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Time On The Tarmac Data

Transportation Department concedes "we screwed up"

eTN Staff Writer  Dec 22, 2008

NAPA, CA -, formerly Coalition for an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights, has discovered that airlines aren't accurately reporting, and that the Department of Transportation isn't accurately reporting to the public, critical time-on-the-tarmac data for diverted and cancelled flights. "The state of air travel is in total disrepair, disarray, and the public is entitled to know the real extent of the problem. Without accurate data we will never be able to fix America's broken air transportation system," spokesperson Kate Hanni said.

"What has been provided so far amounts to little more than random numbers submitted in an apparent attempt to appease It totally misleads the flying public and represents an application of the familiar principle of 'garbage in, garbage out,'" Ms. Hanni continued.

Data submitted by the airlines, shows, for example, that 92 jets sat for "10 minutes or less" on the tarmac, when diverted. "Apparently," Ms. Hanni observed, "some airlines have been practicing 'touch and goes' with commercial jets filled with passengers." The reported figures reflect many more abnormalities, but the essential fact is that the collected data is useless in evaluating airlines' compliance with their obligations to the public. Airlines must be required to provide accurate and meaningful data.

The DoT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics ("BTS") has conceded "we screwed up" and is reported to be disclaiming its October report. It is unclear what further steps will be taken to clarify reporting requirements or assure airline compliance.

"If we can't get them to let us off the plane or give us food and water when they get us stuck on the tarmac, at least they should be made to report the event accurately," Ms. Hanni added.

Transportation Department concedes "we screwed up"
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