Virgin's tarmac delay renews debate over extent of regulation

A Virgin Atlantic flight from London to Newark was diverted to Connecticut's Bradley International Airport on Tuesday due to bad weather, leading to a four-hour delay on the tarmac. The situation immediately renewed calls for international carriers to be subject to the same tarmac-delay rules that govern domestic airlines, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said federal officials would investigate the incident. But industry insiders said the Virgin Atlantic case was complicated by limited Customs and Immigration facilities at the airport, which typically handles only Canadian flights. "Everyone has to clear customs," said Ken Cast, an airport operations specialist. "The rules still need to be followed."

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