Contingency plan for lengthy U.S. Tarmac delays
Arriving and departing flights may encounter lengthy tarmac delays due to unforeseen events, including severe weather conditions, airport congestion, and other constraints. Qatar Airways maintains certain service standards for our customers during such delays. When a lengthy tarmac delay takes place at a U.S. airport, either upon arrival, during a diversion, or before departure, Qatar Airways has a plan in place to ensure compliance with the requirements of the lengthy tarmac delay rules issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
Lengthy tarmac delays may take place in the following situations:
- Flight Departure - A flight is about to take-off from a U.S. airport with all customers on-board the aircraft and a delay happens prior to flight departure; or
- Flight Arrival or Diversion - A flight has landed at a U.S. airport and a delay happens in the aircraft arriving at the airport gate.
I. Airline's Procedures during Tarmac Delays at U.S. airports
a) Compliance with Applicable Time Limits
Qatar Airways will provide passengers on flights experiencing a tarmac delay at a U.S. airport the opportunity to deplane before the tarmac delay exceeds four (4) hours in duration, subject to the below exceptions:
(1) For departing international flights, the flight begins to return to a suitable disembarkation point no later than four (4) hours after the main aircraft door is closed in order to deplane passengers.
If the aircraft is in an area that is not under Qatar Airways' control, the aircraft has begun to return to a suitable disembarkation point when a request is made to the Federal Aviation Administration control tower, airport authority, or other relevant authority directing the aircraft's operations.
If the aircraft is in an area that is under Qatar Airways' control, the aircraft has begun to return to a suitable disembarkation point when the pilot begins maneuvering the aircraft to a suitable disembarkation point.
(2) The pilot-in-command determines that deplaning passengers at a suitable disembarkation point would jeopardize passenger safety or security, or there is a safety related or security related reason why the aircraft cannot leave its position on the tarmac to deplane passengers.
(3) Air traffic control advises the pilot-in-command that returning to a suitable disembarkation point to deplane passengers would significantly disrupt airport operations.
b) Customer Care Measures
Qatar Airways will provide passengers with adequate food and potable water no later than two hours after the start of the tarmac delay, unless the pilot-in-command determines that safety or security concerns preclude such service. Qatar Airways will provide operable lavatory facilities on the aircraft during lengthy tarmac delays. We will also cater to customer comfort needs and ensure adequate medical attention is available, if necessary, for our customers while the aircraft is on the tarmac.
c) Customer Communication
For all flights, Qatar Airways will notify the passengers on board the aircraft during a tarmac delay regarding the status of the delay when the tarmac delay exceeds 30 minutes. Thereafter, Qatar Airways will provide subsequent updates, including flight status changes, as the carrier deems appropriate. For departing flights and diversions, Qatar Airways will timely notify passengers of their opportunity to deplane each time an opportunity to deplane at a suitable disembarkation point exists.
Qatar Airways has ensured the availability of sufficient appropriate resources in order to implement this tarmac delay contingency plan and effectively deal with lengthy tarmac delay situations.
Qatar Airways has coordinated its contingency plan with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the airport authorities at each U.S. airport that Qatar Airways serves, as well as our regular diversion U.S. airports, in order to better serve our customers.