Contingency Plan for Lengthy Tarmac Delays and Large Area Flight Delays at Chinese Airports

Effective January 01, 2017, the Chinese Ministry of Transport has approved the “Flight Regularity Administrative Regulations”. These regulations are formulated in accordance with relevant Chinese laws in order to improve flight punctuality rates, effectively manage flight delays, improve the quality of civil services, preserve the legal right of consumers and maintain aviation transportation order. These regulations are applicable to all Air Canada operations with regard to the management of flight regularity, delays and passenger complaints for any flight departing or having a stopover within Chinese territories (excluding Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan). The Air Canada Contingency Plan for Lengthy Tarmac Delays at Chinese Airports is meant to comply with these regulations. The Contingency Plan is separate from and not a party of Air Canada’s General Conditions of Carriage.


Limits of lengthy onboard ground delays

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

Air Canada will not permit an aircraft to remain on the tarmac at a Chinese Airport for more than three (3) hours, unless there is a definite take-off time. Upon reaching three (3) hours, unless there is a definite take-off time, Air Canada will return the aircraft to the gate or another suitable disembarkation point, where passengers will be allowed to 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 a lengthy onboard ground delay

Air Canada 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 and diversions) if the aircraft remains on the tarmac, unless the pilot-in-command determines that safety or security considerations preclude such service.

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

Passengers will receive notifications regarding the status of the tarmac delay every 30 minutes while the aircraft is delayed, including the reason for the delay, if known.

Codeshare flights

In the event that you are on a flight operated by one of Air Canada’s codeshare partners, the tarmac delay contingency plan of the carrier operating your flight will apply in the event of a tarmac delay.


In the event of a large area flight delay, the Chinese Department of Transportation requires all carriers operating within Chinese territories to cooperate with the airport, ground handling agents, airport police department, ATM and other supporting service units to execute the large area flight delay emergency response plan. Air Canada has taken steps to ensure sufficient resources are available to support the execution of the large area flight delay emergency response plan, in coordination with all other involved bodies.


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