Lengthy Tarmac Delays in USA

In compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) new regulation, SATA Internacional – Azores Airlines has adopted a Contingency Plan for Lengthy Tarmac Delays.

Below we intend to provide you with our plan details in case of a long ground delay of our aircrafts at U.S. airports.


Lengthy onboard ground delays

SATA Internacional – Azores Airlines flights that depart from or arrive at a U.S. airport will not remain on the tarmac at a U.S. airport for more than four (4) hours before allowing passengers to deplane, unless:

  • The pilot-in-command determines 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 advises the pilot-in-command that returning to the gate or another disembarkation point elsewhere in order to deplane passengers would significantly disrupt airport operations.


Passenger service during long onboard ground delays

We will provide passengers with adequate food and potable water no later than two (2) hours after the aircraft leaves the gate (in case of departure) or touches down (in case of arrival) if the aircraft remains on the tarmac, unless the pilot in command determines that safety or security considerations preclude such service.
Operable lavatory facilities will be available, as well as adequate medical attention if needed, while the aircraft remains on the tarmac.



Passengers will be notified regarding the status of the delay every 30 minutes while the aircraft is delayed, including the reasons for the tarmac delay, if known.
Every 30 minutes (beginning after scheduled time of departure, or any revised departure time notified before boarding), passengers will also be notified that they have the opportunity to deplane from an aircraft that is at the gate or another disembarkation area with the door open, if the opportunity to deplane actually exists.


Resources / Coordination

We assure that sufficient resources are available to implement this plan, which has been coordinated with the airport authorities, U.S. Customs and Border Protection) CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).