Tarmac Delays, 7 Domestic 11 International Flights
By Shane Nolan
December 13, 2011 - 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 Transportationís Air Travel Consumer
The larger U.S. airlines have been required to report
long tarmac delays on their 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, 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.
to the time limits for both domestic and international flights
are allowed only for safety, security or air traffic
control-related reasons. All of the domestic tarmac delays
longer than three hours and international tarmac delays longer
than four hours took place October 29 and involved flights bound
for either New York JFK or Newark airports. 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 Department.
monthly report also includes data on on-time performance,
chronically delayed flights, flight cancellations, and the
causes of flight delays filed with the Department by the
reporting carriers. In
addition, the report contains information on reports of
mishandled baggage filed by consumers with the carriers and
consumer service, disability and discrimination complaints
received by DOTís Aviation Consumer Protection Division. This
report also includes reports of incidents involving pets
traveling by air, as required to be filed by U.S. carriers.
Performance - Information filed with BTS 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 2011ís 83.9 percent rate.
Cancellations - During October, the carriers canceled 0.77 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, down from October 2010ís 0.97 percent cancellation rate, but equal to September 2011ís 0.82 percent.
Delayed Flights - At the end of October, there was one flight that was
chronically delayed Ė more than 30 minutes late more than 50 percent of
the time for three consecutive months.
There was an additional flight that was chronically delayed
flights for two consecutive months.
No flights were chronically delayed for four consecutive months.
Causes of Flight
Delays - In October, the carriers filing on-time performance data
reported that 4.60 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation
system delays, compared to 5.16 percent in September; 4.60 percent by
late-arriving aircraft, compared to 5.24 percent in September; 4.03
percent by factors within the airlineís control, such as maintenance or
crew problems, compared to 4.29 percent in September; 0.26 percent by
extreme weather, compared to 0.37 percent in September; and 0.03 percent
for security reasons, equal to 0.03 percent in September.
Weather is a
factor in both the extreme-weather category and the aviation-system
category. This includes delays due to the re-routing of flights by DOTís
Federal Aviation Administration in consultation with the carriers
involved. Weather is also a factor in delays attributed to late-arriving
aircraft, although airlines do not report specific causes in that
Data collected by
BTS also shows the percentage of late flights delayed by weather,
including those reported in either the category of extreme weather or
included in National Aviation System delays. In October, 31.96 percent
of late flights were delayed by weather, down 3.33 percent from October
2010, when 33.06 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, and
down 11.59 percent from September when 36.15 percent of late flights
were delayed by weather.
- The U.S. carriers reporting flight delays and mishandled baggage data
posted a mishandled baggage rate of 2.71 reports per 1,000 passengers in
October, down from both October 2010ís rate of 2.88 and September 2011ís
rate of 2.81.
Involving Pets - In October, carriers reported three incidents involving
the loss, death or injury of pets while traveling by air, down from the
seven reports filed in October 2010, but equal to September 2011ís total
of three. Octoberís incidents
involved three pet deaths.
Airline Service - In October, the Department received 862 complaints
about airline service from consumers, up 15.1 percent from the 749
complaints received in October 2010, but down 11.5 percent from the
total of 974 filed in September 2011.
Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers - The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in October against airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities. The Department received a total of 60 disability-related complaints in October 2011, up from both the 49 disability complaints received in October 2010 and the total of 56 filed in September 2011.
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