Thursday, August 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

DOT fires back at tarmac-delay "study"

Please note I put "study" in quotes, because this is a story about what the Department of Transportation has to say about a study of one month's statistics of the effect of the new tarmac-delay rules. DOT fired back after two consultants concluded that airlines canceled far more flights in May than they did in May 2009 because of the new rules, which call for heavy fines if a plane is stranded on an airport ramp for more than three hours. This was just the kind of unintended consequence critics of the new regulations (i.e. airlines) warned us about -- it it's true, of course.

DOT fires back at tarmac-delay "study"

Please note I put "study" in quotes, because this is a story about what the Department of Transportation has to say about a study of one month's statistics of the effect of the new tarmac-delay rules. DOT fired back after two consultants concluded that airlines canceled far more flights in May than they did in May 2009 because of the new rules, which call for heavy fines if a plane is stranded on an airport ramp for more than three hours. This was just the kind of unintended consequence critics of the new regulations (i.e. airlines) warned us about -- it it's true, of course.

But DOT retorted with a statement, pointing out that one month's record for flight cancellations is not a good measure of the effect of the rules on airline operations. The consultants may be right, but they can't prove it -- yet. Wait for the end of the summer, and into the fall, and a serious analysis can be done. Read more about this here.

Tom Belden
About this blog
Tom Belden has been reporting about Philadelphia International Airport and other air travel subjects for more than 20 years, writing columns for The Inquirer's Travel and Business sections. His reporting (with colleague Craig McCoy) on baggage handling problems in Philadelphia have been credited with helping to improve the system. His previous blog was called Road Warrior. He can reached at tbelden@phillynews.com. Reach Tom at tbelden@phillynews.com.

Tom Belden
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