NEW YORK — There were four planes stuck on the tarmac for more than three hours in April, the government said Tuesday. That’s the same number as a year ago when a rule limiting lengthy tarmac delays went into effect.
In the past year U.S. airlines violated the rule 20 times, but no airline has been fined for breaking it. When the Department of Transportation first announced the rule, it threatened fines as high as $27,500 per passenger against airlines that kept passengers stranded on runways for three hours or more. For a full Boeing 737, that would be a $3.5 million fine. Last year DOT fined two airlines for filing paperwork related to tarmac delays that turned out not to be violations at all. United was fined $12,000; Pinnacle, $10,000.
The government says the rule is a success because three-hour tarmac delays have fallen dramatically from 693 between May 2009 and April 2010.
Three of the flights held on the ground for more than three hours in April of this year were operated by Delta on the same day — April 27. Another was a United plane from New York to San Francisco. Severe weather contributed to those long delays.
Those with the worst on-time rates in April were ExpressJet and JetBlue; Hawaiian and Alaska Airlines had the best. ExpressJet flies as Continental Express.
2 gamblers take NJ casino for more than $11M
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The Tropicana Casino and Resort has lost more than $11 million to just two high-stakes gamblers since April.
Just weeks after a blackjack player beat the casino for $5.8 million, a different gambler won $5.3 million last week.
Yet despite the huge losses, the Tropicana is sticking with its new emphasis on high-stakes table games play, confident that things will eventually run it its favor.
“That’s just how it goes sometimes; if you bet more, you can win more,” said Tony Rodio, the Tropicana’s president and CEO. “We have a strategy of offering the most aggressive and highest table games limits in the Atlantic City market and we’re not going to change that. If someone wants to take the shot, we’ll take the action.”
Japan admits being unprepared for nuclear disaster
TOKYO — Japan admitted Tuesday it was unprepared for a severe nuclear accident like the tsunami-caused Fukushima disaster and said damage to the reactors and radiation leakage were worse than it previously thought.
In a report being submitted to the U.N. nuclear agency, the government also acknowledged reactor design inadequacies and a need for greater independence for the country’s nuclear regulators.
The report said the nuclear fuel in three reactors likely melted through the inner containment vessels, not just the core, after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant’s power and cooling systems. Fuel in the Unit 1 reactor started melting hours earlier than previously estimated.