USA Today reports that American has been fined $1.6 million for tarmac delays that occurred during 2013-2015.
Specifically, “the incidents included 20 flights at Charlotte on Feb. 16, 2013; six flights at Dallas/Fort Worth on Feb. 27, 2015; and one flight at Shreveport, La., on Oct. 22, 2015.” In all cases, planes were stuck on the tarmac for more than three hours without allowing passengers to disembark.
“The Charlotte delays during a snowstorm involved flights of American, predecessor US Airways and regional affiliates PSA Airlines, Piedmont Airlines, Air Wisconsin Airlines, Mesa Air, and Chautauqua Airlines. The flights involved a total of 860 passengers.”
The Department of Transportation says the airlines failed to anticipate the conditions and did not adequately prepare to contain the tarmac delays despite warnings from the National Weather Service.
According to the DOT, this is the largest fine ever assessed against an airline for violating the agency’s tarmac delay rule, matching a $1.6 million fine assessed against Southwest Airlines in 2015.
For its part, American accepted the fines and responsibility for the tarmac delays.
“Our tarmac rule is meant to prevent passengers from being trapped in aircraft on the ground for hours on end,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “We will continue to take enforcement action as necessary to ensure passengers are not kept delayed on the tarmac for lengthy periods of time.”