In accordance with 14 CFR 259.4, as amended, Seaborne Airlines has established and maintains a comprehensive Tarmac Delay Contingency Plan for Lengthy Tarmac Delays (“the Plan”) designed to provide assurances to its customers that a plan is in place and will be utilized if such an event were to ever occur.
Seaborne forecasts and adjusts to operational challenges to minimize lengthy tarmac delays while passengers are on board the aircraft and has developed the Plan with established trigger points to account for those times when unforeseen circumstances
Seaborne Airlines assures its customers that it has sufficient resources available to enact and implement the Plan described herein. This information is available on the Company website by clicking on “Travel Information” then “Customer Service and Contingency Plan” [https://www.seaborneairlines.com/contingency-plan/]
The Director of Safety & Regulatory Compliance is responsible for the management and quality of the Plan. The decision-making for the Plan lies with the Dispatcher-on-Duty and the Pilot-in Command (PIC) with consultation of the Part 119 Director of Operations, as necessary. Customer Service Agents, Flight Operations, and Flight Attendant personnel will carry out the Plan at the station and flight level.
Code‐Share Responsibilities: The marketing carrier’s plan for tarmac delays will apply unless the Contract of Carriage specifically states otherwise.
Seaborne Airlines has coordinated its Plan with local airport authorities and local governmental agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at each station served by Seaborne Airlines, as well as its regular diversion airports. Seaborne Airlines has coordinated with other airlines and airport authorities and will share its facilities and make gates available for use during extraordinary lengthy tarmac delay situations when operationally possible.
All Stations have coordinated plans with their Airport Operations and local governmental agencies (TSA and CBP where applicable) to meet the tarmac-delay rule’s requirements including back-up methods for inoperative equipment and the provisioning and servicing of aircraft. 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 de-plane within specified time limits. Stations will assure that diversions are given the same priority as other taxi delays, meaning passenger deplaning will be allowed prior to the three (3) hour mark [four (4) hours for international flights]. Individual station procedures should allow a minimum of thirty (30) minutes to complete the task of returning to the gate and deplaning.
Announcements and Communication
In the event of a lengthy tarmac delay, the PIC will contact Seaborne Airlines’ System Operations Control (SOC) to coordinate the communication with the Airport Tower along with the Station Manager, or designee, and coordinate the availability of gate assignment and deplaning of passengers in the event of an emergency.
Announcements are made by the Customer Service Agents when the aircraft is at the gate with the doors open. Customer Service Agent announcements will:
(1) occur at least every fifteen (15) minutes while the aircraft is delayed;
(2) identify the reason for the delay, if known, and tentative departure time; and
(3) explain the possible effect of the DOT’s tarmac delay rule.
Once the doors close, announcements are made by the Flight Crew.
Throughout the flight delay, communication between Seaborne Airlines’ SOC and the Flight Crew will be ongoing. Seaborne Airlines will make decisions while keeping in mind the safety, security, and well-being of all customers aboard the affected flight.
Deplaning Opportunities and Delay Status Updates
Seaborne Airlines will provide its passengers on a flight experiencing a tarmac delay the opportunity to deplane before the tarmac delay exceeds three (3) hours in duration for domestic flights and before the tarmac delay exceeds four (4) hours in duration for international flight subject to the exceptions listed in paragraph 5.b. of this Plan.
If Seaborne Airlines experiences a tarmac delay, the requirements in paragraph 5.a. of this Plan will be complied with unless:
(1) For departing flights, the flight begins to return to a suitable disembarkation point no later than three (3) hours (for domestic flights) or four (4) hours (for international flights) after the main aircraft door is closed in order to deplane passengers.
(2) The PIC determines that deplaning passengers at a suitable disembarkation point would jeopardize passenger safety and / or security, or there is a safety and / or security related reason why the aircraft cannot leave its position on the tarmac to deplane the passengers; or
(3) Air Traffic Control (ATC) advises the PIC that returning to a suitable disembarkation point to deplane the passengers would significantly disrupt airport operations.
For all flights during a tarmac delay, the Flight Crew will notify customers on board the aircraft regarding:
(1) the status of the delay and reason for it when the tarmac delay exceeds thirty (30) minutes, and
(2) every thirty (30) minutes thereafter to provide subsequent updates and flight status changes (including if there is no new information) to customers throughout the remainder of the tarmac delay.
For all departing flights and diversions, each time the opportunity to deplane at a suitable disembarkation point exists, timely notification of the opportunity to deplane will be provided to the passenger on the board the aircraft. The notification should include a realistic expectation of how long the opportunity to deplane will continue to exist as well as one of the following stipulations, as appropriate:
(1) deplaning passengers should stay near the gate area, or
(2) deplaning passengers may not be permitted to re-board the aircraft (must have approval of the Part 119 Director of Operations or designee).
For all flights during a tarmac delay, adequate snacks and drinking water will be provided to customers no later than two (2) hours after the start of the tarmac delay unless the PIC determines that safety and / or security considerations preclude such service. The Flight Attendant will coordinate with the PIC prior to initiating any service. If the PIC determines that snacks and drinking water provisions cannot be provided prior to two (2) hours after the start of the tarmac delay due to safety and / or security considerations, these provisions will be provided as soon as possible thereafter when it is determined to be safe and secure to do so.
Flight Attendants will ensure the Tarmac Delay Kit is present in the designated location, not opened, and not expired during their preflight check. Snacks and drinking water will be provided to the customers at the ninety (90) minute mark (1.5 hours) after the onset of the delay; however, water will be available to the passengers at any time upon request.
A comfortable cabin air temperature will be maintained. The Flight Attendant will periodically walk through the cabin to check on the customers and evaluate their disposition, keep visible and available to the customers, and keep the Flight Crew informed of the conditions in the cabin and disposition of the customers. If the Flight Crew is unable to maintain a comfortable cabin air temperature, the PIC will notify station operations, ATC, and the Dispatcher to coordinate gate return.
For all flights, operable lavatory facilities will be available and adequate medical attention will be provided if needed, during a tarmac delay.
The PIC will notify station operations if catering supplies need to be replenished or aircraft lavatories require servicing.
For purposes of this section, a diverted flight is treated as an arriving flight up to the point that an opportunity to deplane is provided to passengers. Once an opportunity to deplane is provided, the diversion is treated as a departing flight, and after that point, the departure delay exception in paragraph 5.b.(1) of this Plan applies if the carrier begins to return to a suitable disembarkation point in order to deplane passengers as required by the exception.
Commercial Airport. A large hub, medium hub, small hub, or non-hub airport.
Covered Air Transportation. Scheduled or public charter passenger air transportation provided by an air carrier that operates an aircraft that as originally designed has a passenger capacity of thirty (30) or more seats.
Tarmac Delay. The period during which passengers are on board an aircraft on the tarmac awaiting takeoff after the aircraft doors have been closed or after passengers have been boarded if the passengers have not been advised they are free to deplane; or awaiting deplaning after the aircraft has landed.
Excessive Tarmac Delay. A tarmac delay of more than three (3) hours for a flight in interstate air transportation (i.e.; domestic); or more than four (4) hours for a flight in foreign air transportation (i.e.; international).
Effective July 14, 2021
Requirements of 49 U.S.C. 42301 and 14 CFR 259.4