Tarmac Delay Plan
[14 CFR § 244, 14 CFR § 259]
Before delays occur, Northern Pacific Airways, Inc. dba Ravn Alaska, has a comprehensive plan designed to forecast and adjust to operational challenges and minimize lengthy delays while passengers are on board the aircraft. The Ravn Alaska Operational Control Center (ROCC) at Northern Pacific Airways, Inc.'s headquarters is responsible for the daily execution of this plan, while keeping in mind the safety and well-being of our customers.
The Department of Transportation's (DOT) tarmac delay rule requires that passengers on a flight experiencing a tarmac delay have the opportunity to deplane before three hours (for domestic flights) or four hours (for international flights) after the start of the tarmac delay unless:
- For departing flights, the flight begins to return to a suitable disembarkation point no later than three hours (for domestic flights) or four hours (for international flights) after the main aircraft door is closed in order to offer egress, or
- 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, or
- Air Traffic Control (ATC) advises the pilot-in-command that returning to a suitable disembarkation point to deplane passengers would significantly disrupt airport operations
The Northern Pacific Airways, Inc. plan meets all limits imposed by this ruling. Northern Pacific Airways, Inc. has developed a detailed plan, with established trigger points, to account for those times when unforeseen constraints have caused taxi delays.
1.2 Plan Requirements
Northern Pacific Airways, Inc. contingency plan assures that Northern Pacific Airways, Inc. has sufficient resources and will meet the requirements of the DOT for extended tarmac delays, including diversions. This includes the three-hour domestic time limit, as well as the four-hour limit for international flights, to offer egress (arrivals including diversion arrivals) or turn the aircraft around/request permission to turn around (departures).
This plan ensures that Northern Pacific Airways, Inc. will meet or exceed specified guidance as it pertains to provisioning, as follows:
- Will provide adequate food no later than two hours after the start of the tarmac delay,
- Will provide potable water no later than two hours after the start of the tarmac delay,
unless the pilot-in-command determines that safety or security considerations preclude such service, the company will provide;
- Operable lavatory facilities,
- Adequate medical attention,
- Comfortable cabin temperature conditions,
- Other customer comfort needs.
The Ravn Alaska Operational Control Center (ROCC) is responsible for the management and quality of the plan. The decision making for this plan lies within the ROCC. Ravn Alaska Operational Control Center, Flight Operations and In-Flight Service will carry out the plan at the station and flight level.
1.4 Station Plan
The plan builds upon the standard operating procedures now in place to handle extended on-board delays and diversions. All stations have identified resources and developed procedures that will allow them to effectively bring a plane off the runway and open the door, giving the passengers the opportunity to egress within specified time limits.
Stations will assure that diversions are given the same priority as other taxi delays, meaning passenger egress will be allowed prior to the 3 hour mark (4 hours for international flights). Individual station plans should allow at least 30 minutes (or as much as 60 minutes at larger stations) to complete the task of returning to the gate and deplaning.
All Stations have coordinated plans with Airport Operations and local governmental agencies (TSA and CBA where applicable) to meet the tarmac delay rule requirements. This consists of back-up methods for inoperative equipment, provisioning and servicing of aircraft, as well as gate or remote pad parking considerations (including sharing facilities and making gates available during an emergency).
Announcements are made by the Flight Attendant when the aircraft is at the gate with the doors open. Once the doors close, announcements are made by the flight crew. The announcements will:
- Occur at least every 30 minutes while the aircraft is delayed
- Identify the reason for the delay and tentative departure time
- Explain the possible effect of the DOT's tarmac delay rule
- Inform customers of the ability to egress, if the opportunity exists, beginning 30 minutes after scheduled departure (including revised departure time) and every 30 minutes thereafter
- For all departing flights and diversions, timely inform the customers each time the opportunity to deplane exists.
