DOT Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings office is out with two consent decrees for the new year.
First one Copa Airlines is being assessed $150,000 in civil penalties for failing to adhere to required contingency plans for lengthy tarmac delays.
The department found that Copa failed to adhere to established policy in providing passengers opportunity to deplane and also provide food to passengers involved in such long tarmac delays. Additionally the department noted Copa's own contingency plan rules failed to properly include required assurances designed to enhance air travellers protections.
Investigation was result of complaints regarding CM831 on June 22, 2012 from JFK which experienced at 5:34 delay on taxiways due to weather and traffic conditions in the NY metropolitan area and during which time Copa failed to provide passengers with an opportunity to deplane before the tarmac delay exceeded 4 hours and the airline made no attempt to provide snack food to passengers within two hours after flight 831 left the gate.
Second consent order is against Virgin America for $55,000 for failing to properly notify passengers that they had the opportunity to deplane their aircraft that was delayed at the gate for a lengthy period with the door open.
Investigation determined that VX flight 211 operating from ORD to SFO on July 18, 2012 experienced a delay hold of 2 hours 16 minutes due to inclement weather. Aircraft remained with passengers onboard at the gate with jet bridge attached and VX had failed to make required announcements that passengers had the opportunity to deplane from the aircraft beginning thirty minutes after the departure time for such gate delays.