DOT Fines Aerolíneas Argentinas for Violating Tarmac Delay Rule
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today fined Aerolíneas Argentinas $300,000 for violating a federal statute and the Department’s rule prohibiting long tarmac delays. The airline was also ordered to cease and desist from future similar violations.
An investigation by the Department’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection (OACP) found that Aerolíneas Argentinas allowed two flights from Buenos Aires to New York – one on February 9, 2017 and another on January 4, 2018 – to remain on the tarmac for a lengthy period of time without providing passengers an opportunity to deplane. The 2017 tarmac delay lasted 4 hours and 46 minutes, and the 2018 tarmac delay lasted 4 hours and 35 minutes and resulted in passengers vigorously requesting to deplane.
Under the DOT tarmac delay rule, foreign airlines operating aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats are prohibited from allowing their international flights to remain on the tarmac at U.S. airports for more than four hours without giving passengers an opportunity to leave the plane. An exception to the time limit is allowed only for safety, security, or air traffic control-related reasons. The rule also requires airlines to provide adequate food and water, ensure that lavatories are working and, if necessary, provide medical attention to passengers during long tarmac delays.
DOT’s aviation consumer protection website makes it easy for travelers to understand their rights. The page on tarmac delays can be found here. Consumers may file an airline complaint with the Department here.
The consent order is available at www.regulations.gov, docket number DOT-OST-2020-0001.