Tarmac Delay Contingency Plan


SAUDIA’ Contingency Plan for Lengthy Tarmac Delays ("Tarmac Delay Contingency Plan") describes how SAUDIA will handle lengthy tarmac delays at U.S. airports for international flights in accordance with the regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT. SAUDIA’ goal is to make every flight a safe and pleasant experience for our customers.

SAUDIA’ Tarmac Delay Contingency Plan will be activated during times when customers on flights are experiencing irregular operations involving a lengthy tarmac delay. In most cases the cause of lengthy tarmac delays are outside of SAUDIA’ reasonable control (e.g., weather conditions, Air Traffic Control (ATC) instructions, government operating restrictions, or airport construction projects).Regardless of the cause, SAUDIA is committed to implementing the measures in this Tarmac Delay Contingency Plan.

The details of SAUDIA' Tarmac Delay Contingency Plan are described below:

Aircraft Delays

SAUDIA will not permit an aircraft to remain on the tarmac at a U.S. airport for more than four 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.

SAUDIA will implement this plan no later than once an aircraft has been on the tarmac for three hours after the aircraft leaves the gate (in the case of departure) or touches down (in the case of arrival). The pilot-in-command will coordinate with local SAUDIA personnel and local airport operations to arrange for a gate or hardstand, and will return to that gate or hardstand as soon as practical in order to deplane customers within the four hour period, unless it is evident that the aircraft will be able to depart the airport or arrive at the gate within 30 minutes from that three hour point.

Adequate Food and Water

SAUDIA will provide adequate food and potable water no later than two hours after the aircraft leaves the gate (in the case of departure) or touches down (in the case of arrival) if the aircraft remains on the tarmac, unless the pilot-in-command determines that safety or security considerations preclude such service.

Adequate lavatory facilities and medical assistance

SAUDIA will provide operable lavatory facilities, as well as adequate medical attention, if needed, while the aircraft remains on the tarmac (provided that the pilot-in-command has indicated it is safe for passengers to move freely through the cabin).

In the event that all lavatories become inoperable during a tarmac delay, SAUDIA will return to the gate as soon as practical or make other arrangements to service the aircraft to return the lavatories to operating condition.

Our flight attendants are very well trained in dealing with medical assistance on board the aircraft during tarmac delays. Should a medical situation arise where this training and material is inadequate to address the situation, the pilot-in-command will be notified and appropriate arrangements will be made.

Flight delay status

SAUDIA will notify customers regarding the status of the delay every 30 minutes while the aircraft is delayed, including the reasons for the tarmac delay, if known.

We will notify customers beginning 30 minutes after scheduled departure time (including any revised departure time that passengers were notified about before boarding) and every 30 minutes thereafter 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.

Customers who choose to deplane may not be permitted to re-board the aircraft and will be notified of this possibility if it exists. Passengers who deplane and are permitted to re-board must present their boarding passes prior to re-boarding the aircraft.

Sufficient resources:

SAUDIA has sufficient resources to implement this Plan. 

Coordination with Airport Authorities and TSA and CBP Personnel

SAUDIA has coordinated this Plan with airport authorities (including terminal facility operators where applicable) at each U.S. airport that we serve, including our regular U.S. diversion airports.

We have also coordinated this Plan with U.S. Customs and Border Protection at each U.S. airport that we regularly use for international flights, including our regular U.S. diversion airports.
We have coordinated this Plan with the Transportation Security Administration at each U.S. airport that we serve, including our regular U.S. diversion airports.

Record keeping

SAUDIA' Operation Control Center (OCC) is responsible for management of flight delays and cancellations. OCC will retain for a period of two years information about any tarmac delay at a U.S. airport that exceeds three hours, including:

  • Flight number;
  • Length of the delay;
  • Precise cause of the delay;
  • The actions taken to minimize hardships for passengers, including the provision of food and water, the maintenance and servicing of lavatories, and medical assistance;
  • Whether the flight ultimately took off (in the case of a departure delay or diversion) or returned to the gate; and
  • An explanation for any tarmac delay that exceeded 3 hours (i.e., why the aircraft did not return to the gate by the 3-hour mark).

Contractual Rights

This Tarmac Delay Contingency Plan does not create contractual or legal rights nor legally bind SAUDIA for actions taken in connection with this Plan. SAUDIA' contractual rights and obligations are listed in the company’s Conditions of Carriage and applicable tariffs. Those resources provide customers with additional information on these and other issues and should be carefully reviewed to ensure that customers fully understand their rights and our obligations.