued drive to implement the rights of airline passengers,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg mentioned in a press release. “Whether or not the problem is excessive tarmac delays or issues getting refunds, D.O.T. will proceed to guard customers and maintain airways accountable.”

Sarah Jantz, a spokeswoman for American Airways, mentioned the provider had made substantial efforts to scale back tarmac delays, equivalent to deploying a device that adjusts the timing of flights in response to unhealthy climate.

“Whereas these delays had been the results of distinctive climate occasions, the flights characterize a really small variety of the 7.7 million flights throughout this time interval,” Ms. Jantz mentioned in a press release. “Now we have since apologized to the impacted clients and remorse any inconvenience induced.”

American Airways should pay solely half of the $4.1 million high quality to the federal authorities. For the opposite half, the federal government is giving the airline credit score for compensation supplied to passengers for delays.

The federal prohibition on prolonged tarmac delays dates to the Obama administration. For home flights, airways usually are not allowed to maintain passengers sitting on the tarmac for greater than three hours with out giving them an opportunity to deplane. For worldwide flights, the restrict is 4 hours.

Throughout Mr. Buttigieg’s tenure, the Transportation Division has tried to emphasise its need to enhance the flying expertise for vacationers and maintain airways accountable for his or her efficiency.

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