Throughout the flight delay, communication between Northern Pacific Airways, Inc. Ravn Alaska Operational Control Center (ROCC) and the flight crew will be continual. Both the ROCC and flight crew will monitor the general environment and “mood” of the customers at all times. Northern Pacific Airways, Inc. will make decisions for the well-being of all customers aboard the affected flight.
Cancelled flight: means a flight operation that was not operated, but was listed in an air carrier or a foreign air carrier's computer reservation system within seven calendar days of the scheduled departure.
Certificated air carrier: means a U.S. carrier holding a certificate issued under 49 U.S.C. 41102 to conduct passenger service or holding an exemption to conduct passenger operations under 49 U.S.C. 41102.
Commuter air carrier: means a U.S. carrier that has been found fit under 49 U.S.C. 41738 and is authorized to carry passengers on at least five round trips per week on at least one route between two or more points according to a published flight schedule using small aircraft as defined in 14 CFR 298.2.
Covered carrier: means a certificated carrier, a commuter carrier, or a foreign air carrier operating to, from or within the United States, conducting scheduled passenger service or public charter service with at least one aircraft having a designed seating capacity of 30 or more seats.
Diverted flight: means a flight which is operated from the scheduled origin point to a point other than the scheduled destination point in the carrier's published schedule. For example, a carrier has a published schedule for a flight from A to B to C. If the carrier were to actually fly an A to C operation, the A to B segment is a diverted flight, and the B to C segment is a cancelled flight. The same would apply if the flight were to operate from A to an airport other than B or C.
Excessive tarmac delay: means a tarmac delay of more than three hours for a domestic flight and more than four hours for an international flight.
Foreign air carrier: means a carrier that is not a citizen of the United States as defined in 49 U.S.C. 40102(a) that holds a foreign air carrier permit issued under 49 U.S.C. 41302 or an exemption issued under 49 U.S.C. 40109 authorizing direct foreign air transportation.
Gate arrival time: is the instant when the pilot sets the aircraft parking brake after arriving at the airport gate or passenger unloading area. If the parking brake is not set, record the time for the opening of the passenger door. Also, for purposes of § 244.3 carriers using a Docking Guidance System (DGS) may record the official “gate-arrival time” when the aircraft is stopped at the appropriate parking mark.
Gate departure time: is the instant when the pilot releases the aircraft parking brake after passengers have boarded and aircraft doors have closed. In cases where the flight returned to the departure gate before wheels-off time and departs a second time, the reportable gate departure time for purposes of this part is the last gate departure time before wheels-off time. In cases of a return to the gate after wheels-off time, the reportable gate departure time is the last gate departure time before the gate return. If passengers were boarded without the parking brake being set, the reportable gate departure time is the time that the last passenger door was closed. Also, the official “gate-departure time” may be based on aircraft movement for carriers using a Docking Guidance System (DGS). For example, one DGS records gate departure time when the aircraft moves more than 1 meter from the appropriate parking mark within 15 seconds. Fifteen seconds is then subtracted from the recorded time to obtain the appropriate “out” time.
Gate Return time: means the time that an aircraft that has left the boarding gate returns to a gate or other position at an airport for the purpose of allowing passengers the opportunity to disembark from the aircraft.
Large hub airport: means an airport that accounts for at least 1.00 percent of the total enplanements in the United States.
Main aircraft door: means the door used for boarding. In situations in which there are multiple doors that can be used for boarding, the last door closed is the main aircraft door.
Medium hub airport: means an airport accounting for at least 0.25 percent but less than 1.00 percent of the total enplanements in the United States.
Non-hub airport: means an airport with 10,000 or more annual enplanements but less than 0.05 percent of the country's annual passenger boardings.
Small hub airport: means an airport accounting for at least 0.05 percent but less than 0.25 percent of the total enplanements in the United States.
Suitable disembarkation point: means a location at an airport where passengers can deplane from an aircraft.
Tarmac delay: means the period of time when an aircraft is on the ground with passengers and the passengers have no opportunity to deplane.