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For U.S. passengers

Contingency plan for lengthy tarmac delays

This contingency plan for lengthy tarmac delays is meant to comply with regulations published by the U.S. Department of Transportation addressing airline services during conditions that result in long tarmac delays. This contingency plan is separate from and not a part of Air Canada's Conditions of Carriage.

Our contingency plan is intended to provide you with information regarding the policies and procedures for handling your travel on our airline in the event of a lengthy ground delay, while you are onboard our aircraft.

Please note: This contingency plan applies to Air Canada Express flights operated by Jazz Aviation LP (Jazz) that encounter a tarmac delay at a U.S. airport (including diversions).

Limits of lengthy onboard ground delays

Lengthy ground delays can take place during taxi-out before departure, during taxi-in after landing or as a result of a diversion. Throughout all of these phases, the following limits apply:

  • Jazz will not permit an aircraft to remain on the tarmac for more than four (4) hours. Before reaching four (4) hours, Jazz will return the aircraft to the gate or another suitable disembarkation point, where passengers may deplane.

Delays longer than the above time limit may be necessary if:

  • 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 services during lengthy onboard ground delays

Jazz will provide passengers with adequate food and potable water no later than two (2) 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.  

For all flights, Jazz will ensure that operable lavatory facilities will remain available while the aircraft remains on the tarmac. Jazz will also ensure adequate medical attention is available, if needed.

The aircraft crew will keep passengers advised of the status of the tarmac delay every 30 minutes while the aircraft is delayed, including the reason for the delay, if known.

The aircraft crew will notify passengers on a delayed flight beginning 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time and every 30 minutes thereafter that they have the opportunity to deplane from an aircraft that is at the gate or another disembarkation area, if the opportunity to deplane actually exists.

Jazz has taken steps to ensure sufficient resources are available to implement this contingency plan for lengthy tarmac delays, when necessary. To better serve passengers, we have also coordinated this plan with local airport authorities and service providers, U.S. Customs and Border Protection as well as the Transportation Security Administration at each U.S. airport that Jazz regularly serves, including its regular diversion airports.


System Operations Control (SOC) is responsible for the management and quality of the plan. The decision-making for this plan lies within the SOC Centre. SOC will make decisions taking into account, notably, the effects of flights delays, flight cancellations and lengthy tarmac delays on passengers. Airport Customer Service, Flight Operations and In-Flight Service will carry out the plan at the station and flight level.

Air Canada Customer Service Plan

Jazz and Air Canada are concerned about your safety and comfort and we will do our best to make your travel experience as smooth and pleasant as possible. Air Canada’s Customer Service Plan outlines policies and addresses key service elements that most affect our customers. Please note: This Customer Service Plan applies to Air Canada and Air Canada Express flights to and from the U.S.