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DOT Fines Volaris for Violating Tarmac Delay Rule

Friday, July 10, 2020

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today fined Concesionaria Vuela Compañía de Aviación (Volaris) $70,000 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 found that on September 13, 2017, Volaris Flight 881, carrying 92 passengers from JFK to Mexico City International Airport, experienced a tarmac delay of four hours and 21 minutes prior to departure from JFK, during which passengers were not provided an opportunity to deplane.  In addition, Volaris did not provide food to passengers during the entirety of the tarmac delay.  

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.  

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