Long Delays On Airport Tarmacs Up

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Fourteen flights sat on tarmacs for more than three hours in June compared with only three in June 2010, the latest monthly data by the Transportation Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics out Tuesday show.

It was the second month in a row that the number of three-hour delays reached double digits since a new Transportation Department rule took effect in April 2010. The rule can lead to fines for airlines of up to $27,500 per passenger for tarmac delays that last more than three hours.

Until May and June of this year, when heavy thunderstorms and high winds swept through several major hub airports, airlines had mostly kept the lengthy delays in check.

From May through December 2010, there were only 15 delays of more than three hours, when there were 584 during the same period in 2009 before the rule took effect.

The Transportation Department has yet to fine any airlines for delays though it’s investigating several, department spokesman Bill Mosley says.

READ MORE: USA TODAY