Saturday, September 16, 2017

Frontier Airlines fined $1.5 million over long tarmac waits at Denver International Airport (KDEN), Colorado



Federal transportation authorities have fined Frontier Airlines $1.5 million for lengthy tarmac delays at Denver International Airport during a snowstorm last December that stranded passengers aboard 12 of its planes for more than three hours.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the fine against the Denver-based airline today.

According to the agency, “on December 16-18, 2016, Frontier allowed 12 domestic flights at Denver International Airport to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours without providing passengers an opportunity to deplane. The long tarmac delays on these 12 flights occurred during and after a large snowstorm in Denver.”

USDOT said that of the $1.5 million total fine, “$900,000 will be credited to Frontier for compensation provided to passengers on the affected flights and also passengers on other delayed flights.”

Asked for a comment, Frontier spokesman Richard Oliver sent the DBJ this statement:

“Frontier remains committed to complying with DOT rules and regulations, including those relating to lengthy tarmac delays. During last December’s crippling storm, our operation in Denver was faced with a myriad of operational challenges. We have since revised our procedures for irregular winter weather operations and have worked with DIA’s airport authority to implement a drop-and-go deplaning process that will prevent any future occurrences.”

Under federal rules, “U.S. airlines operating aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats are prohibited from allowing their domestic flights to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours without giving passengers an opportunity to leave the plane,” the USDOT announcement says. “Exceptions to the time limits are allowed only for safety, security, or air traffic control-related reasons.”

The agency said that Frontier “failed to properly adjust its operations in response to the snowstorm and resulting gate congestion to avoid the long tarmac delays. Frontier failed to properly assess the gate situation during the height of the snowstorm and continued to experience gate availability issues and a ground staff shortage after the storm had passed.”

USDOT also said that Frontier “failed to have adequate resources at Denver to accommodate the additional aircraft on the ground at the airport. Moreover, Frontier failed to delay, divert, or cancel a sufficient number of flights scheduled to arrive at Denver, even though it was aware of the conditions at Denver, to allow the carrier to recover and reduce the probability of flights experiencing long tarmac delays. In addition, Frontier could have mitigated or prevented the lengthy tarmac delays if it had accepted services offered by the airport.”

It’s the third time in less than two months that USDOT has announced a fine against Frontier.

In late July, it hit the airline with a $400,000 fine after it found that Frontier “failed to seek volunteers before bumping passengers involuntarily, failed to provide bumped passengers the required written notice describing their rights, and failed to provide proper compensation to passengers in a timely manner.”

And earlier this month, a $40,000 fine was imposed on the Denver carrier for violating rules regarding overbooking and baggage.

In both of the earlier cases, Frontier said it had taken corrective action.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.bizjournals.com

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