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Apr 5, 2010 12:50 PM by Associated Press

US Airways starts tarmac delay response early

US Airways is getting an early start in dealing with new rules requiring airlines to let passengers off the plane after a three-hour delay.

The new rule starting April 29 means airlines risk big fines if they keep passengers on the tarmac more than three hours. To keep that from happening, US Airways says its flights will return to the gate after two-and-a-half hours, unless takeoff is imminent. It says it began following its new procedures on Thursday.

The airline says it expects more cancellations as crews who return to the gate run up against federal rules limiting how long they can fly.

Passenger-rights advocates have said airlines could avoid most delays if they scheduled fewer flights at congested airports.

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