Airlines Beg for Break on 3-Hour Tarmac Rule

American joins JetBlue, Delta in petitioning DOT
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 17, 2010 8:31 AM CDT
FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2009 file photo, American Airlines jets are seen at the Miami International Airport in Miami.   (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, file)
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(Newser) – Add American Airlines to the list of carriers that want out of the government's new rule that limits the time passengers can be held on the tarmac. American has joined JetBlue and Delta in filing for a temporary exemption with the Department of Transportation, saying delays caused by the closure of the main runway at New York's JFK airport could cost them millions in fines. Those three airlines are the largest operators at JFK.

The new rule, set to go into effect next month, could mean fines of up to $27,500 per passenger if a plane is stuck on the tarmac for more than three hours. For an average Boeing 737, that could mean a fine of nearly $4 million. American said the gridlock due to construction at JFK will lead airlines to "cancel flights rather than run the risk of incurring such crippling penalties."

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