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No Tarmac Delays Longer Than Three Hours In Four Of The Last Six Months

Number Of Cancelled Flights Also Down

March was the fourth month out of the last six that the nation's airlines reported no tarmac delays of more than three hours, according to the Air Travel Consumer Report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). A year ago, in March 2010, the carriers reported 25 tarmac delays longer than three hours. Carriers also reported a decrease in the rate of canceled flights in March compared to a year earlier.

Data filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), a part of DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration, showed there have been only 16 total tarmac delays of more than three hours reported from May 2010 through March 2011 by the airlines that file on-time performance data with DOT, compared to 689 reported from May 2009 through March 2010. In March, the carriers also reported that .0300 percent of their scheduled flights had tarmac delays of two hours or more, down from the .0400 percent reported in February 2011.

March was the 11th full month of data since the new aviation consumer rule went into effect on April 29, 2010. The new rule prohibits U.S. airlines operating domestic flights from permitting an aircraft to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours without permitting passengers to deplane, with exceptions allowed only for safety or security or if air traffic control advises the pilot in command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations. The Department will investigate tarmac delays that exceed this limit.

The monthly report also includes data on on-time performance, chronically delayed flights, flight cancellations, bumping, 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 DOT's 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.

FMI: www.bts.gov

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