DOT Maintains August Deadline for Extending Tarmac Delay Rule Requirements to Small and Non-hub Airports

DOT Maintains August Deadline for Extending Tarmac Delay Rule Requirements

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) announced today that it will maintain the August 23, 2011 deadline to expand current tarmac delays regulations to cover small and non-hub airports and to require domestic and international airlines to coordinate their plans with each U.S. large hub, medium hub, small hub and non-hub U.S. airport served, as well as with TSA and CBP.   The new regulations were finalized in the April 25, 2011 final rule on “Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections” which provides additional consumer protections regarding extended tarmac delays, as well as requires the disclosure of fees in advertised airline fares.  In response to issues raised by some affected parties, primarily the airlines, DOT examined whether the implementation date for some portions of the new regulation should be extended.

In comments filed with DOT on July 14, 2011, ACI-NA expressed support and appreciation for DOT’s recognition of the need to expand the regulations to cover small and non-hub airports and requirement that both domestic and international airlines coordinate their plans with each large, medium, small and non-hub U.S. airport they serve.  ACI-NA’s comments also strongly urged the DOT to retain the original August 23, 2011 implementation date to ensure that all passengers, not just those traveling through the nation’s largest airports, have enhanced protections against extended tarmac delays.  

As the August 23 deadline quickly approaches, it is important to note that if your airport has not been contacted by your airline currently serving your respective airport or if you are a diversion airport and your airport has followed-up with the airline and not received a response, you may want to contact DOT officials for assistance.  While airports are not required to ensure airlines have coordinated their tarmac delay plans, this issue was discussed at today’s “Aviation Consumer Protection Rule Forum” which ACI-NA staff attended.  DOT’s Livaughn Chapman offered to provide assistance if airports were concerned about a lack of coordination and preparation by airlines for the August 23 implementation date.

While DOT announced it will maintain the August deadline for extending its tarmac delay rule requirements, the Department also announced it is issuing a limited extension of the August 23, 2011 effective date for requirements pertaining to baggage fees, the posting of purchase price increases, flight status changes and holding a reservation without payment for twenty-four hours from August 23, 2011 to January 24, 2012.  The Department also said it will extend the October 24, 2011 effective date for requirements pertaining to full fare advertising to January 24, 2011.