Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited has implemented the following Contingency Plan for Lengthy Tarmac Delays in accordance with the US Department of Transportation regulation 14 CFR Part 259 (“Contingency Plan”). This Contingency Plan applies to all international scheduled and public charter flights operated by Virgin Atlantic to and from the U.S.
Whilst the vast majority of our flights arrive and depart on time, on the few occasions where flights are delayed whilst passengers are on board (known as a tarmac delay) we will take all reasonable steps to ensure our customers are made as comfortable as possible. For those flights encountering a tarmac delay at U.S. airports, whether prior to take off or upon landing at either the destination or a diversion airport, in accordance with the US Department of Transportation regulation 14 CFR Part 259 we want to give our customers the following assurances.
1. For all international flights covered by this Contingency Plan, we will not permit our aircraft to remain on the tarmac at a U.S. airport for more than four hours, without the opportunity to deplane unless:
For departing flights, the flight begins to return to a suitable disembarkation point no later four hours after the main aircraft door is closed in order to deplane passengers.
If the aircraft is in an area that is not under the carrier's control, the aircraft has begun to return to a suitable disembarkation point when a request is made to the Federal Aviation Administration control tower, airport authority, or other relevant authority directing the aircraft's operations.
If the aircraft is in an area that is under the carrier's control, the aircraft has begun to return to a suitable disembarkation point when the pilot begins manoeuvring the aircraft to a suitable disembarkation point.
The pilot-in-command determines that deplaning passengers at a suitable disembarkation point would jeopardise passenger safety or security, or 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 (ATC) advises the pilot-in-command that returning to a suitable disembarkation point in order to deplane passengers would significantly disrupt airport operations.
2. For all flights during a tarmac delay, we will provide adequate food and potable water no later than two hours after the start of the tarmac delay, unless the pilot-in-command determines that safety or security considerations preclude such service.
3. For all flights, we will ensure operable lavatory facilities are available, as well as adequate medical attention, if needed, during a tarmac delay.
4. For all flights, we will notify passengers on board the aircraft during a tarmac delay regarding the status of the delay when the tarmac delay exceeds 30 minutes and thereafter will provide subsequent updates, including flight status changes, as the carrier deems appropriate.
5. For all departing flights and diversions, each time the opportunity to deplane exists at a suitable disembarkation point, we will timely notify the passengers on board the aircraft that they have the opportunity to deplane.
6. Virgin Atlantic has sufficient resources to implement this Contingency Plan.
7. We have coordinated this Contingency Plan with local airport authorities (including any applicable terminal facility operators), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at each U.S. large hub airport, medium hub airport, small hub airport and non-hub airport that the carrier serves, as well as our regular diversion airports in the U.S.
8. Codeshare flights operated by a different carrier will be covered by that carrier's tarmac delay plan.