American Eagle fined for tarmac delays

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Washington DC
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The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has fined American Eagle Airlines $200,000 for tarmac delays on 25 December 2012 at Dallas-Fort Worth International airport.

Two flights operated by the carrier that day violated DOT rules that prohibit flights with 30 or more passenger seats to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours without giving passengers an opportunity to deplane.

The delays took place during a snow and ice storm, says the DOT.

Among the flights was one that landed at 15:29 from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with 37 passengers on board. The aircraft was not dispatched to an area where passengers could deplane until 18:00 and finally parked at 19:00. Passengers were not able to leave the aircraft until 20:01, says the DOT.

Under DOT rules, US airlines operating aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats cannot remain on the tarmac for more than three hours without giving passengers an opportunity to deplane.

The agency says this is the second fine against American Eagle for violating the tarmac delay rule. The carrier was fined $900,000 in 2011 for tarmac delays at Chicago O'Hare on 29 May 2011.

In response to the DOT fine, American says: "We have reached a settlement with the Department of Transportation regarding two American Eagle flights during our operational challenges this past December. We apologise to our customers whose travel plans were disrupted."