The Associated Press (AP) reports that Delta and JetBlue have asked for a temporary exemption from the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) forthcoming tarmac delays rules. The two carriers are concerned that service at New York’s JFK airport will suffer severe setbacks if the rule is enforced while the airport’s main runway is closed for repairs. JetBlue and Delta are the biggest operators at JFK, and could lose millions if the runway causes widespread delays.
In a letter to the DOT, JetBlue said, “Although JetBlue has already taken several steps to minimize the impact of this closure on its J.F.K. operations, this exemption is necessary to ensure that JetBlue is not penalized if J.F.K. becomes gridlocked at peak operating times.”
The fine is set to take effect April 29, and will charge airlines $27,500 per passenger that is delayed on the tarmac for more than three hours. For context, a full Boeing 737 would rack up $3.5 million in fines, according to the AP.
JFK is already one of the worst airports in the country when it comes to on-time performance. The runway repair is expected to add to the problem, and even caused two-hour inbound delays on the first day of construction.