The U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has fined American Eagle Airlines $200,000 for lengthy tarmac delays that took place at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on December 25, 2012. The airline was ordered to cease and desist from future violations of the tarmac delay rule.
"Airline passengers have rights, and the Department of Transportation has rules in place to protect them from being stuck on a tarmac waiting hours to get off their plane," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "We will continue to take enforcement action when airlines violate our tarmac delay rules."
An investigation by the Department's Aviation Enforcement Office revealed that on December 25 of last year, 10 American Eagle flights experienced tarmac delays that exceeded the three-hour limit at Dallas-Fort Worth during a snow and ice storm.
Under DOT rules, U.S. airlines operating aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats are prohibited from allowing their domestic flights to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours at most U.S. airports without giving passengers an opportunity to leave the plane.
Under an expansion of the tarmac delay rule that took effect August 23, 2011, international flights at covered U.S. airports are now prohibited from remaining on the tarmac for more than four hours without permitting passengers the opportunity to deplane.
This is the second fine against American Eagle for violating the tarmac delay rule. In 2011, the airline was fined $900,000 for lengthy tarmac delays that took place at Chicago O'Hare International Airport on May 29, 2011.