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Airport Runway Closure Used As Loophole

Hanni objects to JFK tarmac exemption

eTN Staff Writer  Mar 12, 2010

Before the law regarding tarmac delays has actually gone into effect, Delta and JetBlue are complaining that they should not be penalized at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York because of the closure of the main runway. The airlines have asked the US Department of Transportation for an exemption.

Set to go into effect on April 29, the new law stipulates that airlines must limit the amount of time passengers spend on the tarmac, and carriers will face big fines if broken. The fact that some airlines are already trying to work around it, has made the FlyersRights organization extremely unhappy.

Quick to respond, FlyersRights has moved to request that the government turn away any suggestions by airlines to skirt around the right of the consumer.

Delta and JetBlue are claiming that the closure of the main runway at New York's John F. Kennedy airport is its main concern, saying that delays caused by gridlock at JFK's only runway shouldn't be their onus.

But Kate Hanni, Founder, said, "Rather than forcing consumers to change their plans by imposing multi-hour delays on them due to some construction at JFK, the commercial airlines should change their operations and scheduling to adjust to temporarily lessened airport capacity.

"The construction at JFK has been in the works for some time - and improvement projects are a natural fact of life at major airports - we expect the DOT to enforce the 3 hour rule at JFK and for all airlines to fully comply with it."

She added that this move by airlines to try to find loopholes is further proof of "their continued hostility to consumers."

JetBlue and Delta are the biggest operators at JFK, and they claim they've already taken several steps, which will minimize the impact of the runway closure.

Hanni objects to JFK tarmac exemption
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