On May 16, 2008, Secretary Mary Peters issued a final rule to require airlines to report new and more complete data on the time passengers spend on the tarmac. The Secretary noted that in the past airlines sometimes did not have to disclose how long aircraft were delayed after leaving the gate.
"Passengers should know whether it will take as long for their flight to get to the runway as it will to land at their destination," the Secretary said.
The new rule will require airlines to provide complete on-time and tarmac delay data about flights that may depart from a gate more than once, flights that are cancelled after having left the gate, and flights that are diverted to another airport. The data will be collected and made available to the public by RITA's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).
In 2007, there were 1,603 known instances of planes with a taxi-out time of more than three hours, and 270 such incidents from January to April of 2008. The expanded data reports will help the Department to work with the airline industry to identify the reasons for planesand their passengersbeing left on the runway for extended times, and to find a solution to the problem.
The new rule, as well as airline on-time, traffic, financial and employment data, can be found on BTS' website at www.bts.gov http://www.bts.gov/laws_and_regulations/docs/part234_4cy2008.html.