Industry warns of fallout from broadening tarmac-delay rules

11/1/2010 | USA Today

Global airlines are warning of major disruptions if the Transportation Department extends a rule on tarmac delays to include international flights. Currently, the three-hour cap applies only to domestic itineraries, with carriers facing huge fines for delays that extend beyond the limit. But experts say applying that rule to international flights could wreak havoc with schedules due to the reduced frequency of such flights, and many passengers would be delayed by at least 24 hours. The Air Transport Association says airlines will proactively cancel flights rather than risk big fines, and it notes that many of the wide-body aircraft used on overseas routes can "comfortably accommodate passengers onboard for longer periods of time with food service and entertainment options often available."

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