Tarmac Delay Plan
Era Aviation Contingency Plan for Lengthy Tarmac Delays
(Issued in Compliance with 14 CFR 259, as amended)
Revised May 1, 2012
Background. Era Aviation historically operates scheduled and charter air service within the State of Alaska, primarily under CFR Part 121 operating rules. With the exception of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and Fairbanks International Airport, Alaskan airports are generally quite small and uncongested when compared to major airports in the rest of the US. On extremely limited occasions, air traffic delays may occur that cause an Era flight to spend up to 45 minutes on the ground between taxi-out and takeoff. However, Era Aviation has found no evidence that any of its flights has ever been delayed on the ground for reasons outside its control, for greater than 75 minutes. Era Aviation is unique in that all of its flights operate without the constraints of TSA passenger screening checkpoints, resulting in a simplified process hen coordinating the deplaning any ‘tarmac-delayed’ passengers. Also, all of Era’s aircraft are self-contained in that they are able to board/deplane all passengers without the use of a connected ‘jet-way’ or ground equipment being necessary. This provides quick and efficient deplaning in all circumstances, without the need for a terminal gate to be made available at any location. Era operates flights to/from a wide variety of airports, including some locations where the passenger terminal facility is privately-owned, or alternatively, where no passenger facility exists at all. Occasionally in the winter months, when ground icing conditions exist, deicing/anti-icing procedures are necessary to prepare the aircraft for departure. The deicing/anti-icing process is a customary part of cold weather airline operations, and in extreme conditions may take as long as 60 minutes to properly accomplish, or may otherwise result in the flight being cancelled. Era Aviation has created this “Contingency Plan for Lengthy Tarmac Delays” to ensure compliance with US Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations under 14 CFR 259, as amended. Although Era’s plan is only required to be applicable for flights operating with 30 or more passenger seats, Era expects to enforce the Plan for all of its flights, regardless of whether the aircraft’s passenger seats number fewer than 30, except as limited by the onboard equipment of those smaller aircraft. Era’s Plan meets or exceeds all DOT requirements.
A tarmac delay is defined as the time after leaving the gate area parking spot, or upon landing without access to the terminal. Should an unusual event result in a lengthy onboard delay, Era Aviation wants to ensure the safety and well-being of all of its customers and crewmembers.
Plan Requirements. Era Aviation’s Contingency Plan assures that Era has sufficient resources and will meet the requirements of the DOT for extended tarmac delays, including any flights diverted to other than the intended destination airport. This includes meeting DOT’s three-hour domestic time limit, as well as the four-hour limit for international flights with regards to lengthy tarmac delays. Era’s Plan ensures that it will meet or exceed specified guidance as it pertains to providing adequate food and potable water no later than two hours after the aircraft leaves its parking spot (in the case of departure) or touches down (in the case of an arrival) if the aircraft remains on the tarmac, unless the pilot-in-command determines that safety or security considerations preclude such service; operable lavatory facilities; medical attention; and other customer comfort needs.
Contingency Plan. Before actual delays occur, Era Aviation uses a comprehensive plan designed to forecast and adjust to operational challenges as they develop throughout the day. When lengthy tarmac delays are expected, Era Aviation prefers to postpone the passenger boarding process for the affected departing flight; thereby keeping the passengers comfortably in the terminal facility for as long as possible. When any flight is delayed on the tarmac for more than two hours (for domestic and international flights), the terms of this Contingency Plan will apply to meet the essential needs of our customers.
For all flights using aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats, Era will provide the following while the aircraft remains on the tarmac:
- a comfortable onboard cabin temperature
- operable restroom facilities
- adequate medical attention, if needed
For all flights, Era will provide passengers with the delayed flight notification regarding the status of the delay, not less than every 30 minutes while the aircraft is delayed, including the reasons for the tarmac delay, if any are known. The delayed flight notifications shall begin within 30 minutes after scheduled departure time (including any revised departure time that passengers were notified about before boarding) and continue within at least every 30 minutes thereafter that the passengers have the opportunity to deplane from the aircraft if it is parked at the gate/ramp area or another dedicated disembarkation area with the door open, provided the opportunity to deplane actually exists.
The following exceptions shall apply to Era’s own two-hour hard-time maximum tarmac delay for all domestic and international flights:
- The pilot-in-command determines there is a safety-related or security-related reason (e.g. weather, a directive from an appropriate government agency) why the aircraft cannot leave its position on the tarmac to deplane passengers; or
- Air traffic control (ATC) advises the flight’s pilot-in-command that returning to the gate or another disembarkation point elsewhere on the airport, in order to deplane passengers, would significantly disrupt airport operations.
Where flights may suffer a tarmac delay beyond two hours, outside the control and prudent actions of Era Aviation, Era will provide adequate food such as cookies, snack foods or granola bars, and non-alcoholic beverages no later than two hours after the aircraft leaves the gate/ramp (in the case of departure) or touches down (in the case of arrival) if the aircraft remains on the tarmac, unless the flight’s PIC determines that safety or security considerations preclude such service.
Responsibility. Era Aviation’s Plan builds upon existing standard operating procedures already in place to handle extended delays and diversions. Era’s Director of Stations will work with the affected airport and Operations’ personnel to implement the Plan which may include the participation of local airport authorities and other carriers. The Director of Stations is responsible for the management and quality of the plan. Each Era Aviation Station Manager (or the contracted equivalent) will enforce the Plan at the station level. The flight’s PIC will carry-out the Plan when his/her flight is affected and is authorized to implement any aspect of the Plan to ensure its compliance, including when a local Station Manager is absent.
At all US airports with 10,000 or more total annual enplanements (including diversion airports), Era shall coordinate its Plan with the following parties, as applicable for the specific operation”
(a) local airport authorities,
(b) the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and
(c) if the airport is regularly used for international flights operated by Era, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
This coordination includes the ability to share facilities and make aircraft parking spots available at the airport in an emergency.
Commitment of Resources. Era Aviation has committed, and will continually commit, sufficient resources to implement all conditions of its Plan.